When people say “they don’t make them like they used to” this can mean many things. There are those that think cinema stopped circa 1979 with no movies of any merit coming out after that date. Others wont watch anything made before 2000 because they think old movies are slow and boring and probably all in black and white.
Neither of the above is correct however it is true that we all hold preconceptions about films from other periods that kick in even before the credits start, even a seasoned review like myself. A prime example was my prejudice towards Silent Action the 1975 crime thriller made by Sergio Martino, the legendary Italian filmmaker behind giallo classics Torso, The Strange Vice of Mrs Wardh and All the Colours of the Dark.
With its opening cataloging the killings of several high ranking military officials I assumed a distinct slow down action wise for the majority of the rest of movie while the police procedural kicked in and the convoluted plot unfolded however I was completely mistaken.
In fact the title Silent Action betrays the mad momentum of this loud and proud action packed movie which twists and turns more than many modern crime thrillers right up until its tragic and shocking climax in the final frames.
Part of the crime sub-genre named Poliziotteschi which popped up in the late 60’s and gained popularity till its height in the 70’s, Silent Action features all the staples and themes that where firmly established in the genre at the time including brutal violence, crazy car chases and vigilantism coupled with a sinister story of high level corruption.
With the majority of Poliziotteschi’s made in Italy during a time of increasing crime rates and socio-political turmoil the story, which swipes element from reality including the Golpe Borghese, follows Inspector Giorgio Solmi (Luc Merenda from The Violent Professionals) a working class cop caught up in a spiralling investigation that starts out as a murder case and ends up with implications to take down the entire Italian government.
Starting out with just one body and whilst avoiding the bureaucratic red tape laid down by the interfering District Attorney slowly Inspector Solmi follows the clues which take him onto a path including a high class madam, a prostitute in danger and the secret service. Finally with the help of his girlfriend who is a reporter, he realises the dead military men are also involved as well as some very dangerous Far Right extremist terrorists who he must track down before they can enact their dangerous plan in full.
What works so well is the power packed pace with every scene featuring a gun fight, explosion, chase scene or other entertaining action making sure the audience are never bored and keeping them on the edge of their seat waiting with bated breath for the next deadly plot twist to take place.
Making a global HD debut thanks to Fractured Visions the 2K restoration of Silent Action (which was also known by the more clunky title The Police Accuse: The Secret Service Kill) comes packed with extras including commentary on Eurocrime fandom by filmmaker Mike Malloy, interviews with director Sergio Martino, actor Luc Merenda and composer Luciano Michelini as well as the original soundtrack CD and a special collector’s booklet with new essays by Eugenio Ercolani and Francesco Massaccesi.
Perfect for Poliziotteschi obsessives or anyone with an eye for Italian action movies Silent Action is a hard hitting and extremely entertaining movie that proves films from any time period can still pack one hell of a punch.