Written by: Michael Den Boer on October 17th, 2005
Theatrical Release Date: Italy, April 24th, 1974
Director: Stelvio Massi
Writers: Franco Barberi, Adriano Bolzoni
Cast: Tomas Milian, Gastone Moschin, Ray Lovelock, Mario Carotenuto
DVD released: November 15th, 2005
Approximate running time: 95 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Sound: Dolby Digital Mono
DVD Release: No Shame
Region Coding: Region 1 NTSC
Retail Price: $19.95
Synopsis: A group of robbers lead by a man named Marseilles pull off a daring heist in broad day light. Assigned to the case is Interpol agent Ravelli (Tomas Milian) whose wife was murdered in cold blood by this man Marseilles a few years before. Ravelli has a nasty habit of never bringing in suspects alive and the tension builds between Marseilles and his gang as Ravelli closes in on them. Can Ravelli play it by the books this time or will he become the judge, jury and executioner as he serves up justice the only way he knows how?
Director Stelvio Massi like many of his contemporizes started his career as a Cinematographer. His direction in Emergency Squad is lean as he rarely misses beat. Visually he scatters through out the films some wonderful compositions and yet he doesn’t try to bombard you with all style and no substance. All of his compositions suit the story instead of driving it. Were he shine most as director is during this films many car chase sequences. The plot is your stand heist story and overall it adds nothing new to the mix.
What makes this film rise above an average action flick is the way in which Stelvio Massi and Tomas Milian approach to the material there are burden with. Tomas Milian is the heart and soul of the film. His performance as Ravelli is in direct contrast to the Nico Giraldi character in which he is most remembered for. Ravelli rarely speaks and he keeps his emotions inside. The only time he really becomes animated is when his is killing a bad guy. There are strong resemblances in Ravelli to the Dirty Harry and Paul Kersey from Death Wish as he conducts his one man death squad.
There really isn’t much in this film in the way of character development, still it more then excels when it comes to the films high octane moments of visceral action. Stelvio Cipriani’s pounding score fits in perfectly with the films symphony of carnage. Overall Emergency Squad is a lot of fun and it accomplishes everything it sets out to do.
No Shame presents Emergency Squad in an anamorphic widescreen that preserves the films original 1.85:1 aspect ratio. The colors look nicely saturated and the black levels remain strong through out as there is an exceptional amount of detail in very frame. There are no problems with artifacts or compression and edge enhancement is kept to a minimum. This is another solid transfer from No Shame who once again source their transfers from a nearly flawless source.
This release comes with two audio options an English dubbed audio track and an Italian language track. Both are presented in a Dolby Digital mono. The audio is clean and outside of a few minor instances is easy to hear and understand. There are few instances of the music overpowering the rest of the mix with its deep bass tone. Both audio mixes are free of any distortion or any other sound defects. Overall both audio options more then get the job done. There are a few instances in which Italian is spoken on the English dubbed audio track and during these moments English subtitles are provided. Removable English subtitles have been included that are easy to read and follow.
Extras include the films Italian theatrical trailer which comes with English subtitles, a Stelvio Massi still gallery and a brief poster & still gallery that includes music from the film in the background. A collectable booklet has been included that includes bios/filmographies for Stelvio Massi, Tomas Milian and Ray lovelock and the booklet also includes liner notes written by Crhis D. about Emergency Squad. Other extras include a nine minutes interview with Stelvio Massi who discusses the various stages of his career. This is Stelvio Massi’s final interview. He would pass away soon after on his seventy fifth birthday. Rounding out the extras is a thirteen minutes interview with Tomas Milian titled “Tomas Squad”. Milian as usual is full of interesting stories and there never is dull moment as he remembers events with the utmost detail. The Italian police thriller is vastly under appreciated genre that until recently has been virtually forgotten on DVD. No Shame gives fans of this genre of films reason to celebrate as they give Emergency Squad the kind of deluxe treatment it deserves. If you like your action films down and dirty then Emergency Squad delivers and then some, recommended.