The Cop in Blue Jeans review
From The Grindhouse Cinema Database
Review by Simon Gelten
The eternal city is plagued by groups of petty thieves; on their trail is the unorthodox police officer Nico Giraldi, who’s roaming the streets of Rome on a motorbike. One day a briefcase containing 5 million dollars is stolen by one of the muggers but surprisingly the owner refuses to report the theft. The leader of the muggers, a man knick-named The Baron, realizes it must be dirty money and therefore tries to whitewash it. He is caught red-handed by Giraldi, who now wants to use him as a bait to catch the bigger fish, the owner of the 5 million dollars ...
The film was a major commercial success and generated a series consisting of eleven titles all starring Tomas Milian as the bearded, long-haired, unorthodox police officer. Ironically some thought it was a loose sequel to another movie, Il giustiziere sfida la citta, in which Milian played a biker who took the law into his own hands after the system had failed to bring him justice. Cop & vigilante movies were basically hard-boiled stuff, with heavy doses of violence, influenced by movies like Dirty Harry (1971) and Death Wish (1973) and in spite of the tongue-in-cheek approach Squadra Antiscippo is still quite violent: in one scene - probably inspired by the famous pool hall scene from Coogan's Bluff (1968) - one of the muggers is beaten to death by the henchmen of the owner of the briefcase (who wants his money back).
Cuban born, American-Italian actor Tomas Milian was the perfect choice for the lead role of the unconventional police officer. Even when playing tough types in spaghetti westerns and cop thrillers, he had shown a great talent for comedy and it's his great performance that makes it all click. Giraldi was clearly modeled after Al Pacino’s Serpico (he has a Serpico poster in his apartment and also has a pet mouse called Serpico), but Milian would develop the character in the movies to come, turn him into a master of disguise, owning multiple pairs of socks, shirts and an assortment of extravagant hats, blending the cop with the Er Monezza character he had played in three movies. He would also write his own lines in the Roman dialect (which was his favorite ‚version’ of Italian).
Squadra Antiscippo (literally: the anti-theft squad) offers fistfights, shootouts and chase scenes in rapid-fire style; the script isn’t anything special, and there are a few jumps with the motorcycle too many, but the fast pace and tongue-in-cheek approach make it easy to enjoy. There’s great support from spaghetti western regular Benito Stefanelli (as a henchman) and American actor John Dulaney (who would impersonate Milian’s lieutenant Ballarin in four more movies). Jack Palance, as the kingpin with - or without - the briefcase, only makes a couple of brief appearances throughout the movie, but he chews his cigars, looks as mean as ever and dominates every scene he’s in.
Director: Bruno Corbucci - Starring: Tomas Milian, Jack Palance, Maria Rosaria Omaggio, Guido Mannari, John Dulaney, Jack La Cayenne, Raf Luca, Toni Ucci, Vincenzo Crocitti, Benito Stefanelli - Music: Guido & Maurizio De Angelis