26 January 2019

Review: Cellat (1975)

Following the success of Michael Winner's Death Wish in 1974 the Turkish film industry, following their standard practice, were soon quick to rush out their own vigilante thriller, Cellat, to cash in (rumour has it that these Turkish quickies were rushed out to generate enough finance to distribute the original Hollywood films that they imitated).

After falling into obscurity the only remaining print of Cellat, starring Serdar Gökhan, was dusted off by Onar Films for a very limited DVD release (only 500 copies worldwide). I was lucky enough get the chance to view a copy

When his home is invaded and his wife and sister brutally attacked, leaving one dead and the other in a catatonic stupor, mild-mannered architect Orhan goes on a one man vigilante killing spree to clean up Istanbul before you can say, 'Charles Bronson.' Along the way he comes across his wife's killers and a spot of violent retribution ensues as the police close in on our hero.

As far as Turkish exploitation cinema goes the print is pretty watchable, but don't expect an spectacular high definition revelations. The film itself is very entertaining and certainly deserves to be hailed as an exploitation classic. Some sequences from Death Wish are re-enacted virtually shot-for-shot, but Cellat makes no claim to originality (in the US it was actually released as Turkish Death Wish). Serdar Gökhan puts in a great performance as Orhan, even out-cooling Charles Bronson!

So if you fancy a violent vigilante thriller featuring bellydancing and the immortal line, "No, no, stop it! Give me my cabbage back!" then grab a copy of Cellat if you can find one.
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