Wednesday, November 24, 2021

The Tough Ones - Grindhouse Releasing (Blu-ray/CD Combo)

Theatrical Release Date: Italy, 1976
Director: Umberto Lenzi
Writers: Umberto Lenzi, Dardano Sacchetti
Cast: Maurizio Merli, Tomas Milian, Arthur Kennedy, Giampiero Albertini, Ivan Rassimov, Biagio Pelligra, Aldo Barberito, Stefano Patrizi, Luciano Pigozzi, Maria Rosaria Omaggio, Gabriella Lepori, Maria Rosaria Riuzzi, Corrado Solari

Release Date: July 9th, 2019
Approximate running time: 93 Minutes 53 Seconds
Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1 Widescreen / 1080 Progressive / MPEG-4 AVC
Rating: R
Sound: DTS-HD Mono English, DTS-HD Mono Italian
Subtitles: English (For Italian Language, Italian Text)
Region Coding: Region Free
Retail Price: $34.95

"Maurizio Meril stars as an Italian DIRTY HARRY, punching and shooting his way through the sleazy drug, sex and crime infested cesspool of mid-'70s Rome, on the trail of a sadistic, machine gun-toting hunchback, played by Tomas Milian (THE BIG GUNDOWN)." - synopsis provided by the distributor

Video: 5/5

Here’s the information provided about this release's transfer, "Mastered in eye-popping 4K resolution for maximum detail and impact."

The Tough Ones comes on a 50 GB dual layer Blu-ray.

Disc Size: 45.9 GB

Feature: 25.3 GB

The source used for this transfer looks superb, and any source-related debris is very minimal. Image clarity, contrast, and black levels look solid throughout. Colors are nicely saturated, grains remain intact, and there are no issues with compression.

Audio: 5/5

This release comes with two audio options, a DTS-HD mono mix in English and a DTS-HD mono mix in Italian. Both the audio tracks are in great shape; the dialog comes through clearly, everything sounds balanced, the ambient sounds and the score are well-represented. Range-wise, the Italian language track sounds more robust than the English language track. There are two subtitle options for this release. There are English subtitles for the Italian language track and English subtitles for the Italian language text.

Extras:

Extras for this release are spread over two discs.

The extras on disc one include the English-language international trailer for the film under the title Assault with a Deadly Weapon (3 minutes 29 seconds, Dolby Digital mono English, no subtitles), Sybil Danning’s Action Videos (1 minute 19 seconds, Dolby Digital mono English, no subtitles), Introduction for the film (1 minute 32 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo English, no subtitles), a home video trailer for the film (33 seconds, Dolby Digital mono English, no subtitles), an archival locations featurette titled Citta’ Frpntale (22 minutes 1 second, Dolby Digital stereo Italian with removable English subtitles), an interview/conversation with director Umberto Lenzi and composer Franco Micalizzi titled Music for Mayhem (33 minutes 12 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo Italian with removable English subtitles), a documentary about Umberto Lenzi titled All Eyes on Lenzi: The Life and Times of the Italian Exploitation Titan (84 minutes 4 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo English and Italian with removable English subtitles) and an audio commentary with Mike Malloy, director of Eurocrime! The Italian Cop and Gangster Films That Ruled the ’70s.

Other extras include a Grindhouse Releasing Previews Reel that contains the following trailers: The Beyond, Pieces, Cannibal Holocaust, Cannibal Forex, Massacre Mafia Style, Gone with the Pope, An American Hippie in Israel, Corruption, The Swimmer, The Big Gundown, I Drink Your Blood, Scum of the Earth, Captive Female, Death Game, Cat in the Brain, and Ice House. These trailers can be played all together or separately.

The extras on disc two include a still gallery: Italy (13 images), Spain (14 images), Germany (4 images), U.S. (13 images) and Miscellaneous (9 images), an interview with composer Franco Micalizzi titled The Godfather of Rhythm (36 minutes 14 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo Italian with removable English subtitles), an interview with screenwriter Dardano Sacchetti titled Vodka Cigarettes and Burroughs (39 minutes 31 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo Italian with removable English subtitles), an interview with actress/costume designer Sandra Cardini titled The Rebel and the Bourgeois (19 minutes 5 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo Italian with removable English subtitles), an interview with actress Maria Rosaria Riuzzi titled Brutal City (14 minutes 12 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo Italian with removable English subtitles), an interview with actor Corrado Solari titled Corrado Armed to the Teeth (45 minutes 17 seconds, in Italian with English subtitles), an interview with actress Maria Rosaria Omaggio titled Beauty and the Beasts (29 minutes 31 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo Italian with removable English subtitles), an interview with actor Tomas Milian titled Back Story (5 minutes 54 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo English, no subtitles), an archival featurette about actor Maurizio Merli titled The Merli Connection (44 minutes 39 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo Italian with removable English subtitles), a career spanning interview with Tomas Milian titled The Rebel Within (88 minutes 50 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo English, no subtitles) and an interview with Umberto Lenzi titled Umberto (55 minutes 31 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo Italian with removable English subtitles).

This release has a few Easter Eggs. 

