If there is one thing that Yul Brynner excelled at, it was playing the tough guy and in Death Rage from 1976, Brynner would do so once again as a hit man who has come out of retirement for one last job. It is something that Peter, as played by Brynner, thought he would never have to do again, especially after the death of his brother. But after he is convinced that the identity of the man who murdered his brother is now known, he cannot help himself, as vengeance is on his mind and he will do anything to accomplish his goal.
While there is little better than seeing Brynner’s character take his frustrations out upon those that have done him wrong, the movie tended to languish a little with more than a few segments featuring Massimo Ranieri who played Angelo – a man who fixes horse races and soon becomes Peter’s helper/employee. It soon becomes clear though that Angelo plays a very important part in the film and so despite wanting to see more of Brynner, there is a definite reason for having Angelo on screen so much as evidenced by the ending of the movie. For the most part, Ranieri does a great job as the happy-go-lucky fix-it man, but it is Brynner that captures a person’s attention and the man never disappoints. The only problem one could suggest with Brynner in this film, is that it is a character that has been seen more than once from the man – whether in The Magnificent Seven, The Ultimate Warrior, Invitation to a Gunfighter, and so on. As cliché as it might be, it never really gets old because the man does it so well and he is just as electric in this film as in any other he has ever done.
There is quite a bit of action present, Brynner and company chasing bad guys and the villains in return, chasing them. Additionally there is a crooked cop and numerous other police officers who make things interesting and a beautiful woman named Anny as portrayed by Barbara Bouchet who falls in love with Peter and he, with her. Antonio Margheriti who directed the film, does a good job of making it interesting and while it could have been tightened up here and there to make it run a little smoother and heighten the suspense, it never failed to be entertaining.
Death Rage would be the last film that Yul Brynner would ever make, not because he was done with acting, as evidenced by his nearly five thousand performances of The King and I which would take place throughout the Eighties before his death; he was simply done with film. It is a bit of a shame that he left the silver screen, but he contributed a rich legacy that any man would be proud of and though this movie would not be his finest, it was a solid enough ending to a great career.
3 out of 5