Monday, 18 February 2013

Flatfoot

Piedone lo sbirro; crime, Italy, 1973; D: Steno, S: Bud Spencer, Adalberto Maria Merli, Mario Pilar, Juliette Mayniel

Naples. Inspector Rizzo, nicknamed "Flatfoot", is famous for not wearing a pistol and solving trouble with bare fists. When a prostitute is assaulted for refusing to smuggle drugs, Rizzo finds out it was done by thugs of Ferdinando, a local mobster. Rizzo confronts him and, thanks to small time crook Manomozza, finds and destroys his laboratory where drugs are fabricated. However, when Ferdinando is found dead, Rizzo is removed from the case. Drugs are distributed to youngsters, so Rizzo decides to investigate on his own. He finds out Manomozza took over the drug cartel, so he beats up him and his gang. As a reward, Rizzo is returned back to the police.

In 1973, comedian Bud Spencer made a strange and daring turn by taking a "Dirty Harry" like role in "The Knock Out Cop", a rather serious crime flick that is a departure from his usual comedy genre. The turn is interesting, but without a true payout. Namely, even though this is easily the best film in the "Flatfoot" series - followed by three less serious sequels - its story is little less than simplistic and bland, a standard crime fare that could have been more inventive and "juicy", while sometimes clumsily reaching for some banal solutions: for instance, in the opening with the sailor shooting at people from the roof, it is revealed that he did that because he went crazy from drugs, which is entirely unnecessary and blatantly obvious "demonization", since it would have already sufficed for the movie to send its message by just showing youngsters taking drugs and Salvatore becoming sick from it. Rizzo's entrance - a police officer on the ground raises a rifle at the roof, but the standing hero lowers it with his foot - is cool, but that's pretty much it, he did not have more of such moments for the rest of the film which would show his more dramatic capabilities. The story does not shy from violence (in one scene, a motorcycle gang even hits Rizzo's back with chains) or action sequences (a car chasing a motorcycle down the stairs) which gives it an overall honest and solid tone. It is an all right effort, yet this crime milieu did not conjure up even half as much as magic out of Spencer as much as his more comic roles.

Grade;+

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