Free Hand for a Tough Cop Blu-ray Review (Severin Films’ Violent Streets Boxset)

Tough cop, goofy Milian

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The third film in Umberto Lenzi’s collaboration with Tomas Milian is a poliziottesco that… for fuck’s sake, yeah it’s a kidnapping plot again. In all honesty Free Hand for a Tough Cop has a lot of similarities to their first outing Almost Human; Milian is still playing a criminal, Henry Silva’s here albeit as the main antagonist, and there’s a detective devoted to solving the kidnapping because this time, the little girl has a kidney condition and she’ll die if she’s not delivered to a hospital in a certain amount of time. However, Lenzi’s direction and Dardano Sacchetti’s script set this film in a unique alternate universe where Milian is actually a fairly respectable punk who is roped into the kidnapping investigation by undercover detective Sarti (Claudio Cassinelli) because he has the connections to the kidnapping syndicate led by Brescianelli (Silva).

Free Hand for a Tough Cop has a surprising amount of action for this slow-boil film about finding young Camilla, and Lenzi’s penchant for directing high-speed chases, frenetic shootouts, and even spaghetti western-esque suspense all come together for an enjoyable, if perhaps a bit forgettable, procedural. Milian is definitely the standout here, since he gets to enact many of his unique facial expressions and even gets to infiltrate various operations as a painter, street preacher, and sheep farmer, to name a few. 

Interestingly, Free Hand for a Tough Cop treats its criminals with a bit of reverence, particularly Milian’s Garbage Can – he’s a criminal with a big heart. The other tough guys Sarti works with are much more vicious, and at one point Sarti is challenged in his role since he can’t quell his new colleagues’ violence and predilection for rape. While Lenzi’s direction can at times be lighthearted, it also has a certain mean streak to it; there’s a pretty ingeniously depraved heist technique featuring a brick in a tissue box, attempted rapes, various talk of killing a sickly young girl, and a lot more. If you like your poliziotteschi served with a good dose of brutality, look no further than this one.


Severin Films’ Blu-ray, part of the Violent Streets boxset, comes with a new 2K scan from the original camera negative. The image looks quite good for the most part; there are still some soft elements to it, but overall detail is fairly high and there’s a noticeable change to the color grading that gives it less of a boosted look than some of the past Blu-ray releases. Skin tones look natural instead of waxy. There’s a bit of noticeable damage, a few stray gate hairs, and some occasional wobble. But overall, this looks the best version of Free Hand for a Tough Cop we’ve gotten.

Audio includes both English and Italian tracks in DTS-HD Master Audio 2.o mono. Both sound great with no real issues; even hiss is kept to a minimum. English subtitles are also included for both options, translated from Italian on the Italian mix.

We get a number of new extra features on this disc. There’s a very short interview with Lenzi, a much longer discussion with Corrado Solari (he plays the aforementioned guy with the brick in a tissue box), and a lengthy interview with screenwriter Dardano Sacchetti as well, who must have been a busy man doing all of these interviews throughout the past couple years on all of his films. Also included is a new interview with cinematographer Nino Celeste and one with producer Uggo Tucci. All told, the interviews total nearly two hours! See below list of extras for time stamps.

Also included is a cut bank robbery sequence that is presented in much the same quality sourced from the original camera negative. To my knowledge, this hasn’t been presented in HD before. We also get a trailer presented in HD.

Interestingly, this is the only film in the boxset without a CD soundtrack.

Extra Features

  • NEW Scanned in 2K from the original negative
  • NEW In The Asphalt Jungle – Interview With Director Umberto Lenzi (1080p; 3:46)
  • NEW Tough Guy Corrado – A Look At The Career of Corrado Solari (1080p; 38:45)
  • NEW The Father Of Monnezza – Interview With Screenwriter Dardano Sacchetti (1080p; 34:02)
  • NEW Hand-Held Camera For A Tough Cinematographer – Interview With Cinematographer Nino Celeste (1080p; 15:40)
  • NEW Making Movies – Interview With Producer Ugo Tucci (1080p; 12:10)
  • NEW Extended Bank Robbery Scene Sourced From The Original Negative (1080p; 3:27)
  • