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Duri a Morire

Tough to Kill
Die Aasgeier kommen

Italy 1978
produced by
Compact, Nucleo
directed by Joe D'Amato (= Aristide Massaccesi)
starring Luc Merenda, Donald O'Brien, Wolfango Soldati, Percy Hogan, Alessandro Haber, Lorenza Rodriguez , Laurence Stark, Piero Vida
written by Joe D'Amato (= Aristide Massaccesi), Sergio Donati, music by Stelvio Cipriani

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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Mercenary Martin (Luc Merenda) is hired to capture (or indeed kill & bring evidence of his demise) a scumbag named Leon, who has been assassinating poiticians all over Africa. But as tough luck has it, Leon is now a soldier stationed deep in the African jungle, so the only thing for Martin to do is to become a soldier himself, & stand (for a while) the abuse of major Haggerty (Donald O'Brien) ... but for some (yet) unexplained reason, Martin also finds a loyal black manservant in the native Wabu (Percy Hogan) - whom he for some reason treats like dirt, but that doesn't stop Wabu from serving him.

Eventually Martin learns that Haggerty is behind Leon's head as well, & so are fellow soldiers O'Sullivan & Pulasky (Wolfgang Soldati), who for some reason always carries a live rabbit with him, so the four of them make up a devious plan - to go on some important mission with Leon & then desert the regiment.

Everything goes well at first, but eventually they get into an ambush by the enemy, & have too shoot their way out ... & soon enough O'Brien is killed, & Martin seriously wounded ... but the others still have to drag him along, as he is the only one who knows how to get the reward money. Eventually (again) Wabu appears, again he is treated like dirt (even if he repeatedly helps them out of tough spot with his native knowledge), but again they cannot shake him.

After a while, Leon starts to annoy the others like crazy, culminating in forcing Pulasky to kill his own beloved rabbit (which he always carries along) for food. Pulasky does so, & lets Leon eat the whole rabbit - of course without mentioning that he has put a truckload of poison onto the animal, & before long, Leon is dead.

Now the others are forced to not only drag wounded Martin but also dead Leon along ... & only when they are all really at the end of their stre4ngth has Martin the clever idea to cut off his head & drag this along (after all his dental imprints are as unique as his fingerprints.

Before long though the major & Pulasky decide to shoot it out (less people, a bigger share of the reward), & the major brutally kills Pulasky, then somehow gets rid of Wabu too, before he forces the half-delirious to tell him where to get the reward money, then he leaves him oput in the jungle to die ... but of course Wabu isn't dead yet & soon appears again to drag his master along ... only eventually, & almost at their destination, does he break down.

The major meanwhile has delivered the head, it was verified, & he got the reward ... half a cheque for one million dollars - Martin has locked the other half away at the beginning of the movie, but noone knows that but him. But while the major is still furious about half the cheque, Martin arrives, & the 2 have a shootout, each shooting the other dead ... then Wabu arrives, by far not as naive as everybody thought, & perfectly capable of speaking in the white man's tongue, & he has little trouble figuring out that there might be a connection between half the cheque and the locker key Martin has carelessly shown him, believing him to be as naive as he acted.

Soon Wabu has put the million Dollars in his Swiss bank account, has withdrawn 50.000 just for fun & enjoys the big life with a hot broad (whom Martin has lusted for at the beginning of the movie).


Despite obvious parallels to Sam Peckinpah's masterpiece Bring me the Head of Alfredo Garcia (1974), this could have been many things, a cynical mercenary film, a rough character study & above all a parable of racism hitting back in one's own face. But of course director Joe D'Amato was never a man of subtleties, plul he wasn't really at home in the war genre, plus the budget was rather low, so the outcome is more a trashy mercenary film, although with the unexpected but pleasant outcome of the black man beating the whites at their own game.

Not too bad, if you can get into trashy war films, but then again, not too good either.


review © by Mike Haberfelner


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Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner


Out now from




On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide


A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD