Written by: Michael Den Boer on September 14th, 2014
BluRay Released: September 30th, 2014
Approximate running time: 96 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Widescreen / 1080 Progressive / VC-1 Video
Sound: DTS-HD Mono Italian, DTS-HD Mono English
BluRay Release: Raro Video USA
Region Encoding: Region Free
Retail Price: $29.98
Stunt Squad was directed by Domenico Paolella whose other notable films include The Nuns of Saint Archangel and Story of a Cloistered Nun. Key collaborators on Stunt Squad include screenwriter Dardano Sacchetti (Zombie, The Beyond), cinematographer Marcello Masciocchi (Tropic of Cancer, The Big Racket) and composer Stelvio Cipriani (Death Walks in High Heels, What Have They Done to Your Daughters?).
This film’s English language title Stunt Squad kind of misleads one to what this film is going to be about. Where The police are defeated, the a English translation of this film’s Italian language title La polizia è sconfitta, leaves no doubt about what is about to unfold in this film.
At the core of this film is s story about a protection racket and their leader who is terrorizing those that refuse to him extortion money. And despite their best efforts this man always seems to allude the police which only further infuriates them. When their appears to be no more options the police then allow one of their own to form what is essentially an vigilante squad to take down these violent criminals.
Though this film has all the ingredients that one has come to expect from Poliziotteschi (Italian police procedurals) film genre like elaborate car / motorcycle chases and an ample amount of carnage. It is ultimately the characters which populate this film that prove to be its most durable asset. Needless to say there is no doubt what everyone’s motivations are?
From production stand point this film’s visuals are top notch throughout and pacing never proves to be an issue as things are constantly moving forward rapidly. Also when it comes to the action set pieces and death sequences they are all well executed. A few standout moments of carnage include a snitch who throat is slit while he recovers at a hospital and all of this happens under the watchful eye of the police who are just outside his door. Another great moment also involves another snitch who this time around gets knife in his manhood and then a firearm is used to put him out of his misery. And not to be overlooked is this film’s finale which easily ranks as one of the most jaw dropping to ever come out this genre.
From a performance stand point the entire are all very good in their respective roles, with this film’s most memorable performance coming from Vittorio Mezzogiorno (Milano violenta) in the role of Valli, who is arguably one of the most sadistic criminals to appear in a Poliziotteschi film. Another performance of note is Marcel Bozzuffi (The French Connection) in the role of the man given the task of capturing Valli. Overall Stunt Squad is a vastly underrated film that has languished for far too long in obscurity.
Stunt Squad comes on a 25 GB single layer BluRay. The film is presented in a 1080 progressive widescreen. There are no issues with compression, colors and flesh tones look accurate, black levels fare well and details generally look crisp. With that being said this transfer still has a few minor issues like some very mild use of DNR is a few scenes.
This release comes with two audio options, a DTS-HD Mono mix in Italian and a DTS-HD Mono mix in English. Both audio mixes sound clear and balanced throughout. Though range wise they both tend to sound rather limited. Also included with this release are removable English subtitles.
Extras for this release include a introduction to the film with Italian crime cinema expert Mike Malloy (6 minutes 18 seconds – 1080 Progressive Widescreen) and a eight page booklet with an essay about the film written by Mike Malloy. Overall Stunt Squad gets a strong release from Raro Video.
Note: This film is also being released by Raro Video USA on DVD.