La Scorta (The Bodyguards) (Tognazzi, 1993)

If you’ve got a taste for high quality action films, the Italian La Scorta offers a distinct and worthwhile vision of the moral codes shared between men of arms. Smart, gripping, and effortlessly cool, director Ricky Tognazzi’s look at politics, corruption, and assassination in present day Sicily is a no nonsense actioner based around character, not scenario, which demands comparison with the greatest modern crime film, Heat (1995). When a local Judge is brutally assassinated, the honorable Michele de Francesco is transferred in to take over the district. Assigned a newly formed group of bodyguards as protection, all parties soon realize the deception involved in keeping the corrupt status-quo in full working order. Their lives constantly in danger, these men come to see each other as an extended family, the last line of defense for man willing to stir the pot and makes things better for the common man. With every fast-paced scene, we feel the push and the pull on these men and their relationships with the outside world. The most amazing aspect of La Scorta is the friendships formed between the bodyguards themselves. Somehow, with the help of a dynamic script by Graziano Diana and Simona Izzo, the film exists on it’s own terms, avoiding the typical minefield of cliches found in the typical cop drama. As these men begin to care for each other as brothers and confidants, their survival and success become more essential to the viewer. The Bodyguards also forge a deep friendship and respect for the judge himself, a pillar of hard work and dedication to taking out the Mafioso garbage. A scathing critique of political apathy, La Scorta is a high caliber character study framed within an action film. Aren’t those the best kind? This one’s just waiting to be remade, revisited, and revamped by Michael Mann.

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