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3 Men to Kill (1980)

aka 3 hommes a abattre

When a simple act of charity turns sour, French superstar, Alain Delon, will find himself in familiar territory. Meaning on the run with a gun in hand and a girl on his arm.

Admittedly it’s not quite North By Northwest but when we find Delon traveling by car late at night he comes across what appears to be a lone car crash with a bloodied man at the wheel. Being the good Samaritan he moves the man to the backseat of his own car and hurries to the nearest Paris hospital. Out comes the gurney and the nurse asks Delon to stick around to fill out some reports. Not wanting to bother, Delon, continues on to his poker game leaving the injured man to his fate which in just a few short minutes is death. What Delon doesn’t realize is the man was the victim of a “hit” and for the entire trip to the hospital, Delon, was being followed by the two assassins responsible for the killing.

Not knowing what Delon may have been told in the car they feel, as does the man they’re working for, that it would be best for all concerned if our smooth talking Frenchman was removed. Permanently. And there you have it. Delon is soon going to find himself a marked man and on the run.

Delon isn’t the only target following the death of the man he picked up at the scene of the apparent car accident. Next up the two hitmen murder a man in his bathtub and a third at a traffic light when they pull up next to him on motorcycle. The three deaths make the front of the next day’s newspaper and Delon begins to realize he’s in trouble. This would explain why he was attacked on the beach by two men trying to drown him while his lovely girlfriend, Dalila De Lazzaro, lay sunning herself on the sand.

For Delon things are going to take a nasty turn when he visits a friend looking for advice who also happens to be police inspector. A knock on the door leads to the inspector being murdered in Delon’s place as he goes to answer it. With no hesitation, Delon, removes the dead man’s holstered gun and is on the run. Time for one of those in your face car chases that fans of Euro Crime thrillers can truly appreciate. Yes our bungling hitmen have realized they’ve killed the wrong man and are on Delon’s tail through the streets of Paris. Not to worry cause our gun toting Frenchman has had enough and turns the tables taking out one of his would be killers.

Delon’s not only on the run from what will prove to be big money crime but the police as well after it’s believed he killed the inspector he had turned to for help. Quick! What movie villain sits around plotting doom and destruction while stroking a cat sitting on his lap. If you said Blofeld or Dr. Evil you’d be right. Well we can add a third name to that list though I suspect it’s not going to catch on if it already hasn’t over the past 40 years. I think it’s Emmerich.

Think? Well you see I have an English dubbed copy minus the credits with what appears to be Finnish subtitles! And where did I locate this copy? It’s part of the Grindhouse Experience Vol. 2 Collection. A mixed bag of titles including Deadly Jaws and Shark Hunter.

If you can’t beat’em ….. hire them. That’s the decision that our pussy cat caressing villain has decided upon. He’s convinced that Delon is not your ordinary poker player. Had me wondering when we’re going to have a background check on Delon and learn that he’s an ex green beret/Delta Force/French Foreign legion/assassin/ninja/blackbelt specialist who could kick Chuck Norris’ ass if he wanted to. Hey, it’s a cliché of countless action films where a man is pushed to pick up the gun and right the wrongs he’s experienced first hand.

In between attempts on his life, Delon, is going to have to decide how he wants to play the hand dealt him in the final reel.

Since the copy I have had no opening credits, I had to research this title over at the IMDB. It’s there I discovered that Delon not only acted but had a hand in producing and adapting this to the screen from a novel by Jean-Patrick Manchette. Delon regularly took a hand in producing his films though rarely directing. Serving as director of this 1980 release was Jacques Deray. By my count Delon and Deray worked on a total of 10 films together as actor/director. Among them are 1970’s Borsalino and the 1974 follow-up, Borsalino and Co.

Mr. Delon is an actor I’ve been a fan of since my early years of discovering movies on the late show thanks to his films opposite well known Hollywood icons including Burt Lancaster, Dean Martin, Ann-Margret and a pair of duets with Charles Bronson. On the flip side I’m still discovering other films in his lengthy career beyond the more famous titles that made their way to North American shores. Films like Purple Noon, Le Samourai and The Sicilian Clan. Feel free to recommend others that might be lesser known here in Canada.

7 Comments »

  1. I had to check IMDb to see if I’d seen any Delon films (I was thinking not), and though I recognize several titles, I can’t remember seeing any of them (including Airport ’79). I do like the sound of this one, though, and that grindhouse set looks pretty cool, too.

    • Time to play catch up sir. Surprised you never caught Red Sun. Fun western with Delon, Bronson, Mifune and Miss Andress. Played TV quite a bit years ago. Still he’s best in gangster oriented films. As for Airport ’79, watch it only for the cheese factor. Both those grindhouse sets are fun though some transfers are better than others.

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