Written by: Michael Den Boer on June 13th, 2006
Theatrical Release Date: Italy, 1978
Director: Stelvio Massi
Cast: Maurizio Merli, Olga Karlatos, Massimo Serato, Nello Pazzafini, Mario Feliciani
DVD released: June 27th, 2006
Approximate running time: 101 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Sound: Dolby Digital stereo
DVD Release: No Shame Films
Region Coding: Region 1 NTSC
Retail Price: $19.95
A pair of homicides leads detective Olmi (Maurizio Merli) to a suspect who gets off because of his friends in high places. Olmi is then reassigned from Homicide to Rome’s Emergency Squad. His tactics are towards suspects are being scrutinized by the press who accuses him of police brutality. Olmi hits rock bottom when he accidentally kills a man. He would relocate to a small town on the Adriatic coast where he would find love with a woman named Anna. Old habits die hard as Olmi uncovers a massive gun smuggling operation.
Director Stelvio Massi who also directed the more accomplished Emergency Squad directs Convoy Busters with the same style, but the overall tone of the film lacks substance. All the clichés that populate the poliziotteschi genre are present in Convoy Busters. The film never really feels like it is going anywhere as we are bombarded with an endless series of shoot outs and chases. There are a few standout moments like the helicopter chase in which Olni takes out with cold blooded precision the four suspects he chasing. The slow motion death of the four men being stalked by Olmi in the helicopter are some of the coolest shots you will ever see in any poliziotteschi film.
If you are looking for great performances’ you will find now here. Maurizio Merli much like his contemporary Fabio Testi lacks any serious acting range and they tend to play the same type of characters over and over again. Another cool moment that involves Merli’s character is when two assassins’ try to kill him and their car gets stuck. He then shots their gas tank and blows up their car. The Character Merli plays in the film is similar to many of the anti heroes like Dirty Harry and Paul Kersey (Death Wish) in that they are all feed up with how the law protects the bad guys while innocents’ are harmed or murdered. Stelvio Cipriani’s funky score is not one of his best and I swear I heard many recycled themes that he had used before or would use later.
Overall while the plot is pretty much by the numbers the action is top notch with amazing shot outs and knock down dragged out fights.
No Shame’s transfer for Convoy Busters boasts nicely saturated colors and details looks sharp in the back ground and fore ground. The film is presented in its original 1.85:1 aspect ratio and this transfer is anamorphic enhanced. Black levels are solid and the image remains stable through out. There is some noticeable grain that is presented through out. There are no problems with compression, artifacts or edge enhancement.
Two audio options too choose form for this release. The films original Italian language track and an English dubbed language track. Both are presented in a Dolby Digital mono. Both audio mixes are more then adequate with the Italian mix being the cleaner of the two since the English audio mix has some noticeable hiss that appears through out that mix. Removable English subtitles that are easy to read and follow have been included.
Extras for this release include ten films original trailer and a poster & still gallery. Also included for this release is a trailer for Cop on Fire which stars Maurizio Merli’s son Maurizio Matteo Merli. The remainder of the extras is divided into five interviews with the following participants’ Maurizio Matteo Merli, journalist Eolo Capacci, actor Ennio Girolami, directors Enzo G. Castellari and Ruggero Deodato. These five interviews are all wonderful tributes Maurizio Merli and combined they run nearly 82 minutes in length. No Shame have also included with this release a poliziotteschi comic book titled “Crime Story: The De Falco Connection”.
Convoy Busters gets a fully loaded DVD release from No Shame. Fans of poliziotteschi films will appreciate this film despite it flaws, while new comers to this genre may want to start with Almost Human and Emergency Squad instead.
For more information about Convoy Busters visit No Shame here.