Friday, July 3

Book Ramblings: Blazing Magnums by Tristan Thompson and Paul Brown

.Italian Crime Thrillers, Vol. 1
Published by Midnight Media / 2006

I must admit to being more familiar with the scores to many of these films than the films themselves. The musical accompaniment to these Italo police pictures from composers like Franco Micalizzi, Guido and Maurizio de Angelis, and Luis Bacalov is potent stuff. Perfect for growing long sideburns and angrily necking your on-and-off girlfriend as you hop into your Alfa to kick some Red Brigade scum ass...only to find the system to be corrupt from the inside. You're left despondent by the sea side, aware that winning came at a the cost of everything you held dear.

Okay, a bit of a tangent, but that's the usual template for these crime actioners. Blazing Magnums: Italian Crime Thrillers, Vol. 1 seems to set out to be more of glossy 43-page DVD insert than a truly thorough tome about the topic. This is even evident in its A5 format, being just a little wider than your standard DVD case.


The reviews tend to verve into synopsizes, which is good in some instances, but it's wasteful with readily available films like Emergency Squad and Almost Human. There are more difficult-to-find titles reviewed, like Cross Shot and Silent Action, but the writing never gives much in the way of a "proper" placement of a given film's influence in Poliziesco history. Take High Crime for example, we're told it's influential, yet any ways how with later works in the cycle are cast off to the wayside. The review concludes with a mention of Street Law, but there's no review for it! Maybe it's the alphabetical layout of the book or maybe the intent of creating another volume that speak for these annoyances.

These choices might hit home with the hardened fan, but come off as scatter shot to relative novices like myself. Popular entries like Violent Naples, Rabid Dogs, The Big Racket, and Rome Armed to the Teeth aren't reviewed. From this I also can't get too excited reading reviews for such "why?" selections like Bloody Friday, The Master Touch, and The Executors. Popular personalities like Franco Nero, Enzo G. Castellari, Tomas Milian, and Fabio Testi aren't showcased. Where's the beef, you ask? Still over at the obsessively comprehensive but sadly 100% Italian Pollanet Squad. English speakers desperately need a fleshed out reference guide and this lukewarm assemblage of reviews and DVD/VHS screen captures isn't it. I wonder if Tim Lucas is a fan of Poliziesco...

For the $10 cover price, you're better off tracking down one of the featured films or tacking on five bucks and snagging the excellent Beretta '70 compilation.
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