Weapons of Death / Napoli spara (1977)

4.0 out of 5

Ruthless action more than compensates for this poliziottescho's opening Big Band jazz theme, an obnoxious score more befitting a 60s Frank Sinatra detective flick than an Italian crimer. But there's plenty to enjoy: an entire family is bounced off the road during a police pursuit, only to have their Fiat explode into flames, a police station is robbed with uniformed officers massacred in their own work place, years ahead of The Terminator and Maniac Cop, Bruce Dern lookalike Leonard Mann enjoys a solid punch-up in a pool hall with two thugs, their fight embellished by all manner of quality Foley, creating a symphony of cranial bottle breaks, pancreas squashings, and kicks to the head and ears.

Henry Silva plays the elusive mastermind behind all this mayhem, but not even his imprisonment prevents the inevitable prison breakout scene, which comes complete with an honest-to-God pee-pee severing of a pedophile on the yard.

Yes, this is a crazy Italian crimer that delivers its share of powerful atrocities, and there are additional thrills from watching lots of Neapolitan street life onscreen, complete with oblivious extras in the background narrowly ducking out of the paths of speeding cars and flying debris. The movie also features an impressive Henry Silva dummy that isn't completely obliterated by a train once, but in at least four closeups. Leave it to the Italians to take such dramatic license in depicting a man's passing.

Little street urchin Gennarino returns from Violent Naples to provide comic relief, and he even steals a race car, but is merely annoying and fat here.

Surely, his weight problem is the result of immobility due to his crippling in Umberto Lenzi's film and not any shortage of available street crime in 1970s Naples. The movie does suffer from one lazy flaw, though one not uncommon to the genre, as director Mario Caiano recycles the DeAngelis brothers' High Crime theme to match another chase.

And to top things off, there's a beautiful miniature blown up in the beginning, as well.

Maurizio Merli header graphic courtesy of Paddy O'Neill of Foxyfide Graphics