In the 1970's, it wasn't uncommon for Italian B-movies to shoot a few exteriors in New York City but quite rare for the poliziotteschi genre. Sure there's a few films like STREET PEOPLE, BLAZING MAGNUMS, and STATELINE MOTEL but for the most part tried to play themselves off (unsuccessfully) as American movies.
As Umberto Lenzi's only cross-pond crime movie excursion and only teaming with famous Neapolitan crooner Mario Merola, this film stands out for several reasons. One, it's odd to see a eurocrime movie starring Maurizio Merli so focused on plot and characters. From start to finish, there's a single narrative thrust and tension running high throughout and even some personal investment on whether the characters live, die, or finally face sweet justice for their transgressions.
Secondly, it's almost more of a travelogue than an action movie. The film has no less than 4 sequences where characters sit in a car and look around while intercutting to a lot of filler footage of street scenes filmed from a moving car. While this sort of thing usually drags a B-movie down, it oddly fits in with the gritty, trashy feeling this film evokes from the sloppy cinematography and chaotic and funky score by Franco Micalizzi. You can either look at it as a more bizarre, improvised version of a Lenzi movie or a really polished version of an Alfonso Brescia-helmed scungy crime drama.
That said, there's plenty about this movie that really doesn't make sense (unless something was lost in translation). Why does Merli have to escort his witness by rail and car from Palermo all the way to Rome first in order to fly to New York? Surely in 1979 there had to be at least a few direct flights from Palermo to New York, or at least to Rome? Well, if they'd have just hopped on a plane at the start, it wouldn't have been the same movie. However I'd wager that it could only have been better as the film really picks up the most once it plops macho Italian crimefighter Maurizio Merli on American shores in the snowy, garbage-strewn, hoodlum-infested streets of 70's NYC.