When a shipment of heroin disappears between Italy and New York, a small-time pimp in Milan is framed for the theft. Two professional hitmen are dispatched from New York to find him, but ... See full summary »
Luigi Maietto (Chinaman) escapes from prison he then orders two henchman to murder the inspector whose testimonal led to his being jailed. Inspector Tanzi is left for dead but lives. The ... See full summary »
An Italian official's wife is kidnapped, and the kidnappers demand that a notorious prisoner be released in order for the man to get his wife back. He gets the man released--but then ... See full summary »
Maurizio Merli plays the part of an journalist investigating the Mafia, and Hugo Stiglitz is his photographer sidekick. Despite a number of fights, car chases and explosions, for the first ... See full summary »
This is a low-grade poliziottesco, the second I've watched from former cinematographer Massi and a much inferior product to the character-driven EMERGENCY SQUAD (1974). In fact, as the title itself suggests, the film is virtually a non-stop succession of car chases filled with spectacular (but often unbelievable) stuntwork staged by the ubiquitous Remy Julienne. Its other major flaw is the miscasting of lead Maurizio Merli as a speed-crazy rookie cop(!), a role better suited to Giuliano Gemma (who had actually played a racing-car driver in Luciano Ercoli's THE MAGNIFICENT DARE DEVIL ) or even Luc Merenda. Amusingly, to give us the impression that the hero is brash and inexperienced, Merli simply had his trademark moustache shaved off!; while his essential woodenness was usually offset by a genuinely authoritative/tough presence and street-smart attitude, here, he comes across as not merely glib but dumb as well! For the record, according to the "Stracult" guide, HIGHWAY RACER is a favorite of both Massi and Merli go figure!
The majority of the plot, if so it can be called, revolves around the obsessive manhunt by Merli's ageing superior (a legendary iconoclast himself in the old days!) for a notorious criminal/ace driver emanating from Nice. After some initial aggravation between Merli and the Chief (the hero even causes the death of his perennially scared-shitless partner when their inadequately-empowered police car overturns during a chase), the old man is quick to realize that if he's to fight "Il Nizzardo" tooth and nail, Merli's the one to do it cue the young cop's intensive training to maneuver the revved-up engine on the road and other even more treacherous terrain. Merli's also given an obligatory romance, supplied by lovely "Euro-Cult" starlet Lilli Carati but her part is so underwritten as to be almost an afterthought! Incidentally, the hero's eventually made to infiltrate the villain's gang but he's unwittingly exposed by the girl herself prior to their next hit. By now, Merli's so intent on testing his acquired skills with those of the criminal that he even lets the latter go when cornered instead of arresting him only for the two to meet up for a duel-to-the-death with their cars in a canyon!
A couple other things: the main riff from Heavy Rock band Iron Butterfly's signature tune "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida" is ever so subtly (but recognizably) incorporated into Stelvio Cipriani's score towards the end of the film!; also, when I discovered that among the U.S. titles attached to this one is CONVOY BUSTERS, I mistakenly thought it had been released as a "Special Edition" by No Shame. However, when I went to check for reviews of that particular DVD, I realized that the original title of the film in question was UN POLIZIOTTO SCOMODO, made in 1978 albeit re-uniting the same lead and director! Confused? (Actually, it's much the same thing that went on with two separate gialli called at one time or another PARANOIA, both of which were directed by Umberto Lenzi and starred Carroll Baker.)
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