Street Law (1974)

Street Law (1974)- * * *1\2

Directed by: Enzo G. Castellari

Starring: Franco Nero, Giancarlo Prete, and Barbara Bach 

Carlo Antonelli (Nero) is a humble, but fairly well-off Genoese engineer. One day while at the bank, a gang of street toughs break in, rob the place, and assault some of the patrons. Unfortunately, Carlo is one of those unlucky customers, and the baddies even briefly kidnap him during their quest to evade the law. Carlo is profoundly changed by the experience. 

At first seeking help from the proper authorities, his anger and frustration grows and grows due to their lack of help. He decides to take matters into his own hands. Along the way he meets Tommy (Prete), a small-time thug who reluctantly agrees to help Carlo in his search for justice and revenge. Carlo also tries to enlist the help of Barbara (Bach) but her style of assistance isn’t nearly as forceful and effective as his and Tommy’s. Will Carlo track down his assailants? Find out today!

Street Law, aside from being a great and highly entertaining movie, is probably the most well-known example of Poliziotteschi in America. During the heady days of VHS, the cassette got wide distribution by VidAmerica. Most people with memories of video stores can remember that box, with the hooded thug pointing his gun at you. Sure, that guy isn’t really in the movie, and the artwork kind of takes away from the serious-minded tone of the film, but so what? Once again, director Enzo G. Castellari proves himself a master of any genre he turns his attention to, imbuing the film with a confident, competent, professional vibe that never drops the ball in the entertainment department.

Maintaining the intense, angry core of the movie is the great Franco Nero. You really feel for his character, and the violent bits have all the more impact for it. In classic Italian style, there are many insane, real stunts where it looks like dudes are seriously putting their lives at risk to entertain us. No CGI here! 

All of this is set to the incredibly beautiful background of Italy. Everything from the car chases to the few humorous asides are all directed and shot to perfection by Enzo and his team. But his trump card is getting the fabulous Guido and Maurizio DeAngelis to do the music. Their main theme is pitch-perfect and the awesomeness of this song, “Goodbye My Friend”, just raises the bar even more for the movie as a whole. Just the way the song is cued at specific parts of the movie shows a genius for editing and rhythm.

Of course, Street Law is filled with 70’s style. Sure, it’s a film relevant to the time it was made thanks to the subject matter, but the clothes, hair and home/office decor are fascinating in their own right. The prevailing style of the day seems to be to wear a sweater with a large-collared shirt underneath, with a blazer. All of which are made of different materials and designs. A lot of the exterior shots do look like it was cold out, so this probably kept everyone warm, not to mention stylish.

How can you lose with a movie about a one-man justice squad starring Franco Nero and directed by Enzo? You can’t, and the inoffensive dubbing doesn’t get in the way, plus the cool climax puts the icing on the cake. If you don’t already have it, be sure to pick up the Blue Underground DVD.

Comeuppance Review by: Brett and Ty

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