Newest Reviews
American Fiction
Poor Things
Legend of the Bat
Party Line
Night Fright
Pacha, Le
Assemble Insert
Venus Tear Diamond, The
Beauty's Evil Roses, The
Free Guy
Huck and Tom's Mississippi Adventure
Rejuvenator, The
Who Fears the Devil?
Guignolo, Le
Batman, The
Land of Many Perfumes
Cat vs. Rat
Tom & Jerry: The Movie
Naked Violence
Joyeuses Pacques
Strangeness, The
How I Became a Superhero
Golden Nun
Incident at Phantom Hill
Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City
Maigret Sets a Trap
Hell's Wind Staff, The
Topo Gigio and the Missile War
Battant, Le
Penguin Highway
Cazadore de Demonios
Imperial Swordsman
Newest Articles
3 From Arrow Player: Sweet Sugar, Girls Nite Out and Manhattan Baby
Little Cat Feat: Stephen King's Cat's Eye on 4K UHD
La Violence: Dobermann at 25
Serious Comedy: The Wrong Arm of the Law on Blu-ray
DC Showcase: Constantine - The House of Mystery and More on Blu-ray
Monster Fun: Three Monster Tales of Sci-Fi Terror on Blu-ray
State of the 70s: Play for Today Volume 3 on Blu-ray
The Movie Damned: Cursed Films II on Shudder
The Dead of Night: In Cold Blood on Blu-ray
Suave and Sophisticated: The Persuaders! Take 50 on Blu-ray
Your Rules are Really Beginning to Annoy Me: Escape from L.A. on 4K UHD
A Woman's Viewfinder: The Camera is Ours on DVD
Chaplin's Silent Pursuit: Modern Times on Blu-ray
The Ecstasy of Cosmic Boredom: Dark Star on Arrow
A Frosty Reception: South and The Great White Silence on Blu-ray
You'll Never Guess Which is Sammo: Skinny Tiger and Fatty Dragon on Blu-ray
Two Christopher Miles Shorts: The Six-Sided Triangle/Rhythm 'n' Greens on Blu-ray
Not So Permissive: The Lovers! on Blu-ray
Uncomfortable Truths: Three Shorts by Andrea Arnold on MUBI
The Call of Nostalgia: Ghostbusters Afterlife on Blu-ray
Moon Night - Space 1999: Super Space Theater on Blu-ray
Super Sammo: Warriors Two and The Prodigal Son on Blu-ray
Sex vs Violence: In the Realm of the Senses on Blu-ray
What's So Funny About Brit Horror? Vampira and Bloodbath at the House of Death on Arrow
Keeping the Beatles Alive: Get Back
  Tony Arzenta No Way Out
Year: 1973
Director: Duccio Tessari
Stars: Alain Delon, Richard Conte, Carla Gravina, Marc Porel, Roger Hanin, Nicoletta Machiavelli, Anton Diffring, Guido Alberti, Lino Troisi, Silvano Tranquilli, Corrado Gaipa, Erika Blanc, Rosalba Neri, Carla Calo
Genre: Action, ThrillerBuy from Amazon
Rating:  5 (from 1 vote)
Review: Family man by day, stone-cold killer by night, Tony Arzenta (Alain Delon) is the most prized hit-man in the mob, fiercely loyal and lethal. But now Tony wants to leave the mafia and settle down to a quiet life with his wife and son. Although his boss, Nick (Richard Conte) is amenable to the idea, the other members of the crime syndicate - Grunwald (Anton Diffring), Carré (Roger Hanin), and Cuttita (Lino Troisi) - decide Tony knows too much and must be killed. The result is Tony’s wife and son are blown up in a car bomb meant for him. This prompts our anguished antihero to embark on a violent revenge spree.

Early into his career Alain Delon essayed an array of ice-cool assassins or suave psychopaths, but Tony Arzenta (also known as Big Guns or, more aptly given its fatalistic tone, No Way Out) was something of a transitional film for the legendary French star. This Italian-French co-production initiated the avenging hero phase of Delon’s career, one he ploughed throughout the ensuing decade. In Comme le boomerang (1976) Delon played a father fighting to keep his son from being jailed for a crime he did not commit, in Parole de Flic (1985) he is a cop out to avenge his daughter’s death, and most intriguingly Death of a Corrupt Man (1977) has him fighting to save all of France from encroaching political corruption. These roles paved the way for the more reactionary, establishment figure Delon came to embody in his later years.

As a mafia thriller, Tony Arzenta was part-inspired by The Godfather (1972), as indeed were a rash of Italian gangster films in the early Seventies that traded the sharp sociopolitical satire of early genre maestro Francesco Rosi for a more crowd-pleasing approach. Nevertheless, Italian filmmakers remained somewhat suspicious of what they perceived as Hollywood’s glorification of gangsters. Adopting a more fatalistic outlook, they chose to focus on the footsoldiers in the mafia, on antiheroes like Tony Arzenta who were mere cogs in a wheel of callous criminality. On close inspection however, Tony is far more romanticised than Michael Corleone. Even the local priest thinks he is a stand-up guy. It is equally notable the more villainous gangsters are French and German, with the lone Sicilian in the bunch expressing his outrage at the senseless slaughter of Tony’s family. Delon gives a good performance that goes against the grain of your typical avenging antihero. When Tony’s wife and son are killed, he does not explode but quietly crumbles. Thereafter he seems a haunted shell of a man, more or less dead inside.

Veteran action hand Duccio Tessari directs in surprisingly clinical fashion. At times his remote style adds intriguing nuance, as though he were scrutinising a particularly arcane social milieu instead of Machiavellian mobsters, but in most instances he fails to involve viewers in the drama. Between Tony’s revenge killings, the film’s pace is awkward and slow in spite of the often stylish visuals woven by cinematographer Silvano Ippoliti. Too many filler scenes exist solely to illustrate what rotten swine the mobsters are before Tony eliminates them. Given one of their number is revealed as a family man, one might expect there would be some kind of ironic confrontation, but no. There is an interesting plot wrinkle when an Interpol agent reveals they have been protecting Tony so he can continue killing all the untouchable criminals on their most wanted list, but it goes undeveloped. This is foremost an action movie. Its car chases, punch ups and shootouts are satisfyingly visceral, but action fans will likely find the payoff unsatisfying while those drawn to its darker undercurrents will note how often Tessari loses sight of the film’s themes amidst the mayhem.

The film assembles an interesting cast including actor-director Roger Hanin, who segued from his popular role as spy hero The Gorilla into making his directorial debut the same year as this with the interesting, socially-conscious thriller Le Protecteur (1973). Eurohorror fans will spot Rosalba Neri, wasted in a nothing role as a mobster’s wife, a shaggy-haired Marc Porel as Tony’s sidekick who gets crushed to death in an auto yard (it wouldn’t be an Italian crime thriller unless someone got crushed in an auto yard) and flame-haired siren Erika Blanc in a curious sojourn in Copenhagen that implies Danes don’t give a damn when hookers are beaten up in broad daylight. The film’s fatalism and misogyny are boringly predictable while the ending reads less as bitter irony than shallow justification of the status quo. Nevertheless, Tony Arzenta proved an international hit prompting Delon and Tessari to reteam for their take on possibly the ultimate avenging hero: Zorro (1975).

Reviewer: Andrew Pragasam


This review has been viewed 4002 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

Review Comments (0)

Untitled 1

Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside

Recent Visitors
Darren Jones
Enoch Sneed
  Louise Hackett
Mark Le Surf-hall
Andrew Pragasam
Mary Sibley
Graeme Clark
  Desbris M


Last Updated: