Syndicate Sadists Blu-ray Review (Severin Films’ Violent Streets Boxset)

The Man with No Name on a motorcycle

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In Umberto Lenzi and Tomas Milian’s second poliziotteschi outing together, there is again a kidnapping, but unlike Almost Human, this time Milian isn’t the one to perpetrate it. Instead, the actor does a 180° character change, adopting the role of good guy as a vigilante whose motivations stem from the early murder of his brother Scalia (Mario Piave) by a criminal outfit led by Conti (Luciano Catenacci). Ultimately Milian – as Rambo, here influenced by the novel First Blood rather than the Stallone film that had not been made yet) – sets out to get revenge on Conti and his gang, and this incidentally includes him rescuing a boy Cont’s group have kidnapped and are holding for ransom.

As Lenzi aptly puts it in his interview on this Blu-ray, Syndicate Sadists is effectively an action version of Sergio Leone’s A Fistful of Dollars; instead of Clint Eastwood’s hardened spaghetti western hero the Man with No Name, we get Milian’s hardened but surprisingly empathic Rambo (effectively a guy with no name), a modernized version with a motorcycle instead of a horse. All of the same beats are here – chiefly, Rambo’s method of taking down Conti is to create strife with the other criminal syndicate in Milan led by Paterno (Joseph Cotten), whom Rambo has tangled with before.

Lenzi’s direction is fast-paced and the film never flags; it features a number of excellent action sequences including a stunt-tastic motorcycle chase, a frenetic shootout in a factory, and a climactic rescue of the kidnapped boy showcasing Rambo’s immaculate gun skills. As an action film, Syndicate Sadists is perfectly acceptable for what it presents: criminal intrigue, a worthy heroic performance from Milian, high stakes, and the usual amount of ridiculous but thrilling fisticuffs. Its only downside is that it lacks originality, but even that is made up for with the film’s artistry and memorable villains.

Syndicate Sadists is certainly worthy of a watch, and perhaps it would be a perfect complement to Leone’s more nuanced western. While it’s clear Lenzi was not particularly satisfied with the film (he actually was removed as director and then came back), it does its job well as a hardboiled poliziotteschi with a surprising amount of heart.


The second film in Severin’s Violent Streets collection again gets a new scan from the original camera negative; since Severin does not make note of the type of scan, one would presume it is simply HD. This new transfer looks right in line with the other transfers done for this boxset; it features a medium-bodied grain scale that does occasionally suffer from some flickering in particular scenes, but otherwise it retains a fair amount of detail. There is some minor damage to the negative; you can see in more than one instance a line running through the middle of the image, often for a split second that disappears. Color grading looks to be a more authentic than Syndicate Sadists‘ previous Blu-ray releases in the UK and Germany; those both used the same transfer, and it featured a greenish hue that is not present here. Besides a bit of flicker and some marginal gate wobble, Syndicate Sadists looks great on this Blu-ray.

Audio includes both a DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 mono English and Italian soundtrack. Again, the English dub is not always the greatest, but this one yields better results than Almost Human and both tracks sound strong with a great funk score from Franco Micalizzi. Both tracks do feature some audible hiss at times (perhaps a bit stronger on the English track) but not too distracting. English subtitles are included for both the English track as well as translated subtitles for the Italian.

For extras, we get a short new interview with Umberto Lenzi who quickly reviews his work with Tomas Milian on Almost Human and then documents how he got involved with Syndicate Sadists. Another interview with actress Ida Galli (small role as the kidnapped boy’s mother) documents her time on set working with Lenzi and Milian as well as her experiences seeing her son “kidnapped.” Alessandro Cocco, her son, also gives a lengthy interview about his experience as a kid working with Milian and Lenzi. Bruno Di Liua gives an interesting interview about his work in film as a stuntman and his experiences with being a self-proclaimed fascist while working in cinema. Finally, a trailer rounds out the items on this disc.

A second disc featuring the soundtrack for both Syndicate Sadists and Brothers Till We Die is also included, along with a lobby card with track listing.

Extra Features

  • NEW scanned uncut from the original camera negative
  • First Blood – Interview With Director Umberto Lenzi (1080p, 8:04)
  • Family Affair – Interview With Actress Ida Galli (1080p, 17:13)
  • Kidnapped – Interview With Actor Alessandro Cocco (1080p, 27:02)
  • Interview With The Fascist – Interview With Actor Bruno Di Luia (1080p, 24:17)
  • Trailer (1080p, 3:31)
  • BONUS DISC: Soundtrack CD


Syndicate Sadists is a fun poliziotteschi with Milian in a showcasing role, and here Severin Films has given the movie a great transfer and a number of extra features not found on past releases. Another great offering in the Violent Streets boxset.

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