Tuesday, April 12, 2011
The Violent Professionals (1973) - The Grindhouse Experience Chapter 9
The crime and gangster film was a major player in the international film market in the 1970s with entries from all over the world flooding the market. Audiences worldwide loved to see variations on the mob, mafia, and yakuza movies in violent ways. Sergio Martino had a few entries into the genre among THE VIOLENT PROFESSIONALS including Gambling City.
When policeman Giorgio (Luc Merenda, Hostel 2) is suspended for shooting and killing a pair of train prisoners who escaped in a spree of murders he is relocated to Milan and witnesses the death of his Police Chief and is hell bent on revenge. Giorgio goes undercover and rises through the ranks of Italian crime to become the driver for the mob as he keeps his cover to allow his vengeance to take down the crime rings of the city that claimed the life of a respected policeman (Silvano Tranquilli of Black Belly of the Tarantula, So Sweet So Dead).
From start to finish the film is very well paced. After an extremely violent and gun-ho opening 20 minutes the movie never quite reaches that level of violence again however the story and action more than makes up for it. Plenty of shoot outs, car chases and fights to keep one invested in the story which isn't groundbreaking but is capable of carrying the movie. The acting and writing is what someone would expect from an Italian crime film of the 70s, spotty but acceptable and at times even good. The soundtrack is classic for the period and will have you humming along each time a new track kicks in. Sergio Martino is best known for his ventures into the giallo, cannibal and horror fields but this crime film, much like his western Mannaja is a welcome change of pace for him. He is far from perfection but as far as this reviewer goes, his name is usually enough to give a film a fighting chance.
THE VIOLENT PROFESSIONALS has enough entertainment to satisfy someone that would enjoy bullshit like The Fast And The Furious and enough story for someone that enjoys Martino's giallo The Strange Vice Of Mrs. Wardh (which may be Martino's finest effort). Its not perfect but is more than worthy of mention when speaking of the Italo-Crime genre (and damn, does it have some fine car chases).
On a quick note- The transfer again is from a 3rd or 4th generation VHS with tracking problems, popping and hissing during the audio and an extremely unnatural letter boxed presentation but the movie was still good enough to not worry too much about it. This set proves to be the smelliest shit I've ever come across with presentation in mind. Since the set continues to be awful in its presentation of the movies, I won't even take up your time to express my thoughts on it unless it surprises me and is somehow good. So if I don't mention the transfer or overall quality of the print its because it is awful.