The Violent Professionals (1973)
Shortly before his death in 1975, Noir favorite Richard Conte starred in a number of Euro crime thrillers including this Dirty Harry/vigilante style justice flick starring Luc Merenda. This one comes to us courtesy of well known producer Carlo Ponti.
This is an old school shoot’em up flick from the outset when two inmates manage to overpower some guards while on a transport train. They kill everyone in sight including a father and daughter when they hijack a car. This doesn’t sit well with our maverick cop who prefers to shoot first and ask the questions later. Merenda promptly goes into action. Naturally his gun toting style doesn’t sit well with his superiors and he’s summarily put on suspension.
Sometimes plot points get lost in translation so I am not quite sure if our hero cop goes undercover on his own or with orders but he winds up making his presence known to Conte who recruits him as a get away driver. Conte is masterminding a heist that is bound to get ugly. It won’t be long before Conte realizes that he has hired a cop for the job.
From here the ball is in Merenda’s court to prove Conte is pulling the strings behind a mafia style organization. Then again maybe he’s just a soldier and the trail goes higher than our Dirty Harry wanna be figured on.
While I enjoy some of the seventies cop thrillers from Europe I am no expert on the subject. I usually lean towards the ones featuring traveling Hollywood stars like Conte or Henry Silva and of course homegrown Franco Nero. One thing we can usually count on are bloody shoot outs, quick edit style car chases in little boxy vehicles and some offbeat dubbing where jokes don’t always hit home. This one delivers the goods just fine.
While producer Carlo Ponti delivered plenty of productions over the years, he’ll always be the man who married Sophia Loren to me. Aside from The Godfather, the bulk of Richard Conte’s work was from overseas in the seventies. He would actually appear with leading man Luc Merenda once again in Fernando Di Leo’s Shoot First, Die Later the following year.
Prior to directing this film, Sergio Martino was coming off a group of Giallo thrillers including Blade of the Ripper and The Case of the Scorpion’s Tail.
I picked this one up under the Euro Crime Collection from Wild East Productions.