A great example of the "Poliziotteschi" (Italo-crime) with a plot based upon the 1969 Piazza Fontana bombing in Milan, KILLER COP begins with an explosion in a hotel killing dozens of innocent people. Police inspector Matteo Rolandi is a witness to the massacre and the suspect, Franco Ludovisi, is a young political activist. Ludovisi, even though the General Attorney Di Federico puts him under protection, is shot and killed. Behind this event there seems to be a conspiracy aimed at destabilizing the political social scene, but despite the fear instilled by the bombers, Inspector Rolandi continues his investigation, strongly determined to find the people behind this brutal terrorist act.
When you see the movie title 'Killer Cop', you might have an idea of what to expect. It could be a vigilante cop out for blood, killing all the bad guys, or it could be a serial killer, murdering innocent people who happens to be an officer of the law. None of these are the case in the 1975 Italian film 'Killer Cop' by Luciano Ercoli, which happened to be his second-to-last film.
I'm not quite sure why this is called 'Killer Cop', because it doesn't really feature one. In other countries, this movie is titled 'The Police Can't Move' and 'Portrait of a 60% Perfect Man'. With odd titles like those, I can see why the studio wanted a title like 'Killer Cop'. Much like the other 70's Italian films that feature the Italian crime scene, this relies more on talking things through instead of showing any sort of action. 'Killer Cop' takes its cues from the real 1969 Piazza Fontana Bombing that took place in Milan and killed 17 people and injured many others.
The terrorism and suspense here is done very well and the film goes to a dark place from time to time, however through most of the film, we only get debate after debate about what to do and how to handle the situation in taking out these criminal masterminds. 'Killer Cop' follows Matteo (Claudio Cassinelli), who is a cop who witnessed the bombing and the prime suspect who carried out this attack.
Now Matteo must figure out who else exactly is behind this bombing, which might go higher up the political chain than he expected. There are a couple of short lived action scenes that involve explosions and gun blasts, but the bulk of the film is full of dialogue as Matteo uses his street smarts to talk with people on and off the street. Ercoli does use a unique realness in directing this film, focusing more on character development and the dialogue, rather than big expensive action sequences.
It slows down the film to a crawl at times, but the emphasis on the political and social climate in Italy at the time is paid strict attention to. Cassinelli turns a great performance as well here, as he struggles with the death of a friend and trying to weave in and out of the political police force in solving this crime. 'Killer Cop' has some strong moments for sure and is a rare find these days where most action crime movies rely on the chase and violent sequences over actual story telling. That being said, this movie has to slow a pace for my liking, despite the rather fantastic ending.
'Killer Cop' comes with a decent 1080p HD transfer presented in 2.35:1 aspect ratio. For being 40-years old, the image is surprisingly in good shape, however there are some issues. The detail looks sharp about 50% of the time, while the other 50% looks soft. When the detail is good, it's sharp, focused, and vivid, revealing individual hairs on the actor's faces and their makeup blemishes. Other times, the image looks fairly flat.
There are also some focusing problems throughout the film that was never cleaned up. The layer of grain look decent for the most part, however there are some slight fluctuations to it. Colors pop in the well-lit sequences, but tend to mute in other areas. Skin tones look natural and black levels are deep and inky for the most part. There are some issues with video noise, banding, scratches, and dirt, but hey, this is a 40-year old movie from Italy.
This release comes with a 2.0 LPCM mix and sounds quite good, considering the wear and tear on this older film. The sound effects here are a bit lacking as each effect doesn't have the required kick to get the juices flowing. It just sounds a bit muted to me. Other than that, everything else sounds fairly good. The score is impressive, giving us a loud and sweeping sound that always adds to the movie.
Dialogue is clear and loud, which is easy to follow if you are watching the Italian dub or the English version. Expect the usual issues with these old Italian dubbed films, but it never really brings you away from the viewing experience. There were no issues with hiss, pops, or cracks here either. The LFE is good and the dynamic range was rather wide, leaving this with a decent score.
Interview (SD, 20 Mins.) - The production manager Alessandro Calosci discusses how the film was made and some of the creative decisions that went into the final film, while praising the actors.
Booklet - Here is an 11-page booklet with pictures and an essay on the film.
'Killer Cop' does a great job building suspense throughout the film that leads to a rather good climatic end, however, the movie slows to a crawl throughout as the characters would rather talk about what to do, than actually do any work. It's a typical aspect in these older Italian films. The video and audio aspects are both decent for how old the movie is, and the one extra, being an audio commentary is worth listening to if you're interesting in the film. This is not a perfect film, but if you love these old Italian crime movies, give it a rent before purchasing.