Aside from having some serious crime troubles, Rome has another problem to deal with: Two cynical, daredevil coppers are loose in the city, making various criminals meet their maker in a free-for-all manner. Needless to say the word “justice” isn’t too far up on their priority list.
You just know you’re in for one hell of a thrill-ride when the movie you’re watching opens with a 10-minutes-long chase sequence on motorcycles, through the crowd-infested streets of Rome and ending with a shocking execution that truly goes against all the rules of ethically correct police work. ‘Live Like A Cop, Die Like A Man’ is a work of genuine 70′s exploitation, scripted by the multi-talented Fernando Di Leo and directed by the almighty Ruggero Deodato. The man is, without a doubt and hands down, the king of Italian exploitation cinema! A couple of years before he dedicated himself to notorious jungle adventures like ‘Jungle Holocaust’ aka ‘Last Cannibal World’ (1977), ‘Cut and Run’ (1985) and of course his ultimate masterpiece ‘Cannibal Holocaust’ (1980) and gained recognition with his brutal revenge-horror ‘House on the Edge of the Park’ (1980), Deodato made his one and only “Polizieschi” movie, but it’s definitely memorable & unique enough to rank among the best in the sub genre.
‘Live Like A Cop, Die Like A Man’ is an indescribably sadistic and cynical film and it’s very different from the usual efforts in the “Polizieschi” genre. These raw and explicit Italian crime-thrillers always introduce macho cop characters that shoot first and ask questions later, but at least they usually have good reasons for their very unorthodox investigation techniques. They either want to avenge a murdered friend or colleague, or they’re on a tight time schedule to rescue kidnapped children or recover a stolen treasure. Fred (Marc Porel) and Tony (Ray Lovelock), the two protagonists in Deodato‘s film, are different. They simply cross the thin line between justice and delinquency because they enjoy it! Much more than any other entry in the Polizieschi sub genre, ‘Live Like A Cop, Die Like A Man’ glorifies extreme violence and nearly encourages people to take justice into their own hands. Fred and Tony terminate unarmed & defenseless gangsters, force female suspects into having sex with them, burn down fancy cars and invade private clubs for no real reason and they carelessly endanger the lives of civilians. And whilst they’re performing their “jobs”, they never for one second stop to pay attention to their good playboy-looks and macho charisma.
This film is fast-paced and multiple isolated sequences are terrific (The hostage situation! The bank robbery!), but the script as a whole sadly lacks continuity and depth. There’s no actual plot, as Fred & Tony are simply hunting down Rome’s biggest crime boss, Roberto Pasquini (Renato Salvatori), and they eliminate a lot of his accomplices and random street scum during their ‘assignment’. Most other Polizieschi flicks have a slightly more intelligent script, but ‘Live Like A Cop, Die Like A Man’ primarily benefices from sickening violence, gratuitous sleaze and unscrupulous controversy. The editing is sharp, the lurid 70′s music is fabulous and Deodato‘s firm direction is brilliant and ultimately praiseworthy. I read somewhere that the motorcycle chases amidst crowded shopping streets and during broad daylight were filmed without official permission [actually, police officers were payed to look the other way while shooting their action sequences -- RS]. Your name simply has to be Ruggero Deodato if you risk endangering the lives of unsuspecting civilians only to shoot credible and realistic footage of Rome!
Watch the complete movie in Italian on YouTube.