B-Movie Night: Violent Professionals/Long Arm of the Godfather

Two films from the Big Guns Collection.

I watched Violent Professionals over a couple of sittings because a glitch on the disc about a third of the way through kept making it freeze. That, and trying to write at the same time, meant I didn’t put as much effort into following it as I should have.

A highly strung and very violent cop is suspended when he wants to investigate the murder of his boss. Adrift, he tries to work his way into the organisation responsible for the killing. This involves, amongst other things, taking over the pimping of a prostitute, stealing a vintage Rolls Royce and seducing a woman he meets in a bar who lives in a palatial squat. All of this gets the attention of the group’s semi-legitimate head man and a job as a getaway driver. Beyond that, my attention wandered. The gang were revolutionaries- rich kids funding their rebellion with robberies when they could just take the money from their own bank accounts- or they were a front for the violent clean up of the criminal classes. I’m still not sure.

However, Violent Professionals does deliver a few good car chases. Not the staid, choreographed kind delivered by Hollywood, but far rougher and more realistic. One of them even manages, though it probably wasn’t conscious, to one up the classic driving through cardboard boxes cliche by setting them on fire.

Long Arm of the Godfather opens with the hijacking of an army lorry full of guns. After the hijack, low-level thug Vincenzo steals the load from his boss Don Carmelo. Thinking he’s left the old man dead, he sets out to find a buyer for the weapons. Of course, nothing’s ever that simple, and the Don is merely badly battered rather than rotting in his destroyed Citroen. Vincenzo heads south, to set up a deal with some Arabs, and he persuades his prostitute girlfriend to join him- because he needs to pawn some of her jewellery when finances are tight. The Don is rarely more than a step and a half behind, however.

The advantage in the game of cat and mouse swings back and forth between Don Carmelo and Vincenzo, and the body count of the collateral damage keeps growing. Finally the deal is done, but the Don is far closer than Vincenzo thinks, and the showdown is inevitable.

With the exception of Vincenzo’s girlfriend, there are no characters in this film you can really feel for. You switch allegiance back and forth from the vain, striving bastard Vincenzo to the nasty, vindictive Don (described as a “Mustache Pete” in the sleeve notes) all the way through. You want the youngster to get away with his audacious plan, until it’s obvious how delusional and selfish he is. Then you want the old guard to keep their place, until you see them in action. And so it goes, round and round, so that the ending- which isn’t good for either of them- is the most satisfying one possible.