We at FleshEatingZipper receive a number of straight-to-DVD releases that wind up going straight to the Movie Dump-Bin, a special purgatory that serves as a home to D-list celebrities and the worst possible moviemaking you can possibly imagine. Sometimes these films come close to earning their wings, but most are of the ilk that should never be reasoned with…
As Mafia opens, Ving Rhames sits on a cot as the ghosts of the people he’s killed flash in and out of existence. Rhames plays the fro-hawked Renzo, Mafia‘s dopey-ass gangster who resides in this cheaply-produce flick that tries the exploitation angle and comes up way short on character. Or characters. Or plot. Despite the anachronisms, the film is set in 1975, a time and place that allows the filmmakers to loop stock themes that Shaft wouldn’t have used if they made fifty of those films.
While Renzo does, uh, gangster stuff, the fuzz looks on. Newcomer Robert Patrick, who should continue to receive paychecks, joins seasoned and blood-lusting vet Pam Grier who wants to take Renzo down for the murder of her partner. As told in a hilarious flashback, Grier’s partner steps into Renzo’s bar, asks for cocaine and is subsequently beaten to death by his men. When Grier confides in Patrick that she’s up for doing some super unethical stuff to get Renzo caught, Patrick, being the paragon of virtue, rejects her motives. She knocks him out and hires a man to chainsaw him to pieces. Yeah. Really.
That seems like a fitting conclusion to their relationship, which until that point played out a bit like two of the most pleasant grandparents you’ve ever known. The movie makes no attempt to build any tension and after plenty of uninteresting bloodshed, the climax rivals the reveal beat of an episode of Scooby Doo. Oh, did I mention that Patrick moved into town to be with his fiance? She’s easily twenty years younger than him and has a stern and unapproving brother? That brother? It’s Renzo!
Let me assure you, there’s no reason to watch Mafia. There isn’t a single redeeming quality to this film. Every performance is phoned in, if it’s performed at all, and the film makes no effort to accomplish anything it sets out to do. Oh, did I mention that one of Renzo’s henchmen is named Double Double? Not after the In-N-Out burger, no, after the fact that he carries around two double-barrel shotguns.
There are much better ways to spend 82 minutes.