8 March 2003 | Blaise_B
Coolest plot in an Italian Dirt Harry rip-off!
So far I've seen five of these 70's Italian crime thrillers, 3 of them being straight up, Don Siegel and William Friedkin-influenced "cop on the edge with an axe to grind" Dirty Harry rip-offs. Out of those three, all of which are great, this has got to be the one with the coolest story-line (the other two being "High Crime" and "Violent Naples," to give you an idea of the standard here). While it is neither perfect nor entirely realistic, it is action-packed, bloody and riveting, a cocktail of elements common to the genre. And this particular "cop-on-the-edge," played by Luc Merenda, is so on-the-edge that he "poses" as a pimp muscling in on prostitution rackets with the facility of an old pro, gets innocent bystanders killed without hardly batting an eye, and cold-bloodedly executes surrendering criminals in front of the entire police department!
While he lacks quite the level of charisma and intensity delivered by Franco Nero or Maurizio Merli, Merenda holds his own. The primary reason he is able to do so here (the two secondary are Sergio Martino's competence in directing pulse-pounding action and the fact that the extremity I've come to expect from these films is as present here as anywhere) is the sucker-punch, no, make that downright subversive plot-line. Without giving too much away, suffice it to say that what appears to be shaping up into a slanted portrayal of fanatical domestic terrorists (not that groups like the Red Brigade need any slanting to look bad, just that dishonesty bugs me even if it's on the right side) proves later to be something entirely different. The ending of this film, while it would be typical in another context, blew me away.
To top it off, you've got a killer score by the mad De Angelis brothers (if you've seen "Keoma," note that it helps that the only song with words isn't translated into English), and the only fatal car crash I've ever seen in an action movie where the car doesn't inexplicably burst into flames. Three cheers for this gleefully brutal mayhem-fest with the added plus of an intelligent plot!