Violent Naples (1976)

A Special Cop in Action

Barrelling into the cinema a mere 7 months after the first film comes the follow-up to Violent Rome. Violent Naples sees Merli return as Inspector Betti shaking down the criminal underworld with his unconventional methods that his superiors dislike, however begrudgingly admit they get results. Violent Naples also goes by the title Death Dealers and Sudden Justice.

There is much discussion of the final moments of the first film in the franchise and this film would be more fittingly viewed as a prequel to Violent Rome. Betti quit the job as a cop in the first film and joined a vigilante crusade to combat the rising criminal element. Violet Naples sees Betti still as a cop relocating to Naples and within minutes Betti is dispensing justice and has a local crime boss on his radar. Betti’s love interest is nowhere in sight and his methods, well known to the commissioner, are discussed.

Umberto Lenzi helms this entry and excels bringing his own kinetic energy to the pacing. Lenzi keeps the film tight and lean, resembling the first whilst adding to this already rich fabric. A couple of terrific motorcycle chases are inserted in a race against the clock and prove to be a wild and memorable ride for the audience.

To be fair, Violet Naples seems like a retread of Violent Rome, however, Merli steps out of the way for stuntman Giovanni Cianfriglia to lead a portion of the film and one of the more impressive and scenic action sequences.

The plot of Violent Naples initially seems like nothing new, starting with the kidnapping and rape of a woman. However, it quickly escalates into a plot that sees two feuding mob bosses attempting to take each other down. Along the way a spat of bank robberies occur at the same time a suspect is signing into the police station on parole and it’s up to Betti to link it all together and … well… kill all of them.

John Saxon adds a familiar face to the thrills, running and ducking out of the action sequences. Sheriff Pat Garret from The Tall Man Barry Sulllivan is the Mafioso crime lord and making the most of the role. The film features the noteworthy scoring of the strike in the bowling alley. Violent Rome’s slimy Luciano Rossi returns in another equally slimy role alongside Silvano Tranquilli who get the movie going together.

Merli is back on form as Betti and obviously enjoying the character, slapping criminals around and getting into all kinds of scrapes along the way. Merli throws himself into the physically demanding roll and the climactic funicular train sequence that benefits greatly from his willingness.

Proving that Betti had a lighter side, Merli has some scenes with child actor Massimo Deda who plays Gennarino, the kid with a limp and son of a mechanic, who Betti bonds with during the film and ultimately affects Betti’s choices as the film moves on. Gennarino would become a familiar character in a few different movies, first appearing in this, then becoming a pinnacle part of the spin off Weapons of Death and rounding out a trilogy with 1980’s The Report Card. Neither film pays attention to the events of the others.

Violent Naples is easily on par with Violent Rome. Both are a perfect example of how terrific the Italian copy action movies could be and especially when you consider the quick turnaround on this film. Betti’s story would have yet more excitement in the next instalment A Special Cop In Action.

Artwork is gorgeous with the original Italian art featuring their new favourite star Merli dispensing justice. US releases saw John Saxon thrown onto the cover to help appeal to the audience there… and most confusingly, Stuart Whitman from Shadows in an Empty Room?

As stated with Violent Rome, Violent Naples is hard to find right now, being taken off of streaming services like Amazon and Google.
With VHS and DVD copies increasing in value it might be better to wait for a boutique Blu Ray company to release these in HD or better.


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