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The Sack of Rome (1992)

Studio: One 7 Movies / CAV

Theatrical Release: October 3, 1992

DVD Release: October 8, 2013

Director: Fabio Bonzi

Not Rated

Review by James Klein

This Russian/Italian joint production was originally titled Gold. I am unsure how the title ended up being renamed The Sack of Rome but both titles don't seem to fit. While gold does serve as a catalyst to what happens in the story, the film is much more about beauty and art than it is about gold. Also, the Sack of Rome is touched upon rather briefly which can be deceiving if one is looking for a historical action film.

Rome, 1527. Gabriele da Poppi (Franco Nero) is a painter who lives with two young students who he treats like his children. While he does tend to drink too much wine which causes him to be temperamental, he cares for his apprentices and teaches them the art of painting beauty. Because he is a respected painter, he takes no heed to the warnings of war coming to Rome believing that his respectability will allow him to live as he normally does.

When the city is finally attacked and many of the men are killed and women raped, his own home isn't one to be left alone. As his male apprentice is murdered, da Poppi's female student Gesuina (the gorgeous Vittoria Belvedere) is raped and forced to be the slave of one of the men who attacked da Poppi's home. Bound by a rope and now a slave, da Poppi is forced to create a painting of the head mercenary. As da Poppi paints, he is forced to witness the innocent Gesuina become the sex slave of the mercenary. I wanted to see the pacifist painter take a sword and kick some ass but alas, very little action takes place.
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There are also two very small subplot's that populate The Sack of Rome that never really go anywhere. One deals with the Pope who must try and restore peace with the German's and the Italians. The other, a more interesting subplot, deals with one of the mercenaries who accidentally kills an innocent woman and is haunted by her wherever he goes. He soon starts to develop what seems to be symptoms of The Plague. Personally, I would have preferred if this subplot was more focused and fleshed out as it brought almost a spooky atmosphere to an otherwise dull historical drama.

Franco Nero is always good in just about any movie he is in. The man is just an amazing actor to watch on screen, especially with those piercing blue eyes. Even in a film that can be dull at times, Nero is always solid. The rest of the cast is fine and hold the film together. The direction is interesting at times and I loved looking at the costumes and sets. While it is obvious that the film was shot on a lower budget, the film still contains some amazing set pieces. However, the story is just so damn dull. With too many long speeches about art and beauty, I just couldn't help but look at the clock to see how much more I had to watch. Clocking in at just 96 minutes, it felt like 196.
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It also didn't help that the subtitles went by so fast that it was hard to keep up with what people are saying to one another. The DVD looks like it was transferred from a VHS source. The picture is so dark and murky, I had no idea what was going on during a few night sequences. Also, the picture would suddenly jump to black and white for a brief second for no reason. Not sure who supplied One 7 Movies with this source, but its awful. The DVD doesn't offer any extras aside from a short photo gallery which is just images taken right from the movie itself. And why is this film presented in just 1:33?
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While there are moments of interest, The Sack of Rome is just a total bore and made even worse by an awful DVD experience.

[Rating: 2]

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