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Colt .38 Special Squad / Quelli della calibro 38 (Massimo Dallamano, 1976)

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Marcel Bozzuffi, Ivan Rassimov, cameo by Grace Jones(!)

The film begins with a blazing gun battle between Captain Vanni (Bozzuffi) and some crook with high powered artillery. Vanni and his men take out the bad guys one of them the brother of the Marseillaise (Ivan Rassimov) who goes by the name the Black Avenger. The Marseillaise then goes to Vanni's home and executes his wife phoning him afterwards and proclaiming "we're even". Vanni, ready to resign, is given the okay to form a squad of pseudo vigilantes armed with unregistered .38's and go about bringing down the bad guys including the Black Avenger who is wreaking havok blowing up buildings and markets with with illegal dynamite and it's up to Vanni and his group to put an end to the Marseillaise and his men for good.

This was the final film for director Massimo Dallamano who was a good hand at giallo's WHAT HAVE THEY DONE TO SOLANGE? and WHAT HAVE THEY DONE TO YOUR DAUGHTERS? the two that come to mind at the moment. Spaghetti Western fans will know him as he was the cinematographer for the DOLLARS films. His career was cut short shortly after finishing this movie when he was killed in a car accident.

As for the movie itself, it is nothing special however, it benefits from some beautiful Italian locations and the photography is noteworthy. The stunts are exceptional particularly the finale when Vanni must reach the airport before the villain and he pulls off some breathtaking moves in one of those small European cars on a treacherous dirt road and a train. There are the usual startling scenes of violence and bloodshed that Dallamano handles very well.

The downside and what hurts the film is the storyline and characters. The main thrust of Vanni getting his hands on the Marseillaise is handled rather limply and even the final confrontation is a bit disappointing particularly after the marvelous stunt display that precedes it. The characters are never properly fleshed out most particularly the squad of vigilantes. Amazingly, you never even learn their names save for one, Nico, and even he is underutilized in the characterization department.

Marcel Bozzuffi (THE FRENCH CONNECTION) is a fine actor and convincing in the role of the embittered policeman and he never resorts to the angry mugging that most other actors do in these movies (not a bad thing though).

Rassimov (MAN FROM DEEP RIVER) is suitably vicious as the Black Avenger and his almost satanic visage suits the vilain role well. He gets to do several nasty things to various cast members to make you hate him if only the final moments had been more dramatic it would have been a more satisfying experience.

Grace Jones has a cameo in the disco scene.

The score by Stelvio Cipriani is a fine piece of 70s funky phsychedelia and may in fact be better than the movie which has enough good moments as well as some really nice shots and cinematography to make for a decent timewaster.

Stephen Grimes:
Genre classic.
Great scene with Mattei regular Franco Garofalo getting his fingers sliced off in a car door and it's always cool to see Al Capri make an appearance,he was in the very similar STUNT SQUAD straight after this.

Gary B.:
I really enjoyed this one the second and third times around, but still think Bozuffi plays it TOO cool throughout, never showing enough anger or emotion about getting vengeance for his wife's death.  Parts of this seem to drag out as well during the final half.  The great Cipriani score and the long shot of the car driving across the moving train are definite highlights for me.

Excellent film, very well-made! There's no doubt that Maurizio Merli would have been more suitable in the leading role but I still think Marcel Bozzuffi was great in it. Not over the top like Maurizio would have been. Rassimov is also great as the villain. Dallamano proves to be a master filmmaker in this one and the funky Cipriani score is killer. That car sequence was a highlight indeed- shots from it (and also from THE SICILIAN CONNECTION) were later lifted by Alfonso Brescia for his trashy THE NEW GODFATHERS. 

Stephen Grimes:

--- Quote from: vigilanteforce on 09 Jul 2007 - 17:49 ---That car sequence was a highlight indeed- shots from it (and also from THE SICILIAN CONNECTION) were later lifted by Alfonso Brescia for his trashy THE NEW GODFATHERS.  

--- End quote ---
:-\  That's right,Jeff Blynn was doing the driving in THE NEW GODFATHERS.


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