Sunday, May 22, 2011

Flatfoot in Hong Kong

Piedone a Hong Kong; crime comedy, Italy, 1975; D: Steno, S: Bud Spencer, Al Lettieri, Enzo Cannavale

Naples. Commissioner Rizzo is convinced that mobster Pastrone is behind an epidemic of heroin in town, but has no evidence. When Pastrone is found dead, some suspect that Rizzo is the perpetrator, so he decides to go to the root of the problem and travels to Bankgkok, where drugs are shipped to Italy. A local gangster, Frank, follows him. Introducing himself as Pastrone's successor, Rizzo get information that drugs are actually originating from Hong Kong. There, he meets Frank again. One Japanese woman, who was a part of the organization, is killed so Rizzo has to take care of her little boy Yoko. In the end, he finally solves the case and finds the corrupt police senior.

The 2nd movie of the four part "Flatfoot" series, "Hong Kong" is a moderately entertaining flick that suffers from a key ingredient: the balance between light comedy and hard crime. Some skillful directors managed to perfectly blend in genres of comedy and suspense, like Landis did in "American Werewolf in London" and managed to make it look as if humor and fear work in perfect harmony and don't seem like bizarre opposites, but in majority balancing those two turns out disjointed more often than not, just like here. "Flatfoot" works the best in the first 30 minutes while it plays out in Naples and features some good jokes - in the opening sequence, for instance, two criminals, on the run from the police, hide in a barber shop in order to "have an alibi". But the curtain opens and reveals a large man holding the barber's kit in his hands, who turns out to be none other than commissioner Rizzo (Bud Spencer) himself; Rizzo scorns his friend, a small-time crook, for just having to steal a purse from a tourist in front of the police station! - but when it moves to exotic locations in Bangkok, Hong Kong and Macao, it slowly turns into an overstretched, routine crime investigation, with clues so far out that not even "The Da Vinci Code" would be ashamed off, with especially problematic inclusion of a Japanese kid in the last third of the story. Spencer is again charismatic, yet humorous approaches suit him more than those of Steven Segal.


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