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The late Maurizio Merli was a staple in many excellent Italian crime films of the 1970's, reminding me at times of both Franco Nero and Chuck Norris (!!!). FEARLESS (as the US video of this is known) is an exciting Italian police film, largely shot in Austria (which looks beautiful!), with Merli as a low-rent private investigator and former cop who is sent to Austria on a job, and while there sees a number of seemingly unrelated coincidences that lead him into a strange web of corruption and decadence. But at the forty-minute point, the film enters a new sphere with the arrival of JOAN COLLINS, looking incredibly sexy, doing a striptease in a club, and giving the film a wonderful shot in the arm. This film was made right before her "comeback" with the films THE STUD and THE BITCH, based on literary works by her sister Jackie. I've always admired Ms. Collins and the way she took charge of her career and showed the world how sexy an over-35 lady can be. The crime elements of the film work well, Merli is exciting and witty (as he usually was), and Joan Collins is a seductive femme-fat ale in a role that her fans simply must see. I've watched this film a number of times over the years, and I can't recommend it highly enough...an exciting 70's Italian crime film with the added attraction of Joan Collins at the height of her powers is a dream come true for this viewer!
This film slots into the Italian 'Polizi' genre, although it's
something of a black sheep as the focus is not on police officers or
police procedure. The film is still similar to other genre entries,
however, and although the lead character is a private detective; he's
not really far away from being a police officer. Fearless is directed
by Stelvio Massi who previously made the disappointing Polizi flick
Emergency Squad with Tomas Milian and went on to make the decent Convoy
Busters with the star of this film; Maurizio Merli. The plot in this
one focuses on Merli's private detective character who is put on the
trail of a missing girl in Austria. After the investigation goes pear
shaped, he finds himself on another case; this time revolving around a
dead girl and by chance realises that the two are connected. His
investigation leads him into the underworld of Austria which is
inhabited by several very shady characters and he soon discovers links
between the girls he's investigating and a prostitution racket.
The biggest draw of Fearless is undoubtedly the presence of the great Maurizio Merli; he may be just slightly ridiculous, but he has a great screen presence and while most of his screen roles are more than a little bit similar; in this film, he actually gets a chance to show that he has some range and overall it's one of the best performances I've seen from him. The film also stars Joan Collins in her only Polizi flick role as a seductive femme fatale. She looks good and fits into the role well, although it's disappointing that she obviously refused to do a nude scene and the edited nude sequence towards the end is not convincing. The plot itself moves at a steady pace and while it does get a little muddled and hard to follow at times; it manages to remain entertaining throughout, which is to its credit. The film doesn't completely take itself seriously either, and there's plenty of comedy thrown in - particularly during the first half of the film, which actually creates a bit of an odd mood when the film turns darker later on. Fearless is topped off by an excellent score and overall this is a well done and entertaining Italian thriller.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Maurizio Merli plays a small-time private detective hired to find a
missing girl. His hunt leads him to Austria and the case of a dead girl
that he's sure is connected to the girl he's looking for. He learns
that the girls were involved with a gang dealing in child prostitution.
Merli has to get act fast if he's to save the life of the girl he's
The more I see of Maurizio Merli, the more I enjoy his performances. After my first experiences with him, I saw Merli as little more than a pretty-boy, Franco Nero wannabe. But recently, I've begun to see he's got a lot to offer of his own. He's as good in the action scenes as Nero and probably better at the more comedic moments. He shows both in Fatal Charm. Whether it's taking out the bad guys or pulling a scam on the local police, he's got real screen presence and a definite charm.
Fatal Charm (aka Fearless, aka Poliziotto senza paura, aka Magnum Cop) could have been so much better had the plot not been so muddled and confusing. Part of it may be due to the dubbing, but the film definitely goes off in tangents that would have been best left alone. It seems to take forever for Merli to get to the bottom of things. For example, there's a whole series of scenes with Merli playing up his operations to an Austrian detective. It's pointless and doesn't really work. A tighter script would have served Fatal Charm well.
My copy of Fatal Charm gives top billing to Joan Collins. And while her scenes are memorable (she gets naked for God's sake), she only has about 15 minutes of screen time. I can't believe I'm saying this, but more Joan would have also been a plus for the film.
"Magnum Cop" came with the title "Fearless Fuzz" in the print I
Maurizio Merli is an ex-cop turned private eye. He deals with his work in a fairly humorous way, sometimes making the joke on himself. But as the story proceeds, it becomes darker and enters noir territory as he uncovers an outfit engaged in getting teenage and younger girls into prostitution in Vienna, where most of the story occurs and whose locations add to the film. Merli makes as if he's a cop so that he can work with Gastone Moschin. The latter appeared in Godfather 2 as Fanucci, the don in the white suit whom De Niro shoots.
Merli has been asked to locate a kidnapped daughter of an older wealthy man. This takes him to a ritzy hotel where Joan Collins does a strip tease and briefly reveals herself waist up. Later in the movie, she goes nude again. But really it's her ability to portray a strong, independent, classy woman who can be both bitchy and sexually willing that's mainly on display. Her presence adds quite a lot to this movie.
It's pretty much a detective story with Merli running into some people who mean business and deliver him quite a beating. With a few twists as part of the story, the overall result is a solid poliziottescho.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Franco Nero look-alike actor Maurizio Merli stars as an agile private eye in "Emergency Squad" director Stelvio Massi's "Magnum Cop" with Joan Collins. Although Merli did his share of Italian 'Polizi' films as a "Dirty Harry" style inspector, he plays an ordinary gumshoe, Walter 'Wally' Spada, in this yarn about betrayal and blackmail. Somebody is running a blackmail and prostitution ring and Joan Collins has a hand in it. She shows up 41 minutes into the action when our hero heads off to Vienna to do his sleuthing. Collins works in a night club as a stripper and she bares all. She is shown nude in the final quarter-hour. Nothing memorable but nimble enough to be distracting. There is nothing really cool here. You could go your entire life without watching this atmospheric thriller and not feel like you have missed anything. Merli is his usual charismatic self. Spaghetti western villain Franco Ressel plays a mustached coroner in Vienna who is in league with Collins. Predictably, complications ensue, one involving a wealthy businessman whose daughter has been kidnapped and held for $ 5-million ransom.
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