Disc one has the following Easter Eggs, a Spanish theatrical trailer for Cannibal Forex (4 minutes 22 seconds, Dolby Digital mono English, no subtitles), opening credits for a VHS release of The Tough Ones under the title Assault with a Deadly Weapon (2 minutes 37 seconds, Dolby Digital mono English, no subtitles), and a clip of an unnamed man who walks through Rome discussing The Tough Ones (6 minutes 13 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo Italian with removable English subtitles).

Disc two contains the flowing Easter eggs, a clip with Franco Micalizzi paying tribute to Sage Stallone (4 minutes 13 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo Italian with removable English subtitles), they had collaborated on Sage Stallone's film Vic, a brief outtake from the Tomas Milian interview titled Murasaki Milian Outtake (56 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo English, no subtitles), and an archival featurette titled Vita a Mano Armata: The Legend of the Hunchback of Quartucci (16 minutes 45 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo Italian with removable English subtitles) this extra discusses Alvaro Cosenza, the real-life Hunchback of Quartuccio, who was part of a resistance against Nazi occupying forces in Italy during World War II.

Rounding out the extras are a reversible cover, a deluxe embossed slipcover, a CD that contains composer Franco Micalizzi’s score for the film, and a twelve-page booklet with an essay titled Roma A Mano Armata, written by Roberto Curti.

Summary:

When discussing Italian genre cinema of the 1970’s, there’s no denying the importance that film scores played. Italian genre cinema has had a long history of creating memorable film scores that perfectly reinforce the mood of what’s unfolding onscreen. It should also come as no surprise that music plays such an important role in Italian genre cinema, given that the majority of the dialogue was recorded in post-production. With that being said, one could easily argue that composers’ contributions to 1970’s Italian genre cinema were on par with directors’ contributions. A case in point, Franco Micalizzi’s extraordinary The Tough Ones score does a superb job of capturing the immediacy of Inspector Tanzi’s mission to free the streets of criminals.

Throughout the 1950’s, 1960’s, 1970’s and 1980’s, Italian genre cinema inspired American cinema. And, despite the fact that the Italian westerns lasted longer than most genre cycles in Italian,By the early 1970's, American crime films like Dirty Harry and Death Wish would inspire a new Italian genre, Poliziotteschi (Italian crime films).

However, there’s no denying that American cinema may have influenced Poliziotteschi. It’s ultimately the elements that are inherently Italian that make this genre stand out from your typical clone. And in the case of Poliziotteschi cinema, at their core, they were a reflection of what was going on in Italy in the 1970’s. Another strength of Poliziotteschi's cinema is how most of these films return to elements that originated with Italian Neorealism cinema. By returning to their Italian Neorealism roots, this adds a leave of authenticity to Poliziotteschi's cinema.

From a production standpoint, The Tough Ones is a finely tuned machine that, like fine wine, gets better with more viewings. The premise of a society that’s in chaos because the laws harm law-abiding citizens by shielding criminals is superbly realized. And though some films can be seen as forward-thinking, It’s chilling how much the world of The Tough Ones represents the world we now live in. The more things change, the more they stay.

Content-wise, The Tough Ones has all the elements that have become synonymous with Poliziotteschi cinema. A hard-boiled protagonist who’s forced to work outside of the law to get results, a rogue’s gallery of colorful villains, thrilling action set pieces, and an unflinching depiction of the carnage.

The cast members all give excellent performances in their respective roles, particularly Tomas Milian's scene-stealing portrayal of a hunchback named Vincenzo Moretto. And what makes his performance all the more potent is how he initially portrays Vincenzo as a weakling who evokes sympathy before turning into a confident, cold-blooded killer.

Another performance of note is that of Maurizio Merli (Convoy Busters) in the role of this film’s protagonist, Inspector Tanzi. However, he delivers a one-note performance of a character with a one-track mind. This actually works in this film’s favor.

Other notable cast members include Arthur Kennedy (Lawrence of Arabia) in the role of Tanzi’s boss, Superintendent Ruini, Ivan Rassimov (Spasmo) in the role of a pimp named Tony Parenzo who gets his women hooked on heroin, and Maria Rosaria Omaggio (The Cop in Blue Jeans) in the role of Tanzi’s leftist girlfriend who works as a social worker.

Standout moments include a scene where Anna gets abducted by criminals who want to silence Tanzi. And to prove they mean business, they retrain her in a car that’s been placed in a junk-yard compactor. A scene where five young men who come from affluent families terrorize a couple making out in their car. After they trap the boyfriend in the car’s trunk, they then take turns raping the woman. With the scene ending with a very long and large stick, And a scene where the only thing preventing bank robbers from killing their hostages is Inspector Tanzi, who uses air ducks to enter the bank. These three moments are examples of Umberto Lenzi’s knack for creating tense, unsettling moments.

Overall, this is a spectacular release in every way. The Tough Ones have never looked or sounded better, and there’s a treasure trove of extras that leaves no stone unturned. With that being said, Grindhouse Releasing’s definitive home video presentation of The Tough Ones is the forerunner to the best release of the year, highly recommended.








Written by Michael Den Boer

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.

Giallo Essentials Collection (Yellow Edition) – Arrow Video (Blu-ray) Theatrical Release Dates: Italy, 1973 (Torso), Italy, 1974 (What Have...