“Ricco the Mean Machine” is a gruesome but unusual revenge picture, and it’s rare you can see a movie where two thugs are driving on a road and get a strip tease by a stranded woman who straddles the hood. It’s every bit as exploitative, sleazy, and weird as you’d expect from a movie made in 1973, and that’s probably why I enjoyed it so much. Demicheli’s action thriller is very unlike what you’d expect from a revenge movie. Sure, its hero is out for blood but not because of the reasons you’d expect. Ricco is released from prison to discover that his mob boss father was killed, but upon this discovery he really holds not malice about it.
He just seeks to go about his business and make some money, but as time wears on he’s manipulated by his mother to seek vengeance. Not to mention when his gorgeous girlfriend sleeps with a rival don, Ricco seeks revenge on the cheating hussy in gruesome methods that can only be seen to be believed. Demicheli’s picture is a deliberately paced thriller with a rather engrossing story and garners a very strong score. Not to mention it’s damn fascinating to view the methods of murder Ricco and his enemies engage in. There’s a memorable and gruesome scene where a man has his penis cut off, and shoved into his mouth. Not to mention our main antagonist Vito has a large vat of acid nearby he dunks his traitors and victims in. Ricco’s primary purpose as a manipulated man who doesn’t truly believe revenge is a must, is sold by Christopher Mitchum’s solid performance.
Along the way he, as the merciless thug, manages to outwit and outmatch many of the hoods he comes across. The film’s primary reason for being such a worthy title is the women. Particularly there’s Malisa Longo who is without a doubt one of the most beautiful women who ever lived. She has a fantastic body, and gives a memorable performance as Ricco’s traitorous wench of a girlfriend who will latch on to anyone who can grant her an upper hand. There’s also Barbara Bouchet who is great as Ricco’s partner who attempts to talk some sense into him as their relationship blossoms. “Ricco” is a wacky little revenge entry that you can only expect from the Italians.