"Keep your mind on what you're doing. Not on what you've done."
This is a quote from Italian crime thriller Death Rage. It is a quote that I retroactively have lived by, except I also don't keep my mind on what I will be doing in the future. Lots of times I also don't worry too much about what I am doing currently. So this movie really resonated with me.
Death Rage opens with scene after scene of guys getting assassinated. Your hear a shot, a guy's hand leaps to his gut, his face scrunches up, and he falls. One of these assassinations takes place at a horse racing track, and the guy that was killed had a deal to split his winnings with Angelo, a young guy who desperately wants to get involved with organized crime. He sneaks into police headquarters. He hangs out with strippers. Then he ends up meeting with Marciani, retired hit man for the mob played by legendary original bald badass guy, Yul Brynner.
Marciani is having bloody visions of his brother getting murdered, rendered with a cool overlay effect of blood running down the screen over a still image of his brother's face. I probably don't have to tell you that Marciani will have to come out of retirement just this one last time.
Angelo is trying everything he can to convince Marciani to be his buddy, but Marciani isn't interested. He fixes a horse race in Marciani's favor. He tries to convince his stripper friend Anny to sleep with Marciani, but she is having none of that. Then she meets Marciani at the strip club and falls in love and ends up sleeping with him anyway. And then Marciani allows Angelo to be his assistant hitman, so I guess it all works out.
The direction is not particularly stylish or anything, but it gets the job done. At its heart, Death Rage is a movie about a kid who wants to be a toughguy hitman, gets a taste, is appalled, but then ends up getting into it anyway. I love how carefree and irresponsible the messages are in this movie. Crime life may seem glamorous and awesome but it's really awful and killing people is a horrible thing, but god damn it hitmen are awesome!! And whatever you do, don't think about what you've done, only about what you're doing!
Of course Yul Brynner is awesome. He's old but awesome and all the best quotes come from him, the best of which is his reaction to Angelo's pathetic whining about how killing guys is horrifying: "You don't hate it. You don't even kill it, because it's been dead ever since you took the contract." That Yul Brynner, so crazy.
Overall this is a very entertaining movie, but what is it doing in my Chilling Classics set? There is nothing chilling about this movie.