Crime Busters

Crime Busters (1976)
Somerville House
Cast: Bud Spencer, Terence Hill, Laura Gemser
Extras: Interview, Trailers, Teasers

Bud Spencer and Terence Hill never really made it big in the US but when I grew up in Europe, their films were typically some of the most adored fan fare. People – myself included – would flock into theaters to see their latest exploits as they typically fisted their way through legions of baddies with a wink in their eyes. I hadn't seen any of their movies since the 80s and had completely forgotten about them to be honest. When I suddenly found Somerville House's DVD version of "Crime Busters" on my desk I knew I had to give the disc a check-up.

Walsh (Bud Spencer) and Matt (Terence Hill) are two losers at the end of their ropes. Trying to get jobs in Miami nothing seems to work out for them. So one day they decide to rob a convenience store, right after a money drop-off. They make a wrong turn and end up right in the recruiting office of the Miami Police. Unable to turn back they enlist and actually begin to enjoy their work. In uniform they are suddenly people of respect and can do good things – meaning things that are good for them, not necessarily the public they serve.

I have to be frank with you, the film is actually worse than I remember, so I will chalk this one up as a guilty pleasure. Using an Italian cast and shot on location in Miami, the film still has a typical Italian feel throughout – including a dub that is sometimes pretty out of sync and feels a bit awkward sometimes. The story drags a bit and while it is an action comedy the story is a bit weak and without real highlights other than the fist fights which were, of course, the trademark of a Bud Spencer and Terence Hill movie.

Somerville House is presenting the movie in an anamorphic widescreen version on the is DVD in its original 1.78:1 widescreen aspect ratio. The image quality is serving the movie's purpose but is never overly impressive nor really disappointing. It is safely floating in the middle making for a viewing that never distracts but is also without visual highlights. Colors are a bit muted and bland, which is most likely a deliberate reflection of the original production. Black levels could be a little deeper
to give the image better depth and an increased bitrate could have helped with the loss of detail in certain shots but overall it's a presentable experience without major flaws.

The audio comes via a Dolby Stereo audio track in English, French and Spanish. The track has a limited frequency response and sounds a bit harsh at times. The mix is also a bit uneven with the music being fairly loud in one scene while being undermixed in the next one. That is a result of the film's original mix and not the DVD's fault but since many studio remix soundtracks for DVD release these days, this one would have been a prime candidate for remastering. Sadly the disc also comes without any subtitles or closed-captions.

As extras you will find an interview with Bud Spencer on the disc that seems to be fairly recent. It consist of a few short clips in which he answers a few questions about his career and collaboration with Terence Hill, as well as their success as a team especially in Europe. Trailers for other Bud Spencer and Terence hill movies are included on the disc as well as "Funny In Any Language," a great collage of teaser trailers for other films that the duo made.

As I mentioned earlier you have to put "Crime Busters" down as a guilty pleasure but it was fun for me nonetheless. A lot of it had to do with the fond memories I had for the movie which was particularly evidenced by my wife not getting much of anything out of the movie.

Depending on your affinity to the genre and Bud Spencer and Terence Hill in particular, your mileage on this release may vary. But then again, for $14.98 you can't really go wrong.