Monday, June 6, 2011

Insan Avcisi (Manhunter)

                                                Director: Duygu Sagiroglu
               Starring: Cuneyt Arkin, Turgut Ozatay, Tarik Simsek, Yavuz Selekman


This film is often mistranslated as Heart of a Father. That I'm pretty sure is a different Turkish action drama; one I've yet to see.

Lensed in 1978, Insan Avcisi is one of the best examples of the modern day Turkish action/exploitation pics to come out of that decade. The Turks during this period were heavily influenced by both American and Italian films and this one is no exception. It appears to be most strongly influenced by the seminal down and dirty Charles Bronson vigilante pic, Death Wish as well as the violent and stylish Italian Mob movies being churned out by the likes of Fernando Di Leo and Enzo Castellari. While Insan Avcisi isn't on par with either in regards to style and technique, it (like the best of the Turkish Pop films) does exhibit a crazed energy level and go for broke attitude that makes the others appear almost tame by comparison. It also ups the ante in the nasty department. In one scene, the hero's pregnant wife is murdered by a long knife that's thrust right into her belly. Also (in the film's most notorious scene) a baddie is placed in front of a table saw that proceeds to slice him in half, the long way, from bottom to top!

Starring in this heavy duty celluloid smackdown is the ever present Cuneyt Arkin. This film came during the peak of his popularity as he was splitting his time between making modern action/revenge pics and over the top period epics (see my review of Battal Gazi Geliyor). This is also just prior to  his lean years in the 80s where he was featured in often incomprehensible (though oddly even more entertaining) cinematic oddities (see my review of Vahsi Kan). Alternately stoic and crazed, when Arkin is the hero it spells bad news for the heavies.

The story concerns Arkin as a cop who discovers that one of his fellow crime stoppers is dirty and in league with an international crime syndicate. Before he has a chance to act, his family is gruesomely dispatched (the aforementioned pregnant spouse). Swearing revenge, (understandably) he resigns from the force and goes on a hunting spree.

Technically well made, Insan Avcisi is a sure bet for Cuneyt Arkin fans who want a little meat to go along with the expected (and then some) dose of Turkish-style action, violence and general nastiness.

                                                                 *** / ****

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