Sunday, August 30, 2009


Does anyone have a higher resolution file for this poster?

A.K.A.: Roma violenta
Year: 1975
Director: Marino Girolami
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 for a "questionable" shooting of a vicious criminal. However, he is soon approached by a representative for a group of citizens who themselves are fed up with what they see as criminals going unpunished, and they make him an offer he may very well not refuse.

This is the first appearance of the Inspector Betti character. He is most definitely a ripoff take of Dirty Harry or something of the sort, but Merli is entertaining in this role regardless. Like all good Italian tough-man cops from the 1970s, he is sporting a whopper of a stache. It really completes the scowl I think. His teeth just look too good peeking out from underneath.

The film opens with a bang as we see a bus robbery in progress. I really liked the use of freeze frame here as the opening credits roll, and I'm always a fan of the font Clarendon! It's good when a movie such as this starts off strong with what we are here to see... the action, the guns, the screaming...

Cop films made in the 70s have a gritty feel that I love. Dirty Harry, French Connection, ones like that... and of course the Italian films like this. The old cars, the facial hair, even the old film stock that has aged adds to the effect. I'm sure I'm also not alone in finding something at the same time entertaining and calming about the overdubbed clicky feet sound effects. Weird?

In this film in particular, the streets of Rome give a similar feel. They are wet and/or dirty... cramped... just a nice setting to get across the intended mood.

Oh, and the footsteps are clicky!

The direction of the film is straight-forward. The plot moves forward and is never overly complicated. Keeping it simple for the most part helps I think, because when Girolami is into his action sequences, we definitely are treated; Fist fights, car chases (there is an extended one that is a lot of fun!), gun battles. Multiple camera angles (inside, outside, on the ground!) are used around cars as we get a sense of confusion and speed.

It's crazy seeing how the tires flex under the sharp turns!

Can't do THIS in an American car!

But there are directorial, writing, or maybe even editing choices made that keep this one from being great.

The passage of time is handled awkwardly, as we have to constantly look for dialogue cues to know when time elapsed... days go by and events happen and we're given something like "So, have you thought about things for the past two days?" Also, the film strayed a bit from it's strong points (the action) and tried to have the human relationship between Betti and a fellow officer. The relationship was not developed well enough to warrant as much time as was spent on it. It just came off as forced.

I liked the acting for what it was. I don't go into this type of film expecting Oscar-worthy performances. In a way I'm expecting hyperbole. I want my characters a little over the top while still being believable. Merli fits the role well - he takes matters into his own hands and is quite belligerent toward his superior officers. He throws punches and grits his teeth behind his beaitiful stache. The criminals are nasty and will gun down civilians to make their get away. When the characters are not in their quiet scenes, they do quite well.

It's not the best, but I had a lot of fun with this one. Like I said, it's not perfect in the down times, but ups the sleaze factor a little to make up for it - quite a bit of violence against women for instance.

I would definitely recommend seeing it, especially if you are a fan of Maurizio Merli or want to see everything with the Betti character.

6.25 out of 10

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