Roma a mano armata (1976)

Genres - Crime, Drama, Mystery  |   Sub-Genres - Detective Film, Police Detective Film  |   Run Time - 105 min.  |   Countries - Italy  |   MPAA Rating - R
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Roma A Mano Armata, better known to American viewers as Assault With A Deadly Weapon, is a memorably outrageous example of the Italian crime film. From the opening frames, it digs its hooks into the viewer and doesn't let go: there's a nominal plot about the police tracking down a crime kingpin but that's the really an excuse for a string of breathless comic-book displays of crime and action that play to the audience's cravings for Dirty Harry-style street justice. The results are brutal and often outlandish (like a scene where Tomas Milian is forced to eat a bullet) but Umberto Lenzi's energetic and stylish direction ensures that they are never dull. Better yet, the film is driven by a pair of intense, charismatic performances that live up to the material's larger than life style: Maurizio Merli brings plenty of energy and emotional firepower to his cop-hero role and Tomas Milian has a blast hamming it up as the film's hunchbacked main villain. In short, Roma A Mano Armata is not for the arthouse set but its exhilarating, grindhouse-friendly style is guaranteed to please the b-movie set.