Friday, August 3, 2012

Live Like a Cop, Die Like a Man (1976)

Fred (Marc Porel) and Tony (Ray Lovelock) are the type of cops that only exist in the movies. They shoot first and ask questions later. They constantly bend the rules in their favor, which gets them on the wrong side of their boss (Adolfo Celi). As he states, they’re criminals with a badge. In their defense (and words), that’s the only way to fight crime. Their methods may be unorthodox, but they get the job done.

Their job this time out is to seek out Roberto Pasquini (Renato Salvatori), who goes by the nickname of Bibi. He’s a crime lord that… well, I honestly don’t remember. What his intentions are is irrelevant. He causes damage wherever he goes and is in trouble with the law. He’s a target for Fred and Tony, which is all he needs to be. He has cronies do his bidding so our heroes have pawns to play with. And boy, do they have fun with them!

Here’s a brief rundown of the action Fred and Tony get involved in. They foil a robbery by eliminating the criminals before they get a chance to enter the bank; they set dozens of cars ablaze at a snooty club; they take out four men who are holding a woman hostage by distracting them with a helicopter; they chase two thieves on a motorcycle throughout town (granted, they weren’t working for Bibi); they put more bullets in heads than a mob boss. They do all of this with a gleeful smile on their faces.

When they’re not disposing of criminals, they’re smooth talking the ladies. They both score with Bibi’s sex-craved sister and are fed dinner by her mother at the same time (not during the act, mind you). They constantly flirt with their boss’ assistant, who shoots them down with vitriolic insults. When being yelled at by their boss, they crack jokes. They never make light of a serious situation, turning on their game faces when the time arrives.

Ruggero Deodato works at a fast pace and keeps the proceedings running smoothly. He does run into the occasional lull, but quickly picks things up with an action sequence or by letting Fred and Tony let loose verbally. He runs through the motions of the buddy cop genre (70’s era buddy cop, I should note), but does so with finesse and exhilaration that you honestly don’t care that you’ve seen this before. That and the action scenes themselves sets this film apart from others in the genre.

What he does quite work out well is the ending. The idea behind it is clever, but I felt it ended abruptly and somewhat anti-climatically. There was so much build put towards it that it didn’t come close to meeting expectations. I wasn’t expecting a grand finale, but a little more than what we got would have been appreciated. It went against the heroes’ actions throughout, though I’ll admit that’s a part of the cleverness.

Weak ending aside, “Live Like a Cop, Die Like a Man” is a wonderfully manic action comedy! The hour and a half running time breezes by at a swift pace, giving the viewer a comfortable relaxation with the film. The heroes are assholes, but they’re charming and likable (slapping women aside). The action sequences are the true highlight of the film. Without them, this film wouldn’t be nearly as fun. Thankfully, Deodato knows how to work an action sequence!

MVT: Porel and Lovelock. They may play assholes, but they’re so charismatic and charming that you can’t help but like them. In the hands of other actors, they would have been detestable, which would have tarnished the film.

Make or Break: The opening motorcycle chase. It starts with a woman’s purse being snatched, yet she’s still connected and gets dragged via a motorcycle into a pole that cracks her head wide open. Our heroes avenge her by chasing the thieves throughout town (including inside of a store), having them fly into the back of a truck. This impales one of them, while the other has his neck snapped. It’s the perfect mood setter!

Final Score: 8.5/10

No comments:

Post a Comment