Violent Rome (1975)

Genre: Violent Italian Crime

Two hooded men board a bus in Rome and begin robbing the passengers at gun point. In the commotion that follows a young man is shot dead and the two robbers flee. The bus races through the streets to find a doctor and help.

Enter blonde haired tough cop Commissario Betti (the leading man in the Italian crime film genre, Maurizio Merli). The music on the soundtrack changes to a slow electric guitar solo.
Commissario Betti - he's tough
  Betti has seen too much of this violence on the streets of Rome and when he looks into the eye’s of the dead man’s girlfriend, he knows he is going to seek revenge.

With the help of his police informer friend Biondi (Ray Lovelock) he soon tracks down one of the culprits to a gas feeling station. There he corners the trapped suspect inside an empty bus and does his own style of interrogation, which involves not much speaking, just a lot of hitting. The beaten-up suspect admits to the crime and tells Betti who his accomplice was. Soon the two hoodlums are behind bars and regretting they had ever come into contact with Betti’s fists.
An unorthodox interrogation method

Next we see a woman being violently mugged by two robbers in broad day light. Onlookers watch with fear, but do not dare to come to the woman’s aid. We then see the two robbers attack another woman, but this time she retaliates and leaves their beaten bodies in a heap. She takes off her wig to reveal she is a male cop.

Something big is going to go down and Betti needs to find out what it is. Using one of his more unorthodox methods, which is above the law, he picks up a suspect, but is unable to gain any information. Betti he has no choice but to release the suspect.
Betti metes out justice from a police Fiat

Betti is shrewd and has the suspect followed. This leads them to a bank which the suspect and his gang attempt to rob. Betti and Biondi rush in to confront the robbers, but Biondi is shot in the back. Two of the robbers escape in a car with Betti hot on their trail.

We are now treated to a great car chase through the streets of Rome with Betti following unrelentlessly behind. When Betti’s windscreen is smashed he kicks it out with his foot while still driving his car.
Woman about to be thrown out of a speeding car

To stop Betti following them, the two robbers machine gun some school children by an ice cream stand and then continue on their way. Betti only pauses momentarily from the shock, but soon is in hot pursuit again.

Eventually he catches up with the robbers and gives them swift justice the way he only knows how.

It's not long before Betti is in trouble with his superiors due to his unconventional ways which leads to Betti resigning from the police force.
A father gunned down in front of his family

In the meantime, his friend Biondi is recovering in his hospital bed from the gunshot wounds and Betti is told by the doctor that Biondi will be paralyzed from the neck down for the rest of his life.

When Biondi asks Betti what he would do now that he has resigned from the police, Betti explains that he is a cop and can be nothing else. Betti then goes off and joins a group of vigilantes who take the law into their own hands. Cue more violence and beatings.
A father forced to watch as his daughter is raped

The plot in this film is paper thin, to more or less non-existance, which lets the film down. Basically it is cop uses unorthodox methods to capture violent criminals, gets into trouble with his superiors and resigns and joins a group of vigilantes. There’s really not much else to the plot apart from that. There were also some loose ends which weren’t tied up at the end of the film.

This paper thin plot is surrounded by a selection of short vignettes where violent crooks rob and kill people and are then violently revenged by Betti – and violent these vignettes are! We get women being beaten up, shot, and thrown out of speeding cars alive, father’s shot in front of their families, daughter’s raped in front of their father’s and revenge dished out with guns, knuckle dusters and baseball bats.
Justice vigilante style

Even with the weak plot, I still loved this movie. It’s fast moving with the violence more or less non-stop. Maurizio Merli is great as Betti and this was the movie that launched his career. Violent Rome was popular in Italy as well as elsewhere and Betti was the perfect Franco Nero look-a-like.

After the success of Vilont Rome, Maurizio Merli would continue to play the tough cop in a string of Italian crime movies throughout the 70’s. Merli was perfectly matched to this violent genre and was known to get so carried away with his performances that he would actually physically hurt the stunt men during the fight scenes.

Directed by Marino Girolami, who brought us the crap-tastic Zombi Holocaust (1980), you can’t go too wrong with this movie, even with the weak plot because Maurizio Merli holds it together with his fist punching, teeth grinding, ‘shoot them all’ cop character as he continually beats the crap out of every violent criminal in Rome.

This is a great film to watch with a group of friends and a lot of beer.

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