There is no character in The Godfather like Luca Brasi, so when he is unexpectedly killed by Virgil Sollozo and Bruno Tataglia, it weakens the Corleones heavily. It’s not so much that a vulnerable gap is left in the family’s defences – they were still quite capable – but the key offensive force of the family had been eradicated.
Eventually, long after Brasi’s death, Vito Corleone goes into semi-retirement, and acts as a mentor and advisor to his son Michael, who is now head of the family. And through scenes of Michael engaging in business or having family meetings, we see this character, Al Neri, at his side at almost all times.
Al Neri is not a major character at all in The Godfather films, he doesn’t even have any lines of dialogue in the first film. However, he is something of a dark horse, a fan favourite given the way he carries himself. Unlike Luca, who looks like he might eat you, Al Neri is classy, gentlemanly, quiet and mysterious and yet strikingly sharp when called upon. Interestingly, this character is considered by the Corleone’s to be a replacement for Lucai Brasi, he is the new Luca in a manner of speaking, the new personal enforcer and bodyguard of the new Don Corleone. In fact, in a deleted scene of The Godfather, when referencing Al Neri, vito Corleone says to his son Michael, “I think you found your Luca Brasi”. Let's take a look at the backstory of Al Neri.
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CineRanter - A couch potato's insignificant rage on modern film. I review movies, discuss film theories and explanations, and other cinema-related stuff. Sometimes I branch out to other mediums like books and comics.