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Michele Massimo Tarantini
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Heather Paige Cohn,
Commissioner Leonard Mann sets his sights on John Steiner and the bigwig, Chris Avram
"The criminals attack. The police respond" is quite a good poliziottescho. It has no chases and no extended shootouts, although there are several scenes with gunplay. It's more of a detective and crime story than one oriented toward lots of action. It's a good story, uplifted by solid performances, and it will hold the interest of those who like crime stories.
Leonard Mann is a youngish commissioner of police, which means a plain clothes detective. The story's setup includes a clever jewel robbery done by a gang led by John Steiner. Steiner is excellent in the part, as he is excellent in other such parts. Steiner's gang is raising the crime rate, and Mann is concerned. He calls in Ettore Manni, a former cop who was expelled for undue force, to help him. Manni is another actor in these movies who always more than pulls his weight.
Steiner's part is extensive, showing his gang's intimidation tactics on night club owners. Steiner is not the big boss, however. The big boss is the clean silver-haired Prof. Salviati (Chris Avram). He stays above the fray and doesn't mix with the hoods unless he has to. The story opens with Avram personally bumping off three other gang leaders after treating them to a big dinner. Steiner's ambition will have to be dealt with by Avram or vice versa.
Manni fills in Mann on his suspicions, lacking in proof, that Salviati is the head man, the "Prince". We then have Mann working creatively on two tracks, aiming at Steiner on one track and Avram on the other.
Along the way, Mann becomes involved with the pretty Maria Omaggio, who is wheelchair bound. She lives in a villa of Avram's because her father, a caretaker, worked for Avram and committed suicide, or so the official records say. Manni earlier, before being thrown off the force, had found that the house in which the three men had been killed was rented by the caretaker.
We learn most all of this early in the film. The rest of the film is taken up with the activities of Mann, Steiner and his gang, Avram, and Omaggio with Manni also coming in at times.
The director, Mario Caiano, was very experienced in many genres. As for poliziotteschi, he had also recently directed "Calling all police cars" and "Milano violenta". Subsequently, he did "Napoli spara!"
Recommended as a solid no nonsense poliziottescho.
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