Sunday, May 10, 2009
Cop in Blue Jeans (1976, Bruno Corbucci)
Continuing on with the Poliziotteschi reviews is a film that is actually the first in a long series of films featuring undercover cop Nico Giraldi. Directed by Bruno Corbucci (Django director Sergio's brother) and portrayed by Tomas Milian, Squadra Antiscippo (aka Cop in Blue Jeans) introduced us to the ex-crook turned cop Giraldi. From what I've read on this series, it seems that the later films turn more comedic but Cop in Blue Jeans is a great example of a prime Poliziotteschi.
Milian plays Nico Giraldi, an undercover cop who never takes his hat off (perhaps he is going bald or something, I'm not sure) even when making whoopie. He takes the "undercover" dress code of his hero Serpico (from the Al Pacino film) as pretty much a way of life, helping him infiltrate crime rings. After a group of thieves accidentally steals $5 million from crime boss Norman Shelley (Jack Palance), all hell breaks loose and it is up to Giraldi to go undercover and enforce justice.
At first, Cop in Blue Jeans seems like a Serpico ripoff, until you see Giraldi's apartment which is littered with posters of Serpico. He even has a pet mouse named Serpico. I'm not sure if the producers decided it would be better to make Giraldi's character an open fan of Serpico than a blatant ripoff (perhaps to avoid any lawsuits). For those of you who have seen Serpico and know of its status as a classic 70's cop film, I'll be honest and say that I actually liked Cop in Blue Jeans better. Cop in Blue Jeans was pretty much non-stop action with Milian's chameleonic acting expertise guiding us through the life of this offbeat character. One thing that blew me away about this film is the stuntwork, particularly the motorcycle stunts. Giraldi manages to make his motorcycle do next to impossible jumps and thinks nothing of riding up stairs or off rooftops. The editing was surprisingly well too. It's obvious that there is no way that Milian would be doing those stunts but there wasn't a single time when I could tell it wasn't him. The film also has its comedic moments, the best of which is when Giraldi masquerades as a bitch-slappin' pimp. Overall, a very enjoyable, action-packed film.