( aka Mark The Narc )
Review By Paul Cooke
Director : Stelvio Massi Scripted : Adriano Bolzoni & Stelvio Massi Starring : Franco Gasparri , Lee J. Cobb & Sara Sperati Source: Cine Video (PAL Video/Fullscreen/Mono/English dubbed)
Italian Director Stelvio Massi blew the crime movie scene wide open with his take on the Seventies shot drug enforcement movies , introducing a charismatic character called Mark. All three of his feature length cop under cover movies were to star the equally charismatic Franco Gasparri. In the lead role of Mark. The first of the three outings has officer Mark Terzi up against drug cartel head Lee J. Cobb , an untouchable business man working elusively between the legal systems radar. Smartly evading the clutches of the police who are powerless to arrest him , as they require absolute proof of his involvement in the heroin trafficking on the streets of Milan. Lee J. Cobb portrays the untouchable lead villain with all the consummate experience garnered from a long and established career . But it is the get the job done rebellious charm and anti establishment attitude of Franco Gasparri that wows the audience. His unshaven stubble and long hair help him blend into the regular regime of daily society , affording him the ability to maneuver where the conventional sight of cops signals the shutting of doors and closure of mouths.
Terzi’s methods are similar to that of American undercover cop legend Serpico , a fact that does not go unmentioned by a senior officer. With the release from prison of a German violent offender , called Grubber , Terzi is soon on his case when he steps out of line , and a resulting encounter shows just why the policeman works alone. A female drug addict proves to be an important link to the heroin dealers , one that may connect right to Lee J. Cobb’s door !. Terzi keeps the girl at his own low rent flat and helps her cleanse her system through undergoing a state of cold turkey. There is no fairytale outcome for the attractive woman as her compulsion ultimately ends in tragedy , an outcome that further spurs Terzi to bring the heroin kingpin down.
The movie has that great Seventies style and realistic feel to it , infused with regular helpings of Action enjoyably pepped up by some wry moments of humour. When Terzi is chasing a perpetrator on foot through the back streets of Milan , just at the moment he manages to corner the bad guy a passing priest , believing the undercover policeman to be the attacker , hits him from behind with a cane. In a moment of classic retort Terzi turns to the man of the cloth and firmly verbalises , ‘You did not know I was a cop , did you !?’ , the priest shakes his head , ‘Then why the hell didn’t you ask you stupid prick !?’.
The action highlight of the film arrives when , in true Dirty Harry type fashion , Terzi steps out into the middle of the road , gun held firm outwardly in front of him , and aimed directly at an approaching speeding car containing a gang of bank robbers. Terzi unloads his weapon into the vehicle , remaining unflinching as the car spins out of control , to then flip furiously towards him. He calmly steps to one side as he observantly watches it come to a halt beside him. Moments such as this that involve high risk , big damage carnage , are what Director Stelvio Massi excels at , and he never fails to entertain here in his opening Mark franchise !.
With Terzi closing in on Lee J. Cobb’s operation the final scenes provide for exciting search and chase scenarios between the two men. It’s very much cat and mouse right up until the very well crafted final moment. A closing sequence that is sure to leave the viewer aglow with that satisfied inner moment of ‘oh yes !’. From what is served up here by Director Stelvio Massi the next two outings for ‘Mark The Narc’ should prove to be just as entertainingly Topsy Terzi.
Film: 3.5 BITCH SLAPS Picture: 3.5 BITCH SLAPS Sound: 2.5 BITCH SLAPS Overall: 3.0 BITCH SLAPS
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