Monday, August 31, 2009


Original Title: Napoli violenta
Year: 1976
Director: Umberto Lenzi
Writer: Vincenzo Mannino
Genre: Polizia

imdb synopsis:
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 transferred to Napoli for a "questionable" shooting of a vicious criminal being a pain in the ass? In Napoli, Betti brings his hard, vigilante style justice to an ongoing organized crime problem in the city.

This is the second appearance of the Inspector Betti character, the first being 1975's Violent Rome that I reviewed previously. After watching these two films back to back, I have to say it is evident from this production at least, that Lenzi had a better grasp of what works with this genre.

The film opens strong as did Violent Rome, this time a little more stylish with some cool shots of a hood ornament traveling through Naples along with eyes in the rear view window. As soon as Betti shows up in the first scene, he is almost run over by a car, and the local crime boss says to him from across the street ""Naples is a dangerous city... if you don't watch your step." Good stuff.

Unlike Violent Rome, this film sticks to it's guns and brings the violence, chases and action that we expect from these films. It is not really weighed down by any character development much, one problem I had with Violent Rome, but we don't really need it.

The characters are interesting enough with their limited dimensions - as I said previously, black and white is safe yet effective for me for a polizia cast. Even the criminals try to dick one another over this time (watch for the diamond ring at the home of the fence.) And Betti is unforgiving in his style... even at one point providing the Chief in Napoli his resignation telling him to keep it until he feels Betti has gone too far with his police brutality. Awesome!

Merli reprises his role as Betti and does a nice, only slightly hammy job - he's exactly the same as before. Apparently there was only a few months between Roma and Napoli, so I suppose he didn't even have long to forget. Ah those golden locks and woolly worm on his lip. How can you not love him?

We get a fun, snide John Saxon here as well, playing financier Francesco Capuano who gets tied up in Betti's plans to snag the crime boss with the awesome name, The Commandante, played by Barry Sullivan. John Saxon is entertaining and really his normal self, and Sullivan's Commandante is calm and calculated even when he is acting quite brutally.

The setting is done right again with claustrophobic alleyways, awesome fluffy hair and staches everywhere, beat up cars, and more grit and dirt and construction.

The story stays fast paced (literally!) and interesting. There are some genuinely exciting parts here, some great chases and some nice stunts. Lenzi does not fuck around with this flick!

I would recommend you pick this up, especially if you are into the genre.

8 out of 10

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