Sergio Martino's 1973 poliziotteschi The Violent Professionals aka Milano Trema - La Polizia Vuole Giustizia doesn't exactly reinvent the wheel, but it's one of the better examples of an overpopulated genre, with Luc Merenda playing the typical shoot-first-so-you-don't-have-to-ask-questions-later maverick cop after the gang that killed his boss and several innocent bystanders. Like I said, it doesn't exactly reinvent the wheel, but it does make sure it keeps turning fairly efficiently for 104 minutes. It's not as good as its enthusiastic cult reputation implies, not least because the big twist about the motive behind a series of gratuitously violent bank robberies isn't exactly surprising (like the Red Brigades of the day, the robbers are more interested in spreading chaos than getting rich), but it does get extra points for being one of the few films where, when a car crashes over a hill, it doesn't explode in a ball of fire on the way down. There's also a great spin on the omnipresent car-driving-through-stacks-of-empty-crates shot in one chase scene by having Merenda's car drive through stacks of burning crates that was so popular the footage was reused in at least two other movies (Milano Odia: La Polizia Non Può Sparare and Roma a Mano Armata). Richard Conte is the contractually obligatory American co-star, acquitting himself well despite some hilariously obvious doubling in a fight scene, Tinto Brass regular Martine Brochard makes an attractive junkie and there's a catchy De Angelis brothers score.
Vipco's 2.35:1 widescreen transfer isn't great - the film could certainly do with remastering - but it's for the most part acceptable (though one night scene in a car suffers quite badly). Unfortunately it only offers the dubbed English soundtrack and there are no relevant extras as such - a few frame grabs masquerading as a stills gallery, some filmographies and trailers for Cannibal Holocaust, The Mountain of the Cannibal God, Psychic Killer and Shogun Assassin.
Enzo G. Castellari's The Big Racket one-ups it by shooting its car somersaulting down a hill sequence from the inside the car, with a visibly uncomfortable Fabio Testi obviously thanking God he remembered to fasten his seatbelt with every turn. Despite his protestations that "I'm a different kind of cop," Testi's hero is a predictably close Italian relative of Harry Callahan in a plot that ends up like a cross between The Magnificent Seven and Death Wish as he recruits the victims and criminal rivals of a ruthless protection racket carving up Rome to take the law into their own hands in an engagingly OTT factory floor shootout finale. Thankfully Testi seems to have loosened up a bit from his ramrod straight block of wood earlier performances, though the dubbing may have something to do with that. It's not exactly demanding stuff, and there's laziness to spare, not least with a jailbreak that happens offscreen and is never explained presumably for no better reason than no-one being able to think of a convincing one, but within its limited ambitions it gets the job done, and there's a likeable turn from this films contractually obligatory American co-star Vincent Gardenia
However, there are some real double standards in the American dubbing script: murder, rape and bloody mayhem, no problem, but no naughty words whatever you do. Thus our "dumb basket" hero is warned that if he doesn't cool it, he'll be "in deep diddly." In fact, whoever wrote the dubbing script is obviously having the time of his life, inserting the word "diddly" into as many scenes as many times as possible ("If I'm gonna be in deep diddly, I'd like to know what I'm in deep diddly for!"). Maybe it was a drunken dare after drinking too much Crodino - and boy, did the Crodino boys get their product placement money's worth in this one, with their posters and logos appearing in so many of the exterior and the restaurant scenes that you're just amazed they didn't slap a banner on the side of the Coliseum as well just to cover all the bases.
Again, Vipco's 1.85:1 widescreen transfer isn't great but acceptable (though there are 14 seconds of censor cuts) and once again only offers the dubbed English soundtrack. There are no relevant extras as such - a few frame grabs masquerading as a stills gallery, some filmographies and trailers for Cannibal Holocaust, The Mountain of the Cannibal God, Psychic Killer and Shogun Assassin.