A lesser outing for Maurizio Merli, and the genre.
I'm a big fan of the Italian Polizi flicks, and for me; having made some of the most entertaining films in the genre, Maurizio Merli is much more than just a Franco Nero clone...but despite the title similarity to the great French-Italian co-production Fear Over the City, Fear in the City is unfortunately a lesser example of the genre. The entire genre owes itself to Don Siegel's masterpiece Dirty Harry; although some of the films in it have taken some creative licence and made something a bit different out of it; that is not the case with this film. The film focuses on Murri; the token maverick cop. He is called in (reluctantly) after a bunch of criminals pull off a successful prison break and spend the night picking off various informers and people they don't like. Murri investigates; hooking up with one of the criminal's nieces along the way. He uses his own methods; which mostly involve breaking all the rules, and thus comes under a lot of scrutiny from his superiors who don't take too kindly to the cop's way of working.
The main problem with this film is undoubtedly the pacing; as we skip from one action scene to the next without much substance in between. Of course, it's the action scenes that make this genre what it is; but the more successful films in it generally have something else to like, and this one doesn't. Maurizio Merli makes a likable lead as ever and it's not hard to see why he so often gets cast in these films as the roles suit him like a glove; but even he doesn't have enough to make Fear in the City a success. Anyone who has seen more than a handful of these films will have seen everything in this one before and not even the action scenes are anything to write home about; although there is an amusing motorcycle chase midway through the film which is well done. This is one the lesser known Polizi flicks outside of Italy and I'm not really surprised about that because there are so many better ones. Overall, I could perhaps recommend this film to hardcore fans of this sort of stuff; but everyone else would do well to not bother with this film.
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