The Curator of Schlock #185 by Jeff Shuster

Shoot First, Die Later

Crime doesn’t pay!

I’ve been criticized over the fact that I choose too many violent pictures for this blog. Hey, I don’t choose violent movies. Violent movies choose me. That being said, I’m willing to switch things up for one night. How about a feel good movie? How about 1974’s Shoot First, Die Later from director Fernando Di Leo?

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You’ll feel good after watching this movie because no matter how bad your life is right now, it’s not nearly as bad as the lives of the characters in this movie. 

Last week’s movie, Stunt Squad, ended with a man being beaten to death so imagine my elation–I mean repulsion–when Shoot First, Die Later starts with a bunch of guys being beaten to death. We have a nasty mob boss named Pascal (Raymond Pelligren) who’s mad as hell about street punks getting their narcotics from his competition. Soon after we’re introduced to our hero, Detective Lieutenant Domenico Malacarne (Luc Merenda). He’s undercover, trying to get in good with two Mexican men who want to smuggle in some contraband. Domenico leads the police right to them, arrests are made, and Domenico gets promoted. His father is so proud of his boy. He shouldn’t be, though, because Domenico actually works for the mob!

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That’s right, it was Pascal who tipped him off about the Mexicans, a great way to eliminate his competition. Pascal wants Domenico’s help smuggling guns into the country. Domenico won’t have anything to do with that. Coffee and cigarette smuggling are his limit. So I guess he has some integrity?

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Domenico’s dad also works for the police department and he’s so proud of his son. Some crazy old coot comes in to file a complaint. There was a car with Swiss plates blocking his driveway. I guess that car can be linked to Pascal’s crew and that sordid business with the men who were getting beaten to death at the beginning of the film. Domenico interviews the old man. He talks to his cat a lot. His cat is named Napoleon. The cat doesn’t answer back. He relays that bit of info back to Pascal, says the old coot is nothing to worry about. That’s not good enough for Pascal. He sends a couple of his goons over to murder the guy. They place a plastic bag over his head until he stops breathing. They also  have a plastic bag for Napoleon. 

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What kind of sick outfit is this? Why murder a kitten? Honestly, I don’t know what happened to Italy in the 70s. Domenico tells his dad that he needs that complaint form, the only piece of evidence left that could incriminate Pascal. He tells his dad that he doesn’t care about justice or honor and that everybody’s corrupt. Boo! I don’t like this guy. From here on out, it’s a blood bath. Pascal is tying up loose ends that involve murdering Domenico’s father and Domenico’s girlfriend. A reckoning involving shooting first and dying later is the only outcome. Crime doesn’t pay!


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Jeffrey Shuster (episode 47episode 102episode 124, and episode 131) is an MFA graduate from the University of Central Florida.

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