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Colt 38 Special Squad 
Written by: on June 17th, 2006

Theatrical Release Date: Italy, 1976 (Colt 38 Special Squad), Italy, 1977 (The Big Rip Off)
Massimo Dallamano (Colt 38 Special Squad), Luciano Ercoli (The Big Rip Off)
Marcel Bozzuffi, Ivan Rassimov, Carole André, Franco Garofalo, Riccardo Salvino (Colt 38 Special Squad), Walter Chiari, Maurizio Arena, Ettore Manni, Nieves Navarro, Marisa Merlini (The Big Rip Off)

DVD Released: June 27th, 2006
Approximate Running Time:
103 minutes (Colt 38 Special Squad), 106 minutes (The Big Rip Off)
Aspect Ratio:
2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen (Both Films)
Dolby Digital Mono Italian, Dolby Digital English (Colt 38 Special Squad), Dolby Digital Mono Italian (The Big Rip Off)
English (Both Films)
DVD Release:
No Shame
Region Coding:
Region 0 NTSC
Retail Price:

Colt 38 Special Squad: Marsigliese (Ivan Rassimov) is a cold blooded killer known also as the Black Angel. His brother was accidentally killed by Inspector Vanni (Marcel Bozzuffi) when the police raided their hideout. Marsigliese is not a man who easily forgets when someone kills a family member. He gets his revenge by killing Inspector Vanni’’s wife. After the death of his wife Vanni gets promotion to form a secret squad of cops to help clean the streets of all the scum at any cost. The district attorney quickly closes down the squad when it becomes apparent that they are working above the law and he takes Inspector Vanni off the Black Angel case. Vanni with the help a the recently disbanded secret police squad continue to track the Black Angel who has the city at its knees after a series of bombs kill several innocent by standers.

Director Massimo Dallamano evenly balanced the plot between the cops and robbers in Colt 38 Special Squad. His direction is stylish and inventive through out. With a moment late in the film which I would have to call the most insane car chase sequence ever committed to film. The scene involves Inspector Vanni who steals someone’s car speeds through town, then goes off road with the car down treacherous dirt roads and when the dirt roads ends he jumps the car onto the back of a moving train in which he then drives on top of until the car reaches the front of the train and he finally jumps off. While this scene is definitely cool in its execution it totally defies all logic.

The films two lead characters Marsigliese and Inspector Vanni are both driven by revenge. The action if fast and furious in this one with plenty of violence like suspects getting their knee caps shot off or being shot in the head. Stelvio Cipriani main theme is one of his best motifs of his career and the rest of the score if superb with a few motifs from his previous films popping up. The acting all around is solid with a stand out performance from Ivan Rassimov. Another great performance in the film is that of Riccardo Salvino as Nico. He is a bad ass who likes to live on the edge and his accuracy with guns is deadly. Overall Colt 38 Special Squad is a first rate poliziotteschi film and fitting swan song from Massimo Dallamano one of Italy’s most underrated directors’.

The Big Rip Off: Renato is a petty thief who overhears of plans of a major heist/kidnapping in Rome while spending sometime with a prostitute. He recruits two of his friends to help him with a kidnapping plot, but first they must raise some money by doing a few minor burglary jobs to help finance the bigger job. After they raise the necessary funds they then find out who the kidnapping victim is to be and they wait for him to be kidnapped by the real kidnappers before they make their move.

Director Luciano Ercoli is best remembered for the trilogy of giallos he directed Forbidden Photos of a Lady Above Suspicion, Death Walks on High Heels and Death Walks at Midnight. His elusive final film for those only familiar with his giallos is a poliziotteschi/comedy that only faintly resembles those films. There are brief instances of the style in The Big Rip Off that recalls some of his better work as a director. Don’t go into The Big Rip Off expecting a down and dirty poliziotteschi film. There is very little if any action and violence outside of some comedy bits is non existent. Nieves Navarro vamps up the screen and her character Orenella has the best scene in the entire film. She dresses up like a dominatrix and then she punishes a man dressed like a child.  Nieves Navarro totally owns this scene as she looks stunning. Overall The Big Rip Off is film that never really works as the sum of its parts never really gel.

The DVD:

Colt 38 Special Squad is given a nearly flawless anamorphic widescreen transfer which preserves the films original aspect ratio. Details look sharp, colors are nicely saturated and the image remains stable throughout. There are no problems with artifacts, compression or edge enhancement.

The Big Rip Off which has rarely been seen and has never been released anywhere on home video comes with an anamorphic widescreen transfer which preserves the films original aspect ratio. Colors are good with a few minor instances in which they look a tad off. Details look sharp and black levels remain strong through out. There are no problems with artifacts or compression and edge enhancement is kept to a minimum.

Colt 38 Special Squad comes with two audio options English and Italian. Both are presented in a Dolby Digital mono. Both audio mixes sound clean with no problems with distortion or any other sound defects. Despite their mono limitations they both offer a full sound range. Removable English subtitles have been included.

The Big Rip Off comes with one audio option an Italian language track in Dolby Digital mono. The audio is clear as dialog and music and effects sound even balanced. There are no problems with distortion or any other sound defects. Removable English subtitles have been included.

Extras for Colt 38 Special Squad include the films original trailer, a brief photo gallery and a video introduction by the films composer Stelvio Cipriani. Other extras include a twenty six minute interview with Stelvio Cipriani titled “Always the Same 7 Notes”. Cipriani talks in depth about and plays the various themes and motifs he has created through out his career.  Rounding out the extras is a ten minute interview with the films editor Antonio Siciliano titled “a Tough Guy”.

Extras for The Big Rip Off include a video introduction by the films director of photography Sergio D’Offizi and a nine minute interview with Sergio D’Offizi titled “Back to Life” in which he discusses the various problems that have plagued this film.

No Shame has also included with this release a collectable booklet which includes text pieces on Colt 38 Special Squad and The Big Rip Off.

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