Spaghetti Western
the european film review > eurocrime

Aka Poliziotti violenti (I), Wild Policemen (Int), MKS... 118 (Fr), Blutiger Schweiss (WG)
Giulio Scanni for Staff Professionisti Associati, Capitol International
Director : Michele Massimo Tarantini
Story : M. M. [Michele Massimo] Tarantini, Adriano Belli
Script : M. M. [Michele Massimo] Tarantini, Adriano Belli, Franco Ferrini, Sauro Scavolini
Music : Guido & Maurizio De Angelis
Cinematography : Giancarlo Ferrando {Technicolor}
Editor : Attilio Vincioni
Art director : Claudio Cinini
Original running time : 92mins
Italian takings : 154.000.000 lire
Shot at: R.P.A - Elios Film Studios
Cast: Henry Silva (Altieri), Antonio Sabato (Inspector Paolo Tosi), Silvia Dionisio (Anna), Ettore Manni (Vieri), Claudio Nicastro (the General), Daniele Dublino (a Lieutenant), Rosario Borelli (official in Turin), Benito Stefanelli (one of Anna's torturer's), Rudy Thomas [Thomas Rudy] (hood in leather trenchcoat), Calogero Caruana, Nicola D'Eramo, Clarisse Monaco, Rudy Reims, Christian Mori

Major Altieri (Henry Silva) is a talented officer with the unfortunate habit of getting up the noses of the army brass. To keep him quiet about a possible scandal (parachutes that fail to open!) he is promoted to an office job in 'The Ministry'. He soon meets and becomes close to an attractive young lady, Anna (Silvia Dionisio).

It's not a quiet life, however, for he starts investigating why new experimental automatic weapons (MK1-18s) are turning up in the hands of street hoodlums. Someone doesn't like this and he is badly beaten up - which brings him into contact with the athletic Inspector Tosi (Antonio Sabato), who has a thing against politicians; not least the extremely rich Senator Vieri (Ettore Manni). Despite initial hostility, they soon join forces to discover exactly who is stealing the guns from the military and just what the criminals they are being supplied to are planning to do with them…

'There's something wrong with this Goddamned city - it's full of violence…and I always seem to be in the middle of it!'

It's a hard life, being a cop's moll. Or at least it would seem to be from watching these Italian crime films. If there is one certainty amongst the shifting narrative sands, it is that the wife/girlfriend/child of your average detective is going to end up decidedly dead. Of course, this means that any ensuing vengeance is justified, thereby allowing our lone heroes to beat shit out of everyone and anyone who looks like they may have a criminal act in mind or, preferably, long hair and sideburns.

A rather standard entry, Crimebusters throws in all of the ingredients that we know and love from the genre - rogue cops, ugly villains, hordes of innocent bystanders being gunned down/run over/blown up - but never manages to totally convince. This is mainly due to some slack direction from Michelle Massimo Tarantini, more commonly associated with a stream of sexy comedies from the late seventies. He fills the running time with a succession of fistfights, car chases and gunplay, but none of it ever seems to really engage the attention. There are rudimentary attempts at incorporating a sense of style, but these often come off a rather strained and artificial amongst the general stodge.

If there is one good reason to seek out this film, it is the presence of the wonderful Henry Silva. Here he has a chance to play a sympathetic role - restrained by a limp and never removing his dirty old man's mac - as opposed to the bloodthirsty hood or hired killer he was more commonly called upon to portray. The Italians always had a knack for using people with striking faces, and - like Jack Palance - he was definitely the proud possessor of a visage that could cause freeze mercury. His taciturn performance is nicely contrasted with that of the energetic Antonio Sabato, who was always rather more successful at running, jumping and fighting than actually acting.

It has to be said that this is a particularly cynical outing. No opportunity to show the savage results of letting the street scum run riot is missed, with a body count that's impossible to keep track of and an incredibly nasty sexual assault scene that's guaranteed to make all except the most insensitive/jaded viewer squirm. There is also a sequence - familiar to all viewers of these films - in which a minor villain is incapacitated by our heroes and then left to weather an assault from loads of frightening old people in a park.

Reviewed by Matt Blake