Aroutinely plotted thriller about a bunch of plainclothes cops assigned to escort a Mafia informer and his family from their Palermo home to a Milan courtroom, “Palermo — Milan No Return” has plenty of simple action and suspense but little else. Director Claudio Fragasso handles the mayhem adroitly, but the film’s characters lack the dimension that would make the well-worn plot fresh and interesting.
A grizzled-looking Giancarlo Giannini plays Leofonte, a mob lawyer fingered by a witness in a Milan court; later, the witness is killed. The judge orders that Leofonte be brought to the court, and an elite squad led by Di Venanzio (Italo heartthrob Raoul Bova) and consisting of three vets, a rookie and two female cops, is assigned the job; Leofonte’s wife (Stefania Sandrelli), teenage daughter, Chiara (Romina Mondello), and small son are to be relocated to a safe place.
From the start, everything goes wrong. The two-car squad is ambushed in a Palermo square, and two cops are killed along with the wife and son. The survivors head north by car, train and bus, constantly in fear of another ambush.
This actioner is composed of stock situations and characters (for instance, the villain who conveniently wears spurred boots so he can easily be recognized at the vital moment.) There’s also a whiff of romance between the rookie and the terrified teenage girl.
Cast gives pro performances but can’t breathe life into the familiar characters. Tech credits are all tops.