Destruction Force (1977)

Country: Italy
Original Title: La Banda del trucido
Director: Stelvio Massi
Starring: Luc Merenda, Tomas Milian, Elio Zamuto, Franco Citti, Katia Christine, Rosario Borelli
Music: Bruno Canfora

Destruction Force is another poliziotteschi, and despite the title, there really is no “force” involved. By that I mean, it’s not a tough band of men within the police department who make up ‘The Destruction Force’. There is physical force in the form of Luc Merenda who beats up on quite a few people. There’s one great scene where the villain has the jump on Merenda, and has him don a set of handcuffs. Does this stop Merenda? No way! He kicks the crap out of the villain.

The movie opens with a nifty pre-credit sequence where a family are being held hostage in their apartment by three drug fuelled, gun toting punks. Detective Ghini (Luc Merenda) is called to the scene and tries to negotiate with the hoodlums. They demand a car in twenty minutes. This doesn’t give Ghini much time. Also the drug induced high is wearing off the punks and they are starting to get agitated. Ghini has two officers shoot the front door lock and go in, while he swings down from the roof on a rope and blasts through the window.

Meanwhile there has been another shooting across town. The bandits involved have escaped, but in the act they have shot and killed the Police Chief of Crime. He is the sixth cop to die in the line of duty during the year.

A shaggy Tomas Milian plays Monnezza, who is a returning character from the prequel to this film; Umberto Lenzi’s Free Hand For A Tough Cop (which I haven’t seen). Here Monnezza runs a restaurant which specialises in insulting the patrons. Apparently the tourists enjoy being abused by the Romans. It adds a little colour to their dining experience. Monnezza also runs a gang of anti-violence criminals. They like to steal things the old fashioned way, without guns or violence.

Monnezza is approached by a crim called Gianni. Gianni is a second tier gangster working for a guy named Belli (Elio Zamuto). Belli is planning a diamond heist. Gianni needs a driver for Belli’s heist. On the proviso that the heist will not be violent and no guns involved, Mannezza puts forward his childhood friend ‘Frog’ to do the driving.

After the death of the Police Chief of Crime, Ghini is offered the position. He says he will take it on the condition that he is allowed to clean up the streets his way – no questions asked. His methods are quickly on display in a billiard parlour when a gang of hoods hinder his apprehension of a criminal. He takes the hoods apart with a billiard cue.

With ‘Frog’ driving, Belli, Gianni and another hood attempt their planned diamond heist. Apparently it wasn’t planned too well, as the couriers vehicle had bullet proof glass. The heist is a flop and Belli plans to try again in another way, on another day. As robbery involved guns, ‘Frog’ wants out of the deal, and refuses to drive again for Belli. For his trouble, he is executed.

Not only does this execution stir Ghini into action, it also angers Monnezza. Until this point Monnezza has been an a ‘old school’ crim, but now he has been pushed to use violence. So not only does Belli have the police force after him, he also has Monnezza and his gang.

Destruction Force, while maybe not as viscerally heart pounding like some other Eurocrime films is still very solid entertainment. It has a good selection of characters and a story that you can actually follow for once. Milian seems to be having a great time playing Monnezza and has some amusing monologues with Monnezza junior, his baby son. Merenda is a good dashing hero type and throws a punch well.

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