The fourth film in the Umberto Lenzi/Tomas Milian poliziotteschi collaboration surprisingly does not feature a kidnapping, the first of them to do so. However, much like Syndicate Sadists, The Cynic, The Rat and the Fist finds a hero pitting two crime bosses against each other in an attempt to take both of them down while causing the maximum amount of carnage. Maurizio Merli stars as cop-gone-vigilante Tanzi on the run after his arch-nemesis “The Chinaman” Maietto (Milian) gets out of prison and starts working with Italo-American crime boss Di Maggio (John Saxon). The film has a fairly loose plot about making money and pulling jobs, but overall a death threat to Tanzi has him embroiled in the world of these two villains, bringing them both down in the process.
To be honest, The Cynic, the Rat and the Fist is not a particularly well-plotted poliziottescho; the script, written by Ernesto Gastaldi and Dardano Sacchetti and based on a story by Sauro Scavolini, meanders quite a bit especially in its midsection, never really settling on a direction and mostly showcasing Tanzi’s attempts to run down The Chinaman while both Maietto and Di Maggio begin to double-cross each other. Milian and Saxon have good tension, but notably the film is lacking any scenes shared between Milian and Merli because the two did not like each other and Lenzi had to film their scenes separately and edit it to look like they met in the film. Likewise, if Merli and Saxon met too often there would just be an explosion of mustache and chest hair, so that too does not occur much.
The action scenes are quite good, though, and Merli is a likable enough lead, though the amount of misogyny in the film – including from our hero – goes too far. Fights are well-choreographed and again Lenzi excels at car chase sequences; it’s just unfortunate that a lot of the action gets bogged down with too much crime syndicate intrigue.
Overall, though, The Cynic, the Rat and the Fist is moderately enjoyable; with Saxon and Milian together, though, there’s an expectation that it should be better than it really is.
Severin Films includes The Cynic, the Rat and the Fist in their Violent Streets boxset collecting Lenzi/Milian poliziotteschi, and this gets virtually the same treatment as the other films in that release. A new 2K scan from the original camera negative gives us excellent video quality, and this one fares a bit better from the source than the previous Free Hand for a Tough Cop. There’s relatively little damage here, and the color grading looks very consistent with the other releases in the boxset. Again, this release is a bit better than previous Blu-ray offerings, with sharper detail and less unnatural saturation.
Audio includes both a DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 mono English and Italian track, with the English being the primary and featuring Saxon’s actual voice. Both sound good, with a bit of background hiss here and there. English subtitles are included for both tracks as well.
Extra features include three different interviews with Lenzi; the first is new to this release and is a short discussion about the Milian/Merli feud. The other two are archival interviews discussing Lenzi’s poliziotteschi works and his characters, respectively. A lengthy interview with screenwriter Dardano Sacchetti discusses his work with Lenzi and the script for this film; another older interview with John Saxon (somehow dated after his death) discusses his work as well. Finally, a trailer is presented on the disc. This release also comes with a CD soundtrack from composer Franco Micalizzi along with a lobby card insert with track listing.
- NEW Scanned in 2K from the original negative
- NEW Merli vs. Milian – Interview With Director Umberto Lenzi (1080p; 4:18)
- A Man Of Action – Interview With Umberto Lenzi (1080p; 10:13)
- Me, Milian And Merli – Interview With Umberto Lenzi on His Iconic Characters (1080p; 19:33)
- NEW The Writer, The Director And The Actor – Interview With Screenwriter Dardano Sacchetti (1080p; 32:00)
- Here Comes The Fist – Interview With Actor John Saxon (1080p; 8:37)
- Trailer (1080p; 3:41)
- NEW CD soundtrack
While it may not be the best poliziottescho in the Lenzi/Milian canon, The Cynic, the Rat and the Fist is still a great offering from Severin with a transfer and extras that match in quality with the rest of the Violent Streets boxset, and the best PQ available.