A SPECIAL COP IN ACTION (Marino Girolami, 1976) **
The Italians were second to none in virtually inventing new sub-genres by subverting to their own terms the conventions of classic Hollywood cinema; thus, after the Peplum (Epics), Gothic (Horror), Spaghetti (Westerns) and Giallo (Thriller), the 1970s ushered in the era of the Poliziotteschi which was basically an Italian version of DIRTY HARRY (1971) - although, to be fair to them, the seeds of the genre had been sown a few years earlier. Astonishingly there were practically innumerable similar movies made between 1966-80, a phenomenon which can easily be attributable to Italy's tumultuous political climate rife with corruption and kidnappings which marked the 1970s. Admittedly, I used to be very skeptical about the worthiness of these films (something which held true for the mainstream Italian film industry itself at the time) but having now gotten a fair share of them under my belt, I have to say that I've changed my stance somewhat.
This is the final entry - following VIOLENT ROME (1975) and VIOLENT NAPLES (1976) - in the "Commissario Betti" trilogy, with Maurizio Merli (the poor man's Franco Nero) gnashing his teeth throughout the film at untouchable "honest" businessman John Saxon; here, the hero even shares an unconvincing romance with the sister of a kidnapped child. While it certainly features plenty of action, ensuring an unrelenting pace and occasional excitement (though I would say that, ultimately, it provides one chase too many!), the film is nothing really special - the English title notwithstanding - and, worse, virtually interchangeable with any other of its ilk...apart from the unexpected downbeat ending which, apparently, was a deliberate act on the part of director Girolami (who here actually uses the pseudonym Franco Martinelli!) because he had been bypassed for the second installment; not having watched the first entry in the series, I can't comment on its quality but VIOLENT NAPLES
directed by the more highly-profiled Umberto Lenzi - is certainly
superior to the third!!
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