Director: Umberto Lenzi
Original Title: Roma a Mano Armata
Umberto Lenzi, the legendary director of Cannibal Ferox, kicked off the Italian police film craze with this hyper-kinetic, ultra-violent, brain-blasting action thriller. Maurizio Meril stars as an Italian Dirty Harry punching and shooting his way through the sleazy drug, sex and crime infested cesspool of mid-’70s Rome, on the trail of a sadistic, machine gun-toting hunchback, played by Tomas Milian (star of The Big Gundown).
I just love this, the fantastic 1970’s scenary in Italy. Small cars and scooters in high speed chases, old school bankrobbery, a rogue cop who bitch-slaps every single person he meets, machine guns that never run out of bullets, a hunchback that has the worst aim when shooting etc. etc. Maurizio Meril is awesome as the police with no rules.
Director Umberto Lenzi was offered a script titled Roma ha un segreto (Rome Has a Secret), a spy story set in the popular Roman district Trastevere. Lenzi felt that the script made no sense and trashed the script. He then asked the producer to make a film about the violence that was surrounding Rome at the time. Within a week, Lenzi improvised a script
When Terry Levene distributed this film in the late 1970s, he replaced a few of the establishing shots with those of American locations. For an establishing shot of the Rome youth center where Tanzi meets Stefano, Levine used a shot of the Manhattan nightclub “Fascination”. Strangely enough, in the later Umberto Lenzi film Da Corleone a Brooklyn (1979) (which also starred Maurizio Merli as an Italian policeman), Merli drives by the club “Fascination” after he arrives in New York.
The Tough Ones was released on February 25, 1976 in Italy, where it was distributed by Medusa Distribuzione. In the United States, the film was re-titled Brutal Justice and was released on the grindhouse circuit by Aquarius Releasing. For this version, Aquarius founder Terry Levene was responsible for replacing several establishing shots in the film with English-language counterparts filmed around New York City. A second version, also released on VHS, was released by Aquarius under the title Assault with a Deadly Weapon, which featured a new title sequence featuring a skull-faced police officer and credits for non-existent cast and crew members. Film historian Roberto Curti criticized the latter version for being “badly-cut”.
I watched the German hardbox version on DVD. And the picture quality was really, really good. But I have to get the blu-ray version now from Grindhouse releasing.
Down below you find a Collection of Italian Eurocrime trailers. A work in progress.
Down below you find a Collection of Italian Eurocrime movies. But beware that several of them aren’t English friendly. This is a work in progress.
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