A detective sick and tired of the rampant crime and violence in his city, and constantly at odds with his superiors, is finally kicked out of the department for a "questionable" shooting of... 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 »
Carlo Antonelli, an engineer from Genoa, gets mugged and decides to take justice into his own hands. At first the muggers seem to get the upper hand, but then he's helped by Tommy, a young robber who takes his side.
Just out of prison, ex-con Ugo Piazza meets his former employer, a psychopathic gangster Rocco who enjoys sick violence and torture. Both the gangsters and the police believe Ugo has hidden... See full summary »
Fernando Di Leo
Call me sick or call me sadist, but nothing makes me merrier than watching a raw and excessively violent Italian cop thriller from the 1970's! These so-called "Poliziotteschi" flicks simply have everything that avid cult fanatics could possibly be seeking for, and more! And also this "Italia A Mano Armato" (a.k.a. "A Special Cop in Action") features incredibly massive doses of hard-boiled action, nail-biting suspense, dazzling car chases (and rooftop chases), badass characters, nasty plot twists, controversial political/social themes, gritty atmospheres and a sizzling soundtrack. Director Franco Martinelli is perhaps not the most prolific name in this genre, but he is clearly playing in the same league as the genuine experts (Umberto Lenzi, Stelvio Massi, Fernando Di Leo ) in terms of quality and sheer entertainment. In good old Poliziotteschi tradition, there isn't much of a stable plot, but the pacing moves forward like a derailed train and something new & exciting happens approximately every one and a half minutes. Maurizio "Mustache" Merli returns for the third and final time as commissioner Betti, the unorthodox and relentless copper with fists of steel and an allergy for political injustice. Betti is up to his neck in crime scenes again, including violent bank robberies, heroin smuggling and most repugnant of all the cowardly kidnapping of six defenseless school children in exchange for a giant ransom. Betti is convinced that all the separate crimes lead back to one major gangster kingpin, namely the sly Albertelli. But Albertelli is a widely respected businessman and uses all his political power and influence to keep Betti out of his way. You needn't look for style or visual elegance in this type of cinema, as this certainly isn't similar to the works of contemporary Italian A-list directors like Fredrico Fellini or Michelangelo Antonioni. The Poliziotteschi films were initially inspired by Hollywood blockbusters like "Dirty Harry" and "The French Connection", but they gradually evolved into a fully unique genre that also perfectly illustrated the depressing social and economic climate in Italy at that time. You'll notice here in this film as well that the tone and atmosphere are continuously grim, the good guys embittered and even a happy ending is out of the question. The performances are terrific, with Merli as the unstoppably fit copper. You can even throw him out of a speeding car or lock him up in a prison amidst hundreds of personal enemies, and still he never gives up! Cult deity John Saxon is fabulous as the slimy and sardonic villain Albertelli. He only appears on screen after half an hour, but he plays an essential part in the outrageous climax. Sadly enough there's always a shortage of strong women in these movies. The only noteworthy females here are Merli's insignificant love interest and a squealing rape victim. The extended car chase forms the highlight of sheer adrenaline (look out for the little black car that gets rammed into the river) and the shootout in the harbor is unforgettable as well. My hat off to the stuntmen and camera operators that literally risked their lives in order to provide this cult gem with genuine action sequences, shot from imaginative angles and viewpoints.
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