They Call Me Jeeg

March 14th, 2017


They Call Me Jeeg

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Release Year: 2015

Rating: 7.4/10 ( voted)

Critic's Score: /100

Director: Gabriele Mainetti

Stars: Claudio Santamaria, Luca Marinelli, Ilenia Pastorelli

The film is a strange and anti-hero transposition of a very popular animated manga cartoon in the 80's called Steel Jeeg. Here, a young outlaw (Enzo) is somehow affected by radioactive waste in the Tiber waters in Rome. He subsequently finds out he has gained super powers and interprets them as a reward for never having managed to enter the criminal world that counts. The inside joke reveals itself when Enzo meets Alessia, who believes the charming hero is the personification of the hero in the cartoon she used to watch.

Writers: Nicola Guaglianone, Nicola Guaglianone, Claudio Santamaria, Luca Marinelli, Ilenia Pastorelli, Claudio Santamaria, Luca Marinelli, Ilenia Pastorelli, Stefano Ambrogi, Maurizio Tesei, Francesco Formichetti, Daniele Trombetti, Joel Sy, Gianluca Di Gennaro, Salvatore Esposito, Antonia Truppo, Juana Jimenez, Tommaso Di Carlo, Giampaolo Crescenzio, Tamken Abdulaziz, , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Claudio Santamaria - Enzo Ceccotti
Luca Marinelli - Zingaro
Ilenia Pastorelli - Alessia
Stefano Ambrogi - Sergio
Maurizio Tesei - Biondo
Francesco Formichetti - Sperma
Daniele Trombetti - Tazzina
Joel Sy - Claudietto
Gianluca Di Gennaro - Antonio
Salvatore Esposito - Vincenzo
Antonia Truppo - Nunzia
Juana Jimenez - Marcellone
Tommaso Di Carlo - Efeso
Giampaolo Crescenzio - Pinocchio
Tamken Abdulaziz - Corriere #1


Official Website: Official site [Italy] | Official site [Japan]

Country: Italy

Language: Italian

Release Date: 3 Jan 2015

Filming Locations: Rome, Lazio, Italy

Technical Specs


Did You Know?

At one point in the film, Enzo is asked if he was bitten by a bat in order to become a superhero. Claudio Santamaria (Enzo) previously served as the voice of Bruce Wayne/Batman for the Italian dubbing of Christopher Nolan's Batman trilogy and also for The Lego Movie's Batman. Also, the off-screen voice heard from a TV reporter in the closing sequence, was provided by Adriano Giannini who dubbed the Joker in the same series of movies. See more »

User Review


Rating: 8/10

Courageous debut for Mainetti, who has chosen a genre unfamiliar to Italian cinema. Due to budget limitations, focusing on characters and environment was the only route to take, and that was managed pretty well, adapting the classic superhero movies plot to Italy (specifically Rome) background: there aren't people who want to save or conquer the world, just people that struggle to go on living among criminals and Camorra bosses. Filthy Tevere river, filthy rooms and filthy souls. All the main characters live at the margin of society, a society that refuses them and doesn't give a chance to change their condition. Enzo is a low grade thief who has lost all hopes on society and on its own life, living day to day with no ambitions, eating yogurt and watching porn movies, and uses the superpowers casually granted to him just to repeat his habits over and over. Alessia is a girl with a mental disorder who escapes reality by continuously watching the Jeeg Robot anime and relating everything to it. Zingaro (the Gypsy) is trying to find his place on the world (Rome) by achieving fame, failing with usual ephemeral means through TV shows, and now trying to be the most known and feared criminal (again, in Rome). "Normal" people seem to live in another universe, behind a one way mirror: Enzo watches and despises them, while they pretend not to see him and , in general, the horrors of the world. This situation is interrupted only by terrorist attacks, that recall those that in Italy are called Years of Lead, and later by Enzo's switch towards "good". It's really amazing the constant tie to reality that the movie has, despite the superpowers: common streets, common people, common criminals and common situations (the first good action of Enzo is saving a little girl involved in a car accident). Good acting for the 3 main roles: Santamaria and Pastorelli (i was surprised by her, since she came from Italian Big Brother reality show, i had my doubts) did a great work, Marinelli shines in his villain role. Solid direction from Mainetti with a couple scenes i personally liked: Zingaro assault on Camorra clan and the scenes on Enzo's house where Jeeg was screened on the wall. Soundtrack consists mostly of years '80 Italian pop music, and i find it fitting. Script is where the movie has some weaknesses, the plot is too straightforward (but as i said before, that's most likely a choice), and the final confrontation didn't convince me. Interesting references to other movies, even Kill Bill, and of course the Jeeg anime. As a side note, since Mainetti knows well Japan animes as they inspired some of his previous works, i wonder if that's the same for Japanese new wave directors. I noticed some similarities with Sion Sono's themes: dysfunctional families, psychological and physical abuses, violence as a mean of self-awareness, technology amplifying or leading to delusions and solitude. If that's the case, that's for sure a great addition. Once, something considered impossible happened: Italy mastered and created his own Western genre, passing through Japan. I don't know if this will happen with superheroes, but this movie surely marks a good starting point.


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