Rogue Cops and Racketeers: Two Crime Thrillers: The Big Racket (1976)

Both of the Enzo G. Castellari movies on Rogue Cops and Racketeers: Two Crime Thrillers push action further than anything we’ll see on screens this year, both films backed with brutality and danger both in the film and in making it, as there are no computers to make these stunts look like they’re spitting in death’s face. They’re all real, all true, pure guts and balls and power.

Nico Palmieri (Fabio Testi) is one man against a crime syndicate that starts with robbing a small town and charging them protection money, but has aims much higher. Nico’s hands are tied by the system so he forms his own squad of vigilantes who have each been damaged by the mob: a criminal named Pepe (Vincent Gardenia); Piero Mazzarelli (Glauco Onorato), who has been crippled by the gang; Luigi Giulti (Renzo Palmer), whose daughter was raped by the gang and who then committed suicide (this scene is Death Wish brutal and it’s even worse when you realize that it’s Castellari’s daughter Stefania playing the role), Gianna Rossetti (Orso Maria Guerrini), an Olympic marksman whose wife Anna was assaulted and killed by the mob — after they urinate all over her and set his house on fire, making them beyond Death Wish 3 goons — and the mercenary Doringo (Romano Puppo).

Nico’s lost his badge to take down crime. Will his gang be able to stop the crimewave?

There’s a scene where Testi is in a car that goes down a hill. We watch it slowly fall apart and glass flies directly at the actor and it looks truly harrowing because, well, it was. When you don’t have budgets and you don’t have time and all you have is guts, you shoot the movie.

The end of this movie is apocalyptic. Bullets fly, cars explode, fire is everywhere and by the end, even the shotgun that Testi grips can’t solve everything. His rage closes the movie, as crime doesn’t go away just because you’re a good man trying to save the world.

The Arrow Video limited edition of Rogue Cops and Racketeers: Two Crime Thrillers has this movie and The Heroin Busters. Both films have brand new 2K restorations from the original 35mm camera negatives by Arrow Films, with restored original lossless mono Italian and English soundtracks and newly translated English subtitles for the Italian soundtracks. Both movies aso have new audio commentaries on both films by critics Adrian J. Smith and David Flint and the limited edition packaging has reversible sleeves featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Colin Murdoch, as well as an illustrated collector’s booklet featuring new writing on the films by Roberto Curti and Barry Forshaw. If that’s not enough, you also get twelve double-sided, postcard-sized lobby card reproduction artcards.

The Big Racket also has new video interviews with co-writer/director Enzo G. Castellari, Fabio Testi, Massimo Vanni and editor Gianfranco Amicucci. There’s also a new appreciation and career retrospective of composers Guido and Maurizio De Angelis by musician and disc collector Lovely Jon, a trailer and image gallery.

You can get Rogue Cops and Racketeers: Two Crime Thrillers from MVD and Diabolik DVD.

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