From The Grindhouse Cinema Database
Back in the 70's, there were lots of awesome Euro-Crime and Poliziotteschi flicks. The most interesting elements of this genre included insane car chases, plot twists, funky soundtracks, and cool shootouts. Although there are lots of movies in this genre, there's one that is more prominent from the others. It's called The Burglars (a.k.a. Le casse). The reason I totally love this film is because the car chase sequence is totally INSANE. I'll talk about that later, but let's get into the plot first.
The premise is simple: A group of burglars steal an emerald collection from someone else's home. Unfortunately, Amed, a police inspector (played by Omar Shariff) knows about this and decides to chase them. Amed doesn't want to send these criminals to jail, he just wants the emeralds. In fact, Amed goes so far that he negotiates the deal with the criminals. Amed presents the gang with an offer: if they give him the emeralds, he'll let them go. Of course, the gang deny that and the chase begins.
Although it sounds thrilling, modern audiences may find it slightly boring due to slow pacing. The first 20 minutes is nothing but the gang trying to get the vault's code by using their high-tech equipment. Also, while Amed dosn't chase the gang, there are other subplots going on. For instance, the leader of the gang, Azad, falls in love with another girl although he already has a girlfriend. These subplots not only make things more interesting but are also funny as hell. For example, there's a scene in which Azad goes to some sort of illegal strip club. Whenever the cops are around the club's operator will "spin" the stage to hide the sexual dance show and another group dance to some lame songs instead. There's a scene in which the operator spins the stage too frequently due to an undercover cop entering the club. It's funny to see the dancers' reaction as well.
But let's not forget about the main attraction of this movie: action scenes. They range from a badass interrogation scene to an exciting car chase. As I told you, this film has the most awesome car chase in the history of mankind (shame on you, Bullitt!). It's the scene in which Amed chases the gang into the street. From the heart of the city to the beautiful countryside, the chase goes on for about 9 minutes! The stunt work here is superb because stuntmen managed to drive a Fiat 124 (burglar's car) and a Opel Rekord (Amed's car) not only on a different terrain (from oil-covered roads to an underground path) but they use lots of techniques while driving like drifting and 180-degree spinning. Ultimately, it's the car chase that sums up every other car chase sequence in the history of cinema. Plus, it uses no CGI at all. I guarantee that Hollywood won't make anything like this for sure.
So who's gonna get the emeralds? The thieves or the (corrupted) cops? I can't spoil the movie for sure. But what I can tell you is the fact this movie is pretty hard to find now. As far as I know, there are two ways to watch it. Either YouTube (which is the way I watched it) or Alfa Digital's DVD, but the image quality isn't as good as it should be. From what I've heard, the Alfa Digital DVD uses faded 35mm prints that has scratches. I think Sony Pictures, the company that holds the rights in this film, should release it properly so younger generations can see not only a cool Euro-Crime movie, but also the greatest car chase of all time. Recommended!
Nuttawut Permpithak hails from Thailand. He spends his free time watching exploitation films (or any films from the past) writing articles, taking photos and reviewing films for GCDb.