The 10th Victim ★★★

Elio Petri's movie version of Robert Sheckley's satiric science fiction story "Seventh Victim" is predictably stylish and, if anything, even more biting than its source.

In the then-distant 21st century, war has been eliminated by the Big Hunt, a global game of assassination where each participant goes one ten hunts, randomly assigned either the role of Hunter or Victim. The Hunter is given the Victim's identity and complete information; the Victim is told only that someone is hunting them. Survive ten hunts, and you get a million dollar prize.

Ursula Andress and Marcello Mastroianni are the current Hunter and Victim, respectively. This will be Andress' tenth hunt, and she plans to liquidate Mastroianni across the street from the Colosseum, as part of a lucrative commercial deal with Ming Tea. Mastroianni, desperate for money and hounded by his ex-wife and mistress, similarly plots to do Andress in with his own quickly-arranged sponsor.

So of course the two will fall in love.

Nobody did op-art sci-fi futures quite like the Italians. Scenes keep getting interrupted by the running gun battles of other participants in The Big Hunt. Petri even gets in a bit of a nudge-nudge during a sunset sermon by Mastroianni, telling his flock viz a crowd of hooting, produce-throwing hooligans, "Ignore those vulgar neo-realists!"

A bit lightweight and sometimes annoying (that ending gets really berserk), but certainly worth the watch.