Colt 38 Special Squad

Director:  Massimo Dallamano
Year:  1976
Rating: 7.5

Country: Italy

This feels like it is fired from a shotgun right from the start and goes for 30 minutes before it takes a breath. Tough and hard-hitting like a battering ram. So is  Marcel Bozzuffi as Inspector Vanni who bulls ahead in his bullet-headed grim manner in his mission to kill the bad guys. This Italian policier (poliziesco) never lets up - not even when Vanni's wife is killed - give her three minutes of grief and get back to the job. I thought this was terrific - it just cuts straight to the bone - paced like a bat out of hell. It has no time for personal stories - for character development - they are cops - they have to capture a madman and his crew who are blowing up Turin.

The director's name was very familiar to me but I wasn't sure why until I looked. Massimo Dallamano has only directed one other film that I have heard of - What Have You Done to Solange - but it turns out he was the cinematographer for A Fistful of Dollars and For a Few Dollars more. He isn't credited with that job on this film - that goes to Gabor Pagany - but I would have to guess that Dallamano set up the shots. The camera work is kinetic and thrilling - through a number of chases in cars, motorcycles and on foot - and in one scene where the cops have broken into this mansion and they are chasing after a man with a machine gun. The camera tracking up stairs and around corners is suspenseful and brilliant.

There isn't much to the story - a crook named Marseilles has been a thorn in Vanni's side for years and killed his wife - but now he has upped the ante by stealing a large amount of dynamite and placing it around the city with the capability of remotely blowing it up. He wants money of course. Vianni is in charge of the Special Squad - four tough ass guys equipped with Colt 38's and motorcycles - not exactly designated as License to Kill but given license to go beyond the rules. After the slam bang beginning it settles down to police work - find out where he is - through the beautiful Sandra (Carole André) if possible.  Or informers who come to bad ends. Bombs begin going off. Carnage results. Time is running out.

Sadly, Dallamano was to die in a car crash soon after this film was finished. Oh, and if you thought that singer in the nightclub looked an awful lot like Grace Jones, that is because it was. Very early in her career.