Brothers Till We Die (1978)

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Brothers Till We Die Storyline

Vincenzo ‘hunchback’ plans a robbery on a armored police van with his gang. Once the job is done, his gang try to kill him and absconds with the loot. Vincenzo hides in the sewers before looking up his friend Monezza who the police later interrogate for his involvement with vincenzo. Meanwhile, Vincenzo is getting revenge on his gang by killing them off one at the time in his various brutal ways.—wxjuh

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Brothers Till We Die Movie Reviews

Another eminently watchable, explosively exhilarating, Lenzi/Milian poliziotteschi collaboration

The bullet-blasted Italian classic,’Banda Del Gobbo’ aka ‘Brothers Till We Die’ (1978) is another eminently watchable, explosively exhilarating, Lenzi/Milian poliziotteschi collaboration supercharged with an especially demonstrative performance by the legendary, Tomas Milian, this time zestfully portraying a disparate duo of misfit, street tough siblings, ‘Il Gobbo’ & ‘Monnezza’. Happily, the scenery masticating, Milian jauntily dons the same pimptastic fright wig from, Stelvio Massi’s ‘Destruction Force’, thus allowing any confused viewer to swiftly differentiate the aesthetic, moral, and tonsorial subtleties betwixt the two titular characters! Clearly, Tomas Milian fans, and avid Euro-crime addicts will find this riotously rumbustious entry in maestro, Lenzi’s extensive poliziotteschi pantheon to be a supremely worthy addition to their collection! Alongside, Milian’s enviable screen magnetism, the driving crime funk brilliance of, Franco Micalizzi’s grittily effective, infectiously funky soundtrack provides an additional lustre to, Umberto Lenzi’s truly outstanding poliziottesco. This stunning 88 Films Blu-ray restoration is a thing of lurid beauty!

Involving Umberto Lenzi police flick lacks heart

Formula pairing of director Umberto Lenzi with prolific star Tomas Milian is watchable enough entertainment but lacks the spark of excitement that made other Lenzi Italian crime films so memorable. Firstly don’t come expecting any of the hard-knuckle violence which is found in spades in the likes of VIOLENT ROME and ASSAULT WITH A DEADLY WEAPON because there’s none of that here; no innocent people get gunned down and nobody is even tortured! At an opportune moment in which it appears that a crowd of rich snobs are going to get wasted with a machine-gun, our arch-villain instead begins a long-winded political rant instead of using violence to make his point. There are few scenes of action here and only one really good car chase right at the end of the movie.

Instead the plot is bizarre and episodic, seemingly unable to decide what to do with the central concept of star Tomas Milian playing both roles of an identical twin partnership. Things start off in typical revenge formula as Humpo (the hunchback Milian plays in an politically incorrect ’70s Italy) is double-crossed by his criminal accomplices and left for dead, being forced to crawl in exhausting slow motion through a dirty sewer to safety. Just as it appears that Lenzi is going to stage his own MARATHON MAN moment as Milian goes wild with a drill in a dentists, the action abruptly cuts off and we’re left with only the aftermath! The plot gets more and more bizarre as it goes along, as Humpo’s brother, Pigsty (who is basically the same as the character Milian played in FREE HAND FOR A TOUGH COP) is captured by the police and eats cigarettes, throwing him into a fever. The police proceed to throw him into a mental asylum! Much screen time is taken up with Pigsty’s escape from said asylum and then there are various scenes involving transvestites, Albanians, and the traditional shoot-out finale in an abandoned building. The ambiguous ending is hardly satisfying. Although the plot isn’t much cop, Lenzi’s direction is solid and fluid meaning you’ll never have to look at your watch. The typically snazzy music also helps out a lot, easing more painful moments in the production.

The usually reliable Tomas Milian is sadly below par in this movie. His standard Pigsty character is fine enough, a crook with a heart of gold and quite a sympathetic character, but Humpo – who gets most of the limelight – is certainly not. An irritating and unappealing creature who has a chip on his shoulder as well as a hump on his back, Humpo is the ultimate unbelievable anti-hero character and sadly overplayed to excess by an unrestrained Milian, who almost makes things laughable. Thankfully the supporting cast are solid enough in their various parts, such as Pino Colizzi’s tough cop (who follows in the hard man footsteps of Franco Nero and Maurizio Merli), Isa Danieli (a beautiful actress) as Humpo’s long-suffering girlfriend and Sal Borgese as a shifty criminal. The trappings make this one fun but at heart it lacks both the drama and excitement that the genre classics are best known for.

Not Lenzi’s best crime effort, but an enjoyable little thriller

When it comes to Italian crime films, Umberto Lenzi is undoubtedly the king of the Italian Polizi sub-genre, and while this film doesn’t quite live up to the ones that went before it; Brothers Till We Die is still an interesting and entertaining little film that is sure to please fans of this sort of stuff. This was the last of Lenzi’s crime collaborations with the great Tomas Milian, and it’s also the most ambitious use of the actor. Here, Milian is given the task of playing two brothers, but since this is a cheapo Italian effort where special effects weren’t really affordable, the effect is generated entirely through editing, and it has to be said that Lenzi does a good job. The plot is somewhat routine and simply follows a familiar revenge curve. Francesco and Vincenzo are brothers; Francesco is a bum better known as “Pigsty” and Vincenzo is a hunchback who gets called “Humpo” (you gotta love Italians!). The plot focuses more on Vincenzo, a wanted man who “rears his hump” in order to commit another robbery. However, things don’t go to plan as his accomplices decide to shoot him (he’s too noticeable, and therefore runs a risk of getting them all caught). Vincenzo manages to drag himself into a sewer, and then proceeds to get revenge…

The film doesn’t feature the greatest script ever written (not even the greatest script ever written for a trashy Italian film!), but the silly dialogue is often very funny and the film’s absolute disregard for political correctness when it comes to the lead character’s disfigurement is just great. Obviously, a lot of this film’s success (or lack of) rests on the shoulders of Tomas Milian, and despite being given a rather heavy role; he doesn’t manage to turn a great performance. His “Pigsty” character is a messy imitation of the “Garbage Can” character from Free Hand for a Tough Cop, while the hunchback character is a lot more like Milian’s forte; but the make-up intrudes on the performance, and neither one comes off particularly well. However, I’d much rather have Tomas Milian in the role than anyone else, and he does always make the film worth watching in spite of its shortcomings. The plot flows nicely enough throughout and it’s usually entertaining. Lenzi has also seen fit to throw in a sub-plot revolving around the hunchback’s attitude towards his disability, which feels a bit odd but works fairly well nonetheless. Overall, this is a decent enough slice of Italian police action and I’m sure most people that see it will enjoy it.