Live Like A Cop Die Like A Man

Dir: Ruggero Deodato, 1976. Starring: Marc Porel, Ray Lovelock, Adolfo Celi. Cult.
Live Like A Cop Die Like A Man
As someone who manages the “cult” section in our Hollywood location, I pride myself on both the knowledge I have of these films, as well as the immaculate organization I strive to maintain in all of the sub-sections within “cult”. (Psst… they’re alphabetized!) But of all those sub-categories, the one I know the least about is “Poliziotteschi”. Simply put, these films are a sub-genre of Italian crime and action movies that emphasize the brutal and over-the-top violence; much in the same way that “giallo” films are a series of Italian horror murder/mysteries with similar aesthetics. So I’ve always wanted to delve in and see what these “Poliziotteschi” movies were all about.

With a kick-ass title like Live Like A Cop Die Like A Man, this seemed like the ideal candidate as an introduction; after all, it carries a tremendous amount of horror pedigree with it. It was directed by Ruggero Deodato, most well known for his controversial horror classic Cannibal Holocaust. It stars Marc Porel who appeared in Lucio Fulci’s Don’t Torture A Duckling and The Psychic, as well as Ray Lovelock who also worked with Fulci in Murder Rock and appeared in the Spanish zombie flick Let Sleeping Corpses Lie. The screenplay was written by Fernando Di Leo who is well known for penning the scripts for a chunk of these “Poliziottechi” films. And then when my buddy Zane Grant (a fellow “giallo” enthusiast) started explaining to me the plot (and I use that term lightly) of this movie, I honestly couldn’t believe what he was telling me could possibly be true. I had to see this for myself. And sure enough, it’s as insane as he’d described.

Live Like A Cop Die Like A Man is filled with so much bat-shit lunacy that I literally had to stop it every 10 minutes because my brain couldn’t comprehend what I’d just seen. I defy anyone to tell me the actual “plot” to this movie, because it honestly seems like two cops out and about getting themselves into random violent incident after incident! Let me attempt to describe two scenes for you, that way you’ll know what you’re in for with this one.

In the opening of the movie, two thugs on a motorcycle attempt to snatch a purse from an unsuspecting woman on the street. They snatch it alright and start riding down the street with the woman still clutching onto her purse as if she were clutching onto it for dear life. Now, let me just make this clear – the thugs successfully got the purse and strap off of her shoulder, so the woman is literally holding onto the end of the strap, meaning that she can easily let go at any time and avoid any kind of injury if she wanted to. But no, instead she holds on for several minutes until they accidently slam her head into a street pole. Now she’s got her death grip on the purse and won’t let go even post-mortem. One thug jumps off the bike and starts kicking her in an attempt to get her to give the bag up! Our two hero cops Fred and Tony pull up on their motorcycle, the thugs freak out and take off leaving both the purse and woman behind, hence making their entire crime pointless. One cop jumps off and “borrows” another bike off the back of the truck while the other pops a wheelie down a busy city street and in pursuit of the perpetrators. What follows is an intense and frenetic motorcycle chase through the streets of Rome where at one point, the criminals mow down a seeing-eye god (!) as a blind man tries to cross the street! The blind man, unaware of what just happened, calls out for his dog in the middle of the street, “I can’t do anything without my seeing-eye dog!” Now that’s just mean-spirited! And finally the chase ends with a crash that kills one of the perps and leaves the other one severely injured on the sidewalk. But not for too long as our “hero” cop walks over, helps him sit up, and then snaps his neck. Let me re-clarify. THIS IS THE OPENING SCENE OF THE MOVIE!!! And according to the back of the DVD box, these Italian lunatics filmed this on a regular busy city street in Rome without any permits!

OK, need more convincing? How ‘bout the “hostage” scene a bit later in the movie. OK, so these three criminals are holed up in a house after having killed three hostages and they’re keeping the last one alive. I honestly have no idea what the hell they want or why they’re taking hostages to begin with, but now they’re demanding a getaway car. Our heroes Fred and Tony arrive on the scene and suggest using a helicopter to distract the criminals while they’re trying to escape so it’ll force them back into the house so that they can both go bursting in there with all their guns a blazin’?! At least I think that’s what they’re suggesting because for whatever reason, the regular police don’t want to rush the place and actually do their jobs. OK, so the criminals are making an attempt to flee the house with their one hostage in tow. By the way, they all have machine guns. Suddenly a helicopter hovers overhead. They suspect something is up! They demand the police tell them to back off! And the commissioner just says, “Not our problem. We can’t contact them.” Whaaaaa?! Alright, so they retreat back into the house, Fred (or is it Tony? Oh, what does it matter?) comes bursting through the slide door on his motorcycle and opens fire on the hostage-taking scum! One guy even throws his arms up in the air and screams “I surrender! I surrender!” But… BLAM! He takes a bullet between the eyes.

So that’s the basic gist of this movie. Lots of random violence from probably the two worst and most morally corrupt Italian cops ever put in a movie and a bunch of random scenes that I’m not quite sure how or why they even connect. Oh, and for two guys who are arguably some of the biggest male chauvinists ever depicted on screen, they sure do have an awfully err… homo-erotic relationship with each other. Seeing is believe, folks. Check this one out with some friends for a wacky good time.

Fun fact: If you dig Live Like A Cop Die Like A Man, Raro Video put out a “Crime Collection” boxed set last year which features four more “Poliziottechi” films, all written by Fernando Di Leo. Caliber 9, The Italian Connection, The Boss, and Rulers Of The City.
Posted by:
Rob Galluzzo
Mar 27, 2012 8:40am
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