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Hammerhead (Hammer) Print E-mail
User Rating: / 4
Written by Jay Creepy   
Tuesday, 03 July 2012

"Hammerhead" (AKA: "Hammer") Cover Art on Severed Cinema

AKA: Hammer, O Polícia de Miami, Special Agent Hammer.

Directed by: Enzio G Castellari
Written by: Enzio G Castellari
Produced by: Enzio G Castellari
Cinematography by: Gianfranco Amicucci, Sandro Mancori
Editing by: Gianfranco Amucucci
Music by: Raskovich
Special Effects by: Paolo Ricci
Cast: Daniel Greene, Melonee Rodgers, Jorge Gil, Frank Zagarino, Antoni Corone, Jeff Moldovan.
Year: 1987
Country: Italy
Language: English
Color: Color
Runtime: 1 hr 34 min

Italy was always the country to jump upon a USA fashion in movies.  Whether it be zombies, apocalypse films, killer sharks, westerns, demonic possession, whatever the flavour of the month, the Italians started a conveyor belt and spat out a few pure rip offs.  Watch a good few of these and you really notice something; though they aren’t very original and a majority are clichéd, there’s a top notch atmosphere and a seriousness to the proceedings which you have to love.  Just about every loyal horror fan knows about Italian zombies, but look deeper and you find an incredible mass market of films that were hits in their own rights.

One genre I didn’t mention is the crime epic.  Italians had made crime movies for many decades without much influence from the USA.  However, in the eighties along came a few muscle movies using American actors.  The following review is one of them.  Featuring dialogue brimming with aftershave, eighties gym and beach bodies; men are muscular and sweaty, women are top heavy with muscular hairstyles.

"Hammerhead" follows Daniel Greene ("Striker," "Shallow Hal," "Hands Of Steel") who plays a low budget Dolph Lungren sort of action hero.  He fights realistically and gets injured a fair bit.  Oh, and he can’t talk very well either.  He is Hammer (or Hammerhead), once a member of a mercenary group called The Stormriders, now a detective in Miami.  He’s the kind of guy who sleeps with his gun and his badge by the bed, with a huge panting dog beside him.  The telephone rings and it’s his ex-Stormriders buddy Greg (Jeff Moldovan) who’s in a lot of trouble and wants to meet up.  Apparently they’re gonna kick his ass, and he tells Hammer to watch his ass (??!!), so they meet on a standard gloomy deserted dock side.

Greg’s got “heavy hitters” after him.  He’s mixed up in a lot and has been set up -- he knows too much, etc.  He passes Hammer a key then they hear an engine start up in the distance.  Greg begins to shake so they decide to drive off.  Hammer goes first.  Just as Greg starts his car, a huge dock container is dropped onto the vehicle by a crane and he’s crushed.  At this point, my Horror Soulmate said, “He’s gone,” whilst I was writing my notes.  Huh?  We viewed the moment again and yes, the driver’s side and the whole car was empty.  They couldn’t even add a dummy...

What follows is a long car chase as Hammer goes after the culprit (Frank Zagarino) with the Guns N Roses “Sweet Child Of Mine” guitar solo looped and belting out at high volume.  Axl and his crew supplied some of the soundtrack to the film and do add something different to the environment.

This chase has all the ingredients needed, Hammer’s car drives on its side, there’s slow motion motorbike jumps and when they’re on foot hammer runs in slow motion.  In fact we had to laugh, for the same slow motion run is seen twice and kind of reminds you of John Cleese as a Knight in "Monty Python and the Holy Grail" as the castle guards see him approach over and over and over.  The two of them shoot up Miami and innocent bystanders get caught by the ruthless hitman’s bullets a few times (blood certainly flies about in Italian movies, oh yes).  Then the bad guy escapes and Hammer is suspended for recklessness.

Hammer decides to head to the Caribbean where Greg lived, which is also the home of the other two Stormriders, Jose and Carlos.  As he leaves there’s a stereotypical Jamaican song playing (which I doubt Axl sang somehow).  He meets a woman called Julia (Donna Rosea) at the airport and there’s Jose (Jorge Gil) waiting for him.  Jose falls in love with her, and to be honest, is in the film for comedy relief.  He’s not bad at it actually.  Some of his lines and antics raise a chuckle, so he did his job for us.

Hammer tells Jose about Greg's death (did I hear correctly?).  Did Hammer say Greg was “blown away... He just froze up.”?  Perhaps it’s more of an honour to freeze in a gunfight than to be crushed in your car by a giant metal container!

We also meet DD (Deanna Lund) who is very close to the Stormriders.  Hammer sets out investigating Greg’s life and connections.  He goes to Greg’s apartment and Jose goes to get info on Carlos who has apparently been kidnapped.  There are guys with guns around Greg's apartment, but our man gets in anyway and finds it all trashed.  Back to the car, a plump bearded guy is waiting with a gun.  He fights him off and happens to spot the hitman who killed Greg.  Epic car chase part two!  Still the hitman gets away.

As our lads go hunting for clues, the same bearded guy beats the hell out of DD.  Hammer meets Mr. Vali, the local kingpin and a huge fistfight starts and disposable mob guys are thrown and punched all over the place by Hammer and Jose.  Once again, the hitman’s there and a third chase happens, this time on jet skis!  I'm not kidding.  Finally they battle it out on a beach with fists and sticks.  Hammer manages to stick a random harpoon through the fella, “Die you muthafucka!” and he does.

Let’s just bare in mind that everything you have just read has happened in the first half an hour of the film.  This is like a greatest hits compilation of action cop movies.

At the local police station they meet up with Julia again.  Jose comically gets off with her in a rather ugly scene.  Meanwhile, Hammer uncovers Gregs old notebook and it’s full of codes written in Stormrider language.  As the plot thickens, it seems Greg hid some money and the mob wants it all back.  Simple really.  Money and drugs, the staple of most Italian crime movies.  Hammer then takes the whole crime underworld to war from that moment on.

So why am I reviewing a crime movie instead of a horror film?  It’s because of the graphic nature of these films.  Think of Fulci’s "Contraband," or Enzio G. Castellari’s own "The Big Racket," these films don’t hold back on the gore and adult natures. "Hammerhead" has it's large share of bloody gunshots, burning bodies, shots to the groins, pick axe hits and split heads.  There is never a dull moment.  At one point Hammer has most of the left side of his face sliced apart on a saw, but to him it’s just like a shaving cut, so he keeps on fighting.

There’s faults to be served, from too much slow motion (Hammer running, Hammer jumping, Hammer swinging a piece of metal for goodness sake!) and some weird moments when a soaking wet road suddenly becomes bone dry in the next scene.  Hmmm...

In "Hammerhead," lots of people die, good characters double cross and become bad characters, bad guys are just low life scum, and good guys are just all man!

It’s hard to get hold of this uncut.  If there were any VHS survivors they may well be cut.  It's worth seeking out a DVD-R of this like I did.  It’s worth it if you like Italian films.  Go into it expectin
g a whole lot of fun and be ready for entertainment.

"Hammerhead" (AKA: "Hammer") Screenshot on Severed Cinema

"Hammerhead" (AKA: "Hammer") Screenshot on Severed Cinema

"Hammerhead" (AKA: "Hammer") Screenshot on Severed Cinema

"Hammerhead" (AKA: "Hammer") Screenshot on Severed Cinema

"Hammerhead" (AKA: "Hammer") Screenshot on Severed Cinema

"Hammerhead" (AKA: "Hammer") Screenshot on Severed Cinema

"Hammerhead" (AKA: "Hammer") Screenshot on Severed Cinema

"Hammerhead" (AKA: "Hammer") Screenshot on Severed Cinema

"Hammerhead" (AKA: "Hammer") Screenshot on Severed Cinema

"Hammerhead" (AKA: "Hammer") Screenshot on Severed Cinema

"Hammerhead" (AKA: "Hammer") Screenshot on Severed Cinema

"Hammerhead" (AKA: "Hammer") Screenshot on Severed Cinema

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3.22 Copyright (C) 2007 Alain Georgette / Copyright (C) 2006 Frantisek Hliva. All rights reserved."

Last Updated ( Tuesday, 03 July 2012 )
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