Sunday, November 22, 2009

Rome Armed to the Teeth (1976, Umberto Lenzi)

I love Italian crime films. They are some of the most brutal, action-packed, violent (not to mention misogynistic) films you will find. Though I'm not a huge fan of misogyny, when used carefully it helps the audience understand the character better - whether it's the villain or the cop! Rome Armed to the Teeth is a perfect example of this Italian crime genre and Maurizio Merli's Leonardo Tanzi the quintessential tough cop. He will do anything to get the bad guy...I mean anything!

A gang of young crooks are out terrorizing the citizens of Rome. Inspector Leonardo Tanzi (Maurizio Merli) is outraged when two of the crooks he catches are let go, partially because of his psychologist girlfriend who thinks that the young criminals are just misunderstood. After getting a lead that Vincenzo Moretto aka The Hunchback (Tomas Milian) is a key suspect in the current crime wave, Tanzi plants drugs in his car to bring him in for questioning. Moretto is let go and Tanzi is moved from the streets to desk duty. Of course Tanzi is no quitter and keeps a low profile while continuing to kick all kinds of criminal ass.

Rome Armed to the Teeth is one of my favorite Italian crime films. It really does have everything that makes the genre so great. Merli is perfect as the brutal Tanzi, taking no shit from anyone, even mouthing off to his boss (I don't recommend this, BTW). He kicks people in the balls, smashes their heads in pinball machines and does this thing where he slaps people with the force of a punch. It's amazing. Tomas Milian is also perfect here in one of his best roles as 'Il Gobbo' (Italian for Hunchback). Milian has played some brutal characters but here he is comical, brutal, disgusting and scary. The scene where he explains how he retrieved a bullet from his crap after Tanzi forces him to swallow it is something else. Anyway, I highly recommend this film.

Pssst....Grindhouse Releasing......when the fuck are you going to release this already? You've had a trailer (under the title The Tough Ones) floating around for like a million years.


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