The Tough Ones (Rome Armed to the Teeth/Roma a Mano Armata): Deluxe Edition (1976) [2 Blu-Ray/CD]

“The Tough Ones” is one of the pair of films that Umberto Lenzi directed that spotlighted the character Tanzi, a man almost driven mad by his need to thwart crime at every corner.  Tanzi is something of a great scale anti-hero who spends a lot of his time tracking down a petty thug who is very much a creep and noting very spectacular. Tanzi inspects this crime and chases the criminals like his life depends on it. He spends a majority of the film talking through gritted teeth and shouting at just about everyone and he almost always is on the verge of hurting someone. Tanzi is not meant to be a hero or even a heroic vigilante so much as he’s the corrupt law that’s hell bent on taking down the larger criminal element including Tony Parenzo (Ivan Rassimov) and his efforts to create an underground criminal network.

Along the way there are sub-plots involving a hit and run driver, a motorcycle thief and a lot of overtones about how the system failed them. The narrative becomes even more complicated when The Police Commissioner (Giampiero Albertini) is introduced and establishes himself at yet another terrible criminal element. Despite the inherent novelty of seeing Umberto Lenzi’s thriller on Blu-Ray, “The Tough Ones” is not a very good movie. It’s over the top, rough around the edges, and makes fodder like “Dirty Harry” and “Death Wish” look subtle. The Blu-ray release from Grindhouse Releasing features an exclusive new 4K restoration of the Unrated Director’s Cut of The Tough Ones, 94 minutes in length.

This new release from Grindhouse Releasing is packed to the brim, as Disc One comes with a new commentary by Mike Malloy, director of Eurocrime, who discusses the characteristics of “The Tough Ones,” the film’s distribution history, and much more. “All Eyes on Lenzi: The Life and Times of the Italian Exploitation Titan” is an eighty five minute documentary amassing the body of work by Umberto Lenzi that he left, and his defining qualities in his work and cinematic style. Included in it are clips from archival interviews with the late director, academic/critic Dr. Calum Waddell, academic Mikel Koven (University of Worcester), and critic John Martin, amongst others. “Music for Mayhem” is a thirty four minute filmed (and very informative, in depth) conversation with Umberto Lenzi and composer Franco Micalizzi, both of whom discuss their professional relationship, their work on “The Tough Ones.”

They discuss how the soundtrack emphasizes the narrative and suspense. Subtitles included. “Citta’ Frpntale” is a twenty two minute archival documentary focusing on the role of big Italian cities in the film, and the classic genre films included in various Italian films over the century. There’s the international trailer, the home video trailer for the VHS, and the two minute “Sybil Danning’s Action Videos Intro,” a great vintage promo from the VHS era for violent genre entries promoted the one and only Sybil Danning. Finally there’s the Grindhouse Reel with a large collection of classic films from the Grindhouse Releasing catalog.

Disc Two includes “Umberto” a fifty six minute segment with Lenzi who reveals some of the directors and films that inspired him to director. There are also a lot of details about his popular films, including “The Tough Ones.” The eighty nine minute “The Rebel Within” is a segment with late cult actor Tomas Milian who discusses his childhood years in Havana, the influence of big stars like James Dean and Marlon Brando on him, escaping Cuba, becoming an actor, and the characters he’s played over the years. “The Merli Connection” is an archival documentary paying tribute to the late actor Maurizio Merli who played character Inspect Tanzi in Lenzi’s “The Tough Ones” and “The Cynic,” The Rat and the Fist.” and many other films considered cult classics today.

There are archival interviews with Enzo G. Castellari (Street Law), director Ruggero Deodato (Cannibal Holocaust), and director Marco Manetti (The 17th Floor), amongst others, Subtitles included. “Back Story” is a six minute archival interview from 2011 with Tomas Milian who discusses the nasty character he played in “The Tough Ones,” the hunchback Vincenzo Moretto. “Beauty and the Beasts” is a new video interview with Maria Rosaria Omaggio who played character Inspector Tanzi’s girlfriend in “The Tough Ones” and recalls how she entered show business, film business, working witnh Lenzi, and the rest of the cast. “Corrado Armed to the Teeth”is a new forty six minute video interview with Corrado Solari who played Albino and recalls his experience with director Lenzi during the shoot of the film, and his comments on Tomas Milian’s preparation including his dependence on vodka and cocaine.

“Brutal City” is a new fifteen minute video interview with Maria Rosaria Riuzzi who plays Paola; she discusses her short time in the Italian film industry, genre films, and shooting “The Tough Ones.” “The Rebel and the Bourgeois” is a new twenty minute video interview with actor and costume designer Sandra Cardini who discusses Tomas Milian, how he helped her get her part in the film, his working methods, and private life. “Vodka Cigarettes and Burroughs” is a new forty minute interview with screenwriter Dardano Sacchetti who discusses his professional relationship with Umberto Lenzi, and their collaboration on “The Tough Ones.” Next there’s “The Godfather of Rhythm” a new thirty seven minute video interview with composer Franco Micalizzi who discusses his musical background, his work in the film industry, and the soundtrack he created for “The Tough Ones.” There are a large collection of promotional materials for “The Tough Ones” all of which come from Italy, Spain, Germany, the United States, and many more countries.

Among the physical extras, there’s a bonus CD soundtrack from the film with Franco Micalizzi’s original soundtrack for The Tough Ones, which has been fully remastered by Eliot Kissileff. There are a total of 17 full tracks. Licensed by Beat Recrords Company Srl. There’s a ten page illustrated booklet with critic Roberto Curti’s essay “Roma a Mano Armata” as well as credits for the film. There’s a reversible cover with new cover art, and art from the vintage poster for the US reissue of the film retitled “Assault with a Deadly Weapon.” Finally the first 2500 units will get a shiny, custom, collectible 30-caliber metal bullet pen that comes packed in the Blu-Ray case.