May 25, 2023

CONVOY BUSTERS: Two Stories in One

1978 / 100 min
Review by Fluffy the Fearless😼

Convoy Busters has nothing to do with truckers, smokeys, bandits or C.B. radios. But the ‘70s were when such things were part of American culture, and the Italian film industry being what it was back then, capitalizing on such a trend with a nifty title was probably a no-brainer.

It’s actually a poliziotteschi film - and a pretty decent one, at that - featuring Maurizio Matteo Merli, who pretty much eeked out his living in the genre. He plays Francesco Olmi, a hard-ass Dirty Harry-type whose investigation of a brutal murder leads to the mob and corrupt officials. Unfortunately, he shoots the wrong guy and gets reassigned to another city. 

Oddly enough, that storyline is completely dropped without ever being resolved. Olmi’s now the police chief in a quiet coastal town where not much happens. Other than roughing up a few bullies and charming local schoolteacher Anna (Olga Karlatos), Olmi’s typical brand of badassery isn’t really needed…at least until he begins to suspect the local fishing business is actually a complex weapons smuggling operation.  

Merli & co-star.
So we’re essentially getting two stories in one, neither having any impact on the other, almost as though director Stelvio Massi realized the murder plot wasn’t going anywhere and decided to spruce things up. Thus, the second half of the film is far more interesting, especially when depicting the elaborate steps the smugglers use to protect shipments (which includes altering the programming on the local TV channel). 

Of course, no film in the poliziotteschi genre would be complete without copious gunplay, brawling and chases, all of which Convoy Busters delivers with workmanlike efficiency (though overall, it’s less lurid than other films of its ilk). And while Merli was never mistaken for a master thespian, he’s undeniably effective as a no-nonsense ass-kicker. 


“MAURIZIO MERLI: A LETHAL HUNTER OF SUBTLE VARIATION” - A highly amusing (and slightly snarky) appreciation by Mike Malloy. 

NEW INTERVIEWS - Individual interviews with Merli’s son and co-writer Danilo Massi.

ARCHIVE INTERVIEWS - Individual interviews with journalists Eolo Capacci, directors Ruggero Deodato & Enzo G. Castellari, actors Maurizio Matteo Merli & Enio Girolami.

AUDIO COMMENTARY - By Mike Malloy & Mike Martinez.

No comments: