Written by: John White on February 26th, 2006
Theatrical Release Date: Italy, 1976
Director: Umberto Lenzi
Cast: Maurizio Merli, Tomas Milian, Arthur Kennedy, Giampiero Albertini, Ivan Rassimov, Biagio Pelligra, Aldo Barberito, Luciano Pigozzi
DVD released: April 2005
Approximate running time: 94 mins
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Rating: Not Rated
Sound: Dolby Digital Mono English
DVD Release: Alfa Digital (Grey Market Release)
Region Coding: Region 0 NTSC
Retail Price: $24.99
Synopsis: Inspector Tanzi is exasperated with the lack of success he meets with catching criminals by doing it by the book. Juvenile bag snatchers are caught only to be freed because of the soft hearted psychologist Tanzi is seeing and a gang led by a hunchback get to terrorise his woman with impunity. Privileged kids get freed by their clever lawyers to rape and terrorise and Tanzi eventually gets moved to vehicle licensing to avoid any nastiness. Tanzi’s frustration boils over and he uses his free time to hunt down the hunchback and a rapist. Only when he single handedly rescues hostages from a bank hold-up is Tanzi eventually allowed to chase the gang down.
Rome Armed to The Teeth is as nasty as it wants to be. There are no misunderstood criminals, no mistaken miscreants and only misery for good decent people. A well to do couple snogging in a car are ambushed by a gang who assault the man and rape the woman, young women are abducted and shot up with drugs to make them sex slaves and the law is impotent.
Lenzi’s hyperbolic corrupt world is watched over by Tanzi, a cop full of machismo and with testosterone aplenty. Tanzi beats criminals, shoots rapists and kills bank robbers. He even kicks the hunchback in the nuts as a hello. Even Tanzi’s friends and lover are worried that he goes too far, but all secretly admire his integrity and refusal to give in to the corruption around him.
Rome Armed to the Teeth is pretty episodic with sick crime leading to car chases leading to useless interrogations leading back to sick crimes. In the end only the death of the criminals brings any respite. It is thoroughly well done though with Merli’s pornstar moustache doing his acting whilst Ivan Rassimov and Tomas Milian do their handsome evil bit. Milian as the hunchback is in excellent form, he hijacks an ambulance at one point and when the dying patient’s husband asks where they are going he answers “the Cemetery”!
Ultraviolent, a score to die for and macho to it’s core, Rome Armed to the Teeth is a blast.
The Alfadigital disc is from an awfully good print but it does seem to suffer from a standards conversion problem with some motion shake. The sound is frankly awful with masses of dropouts and a constant hum throughout. The English dub used has Arthur Kennedy doing his own voice and the score by Franco Micalizzi is undermined by all the dropouts.
The extras include an alternative opening, a trailer and the dreadful adaptations made by a previous US video release.
This is a cracking film and I don’t think the coming March release of the film in Italy will have English subs so this substandard release will have to do for now.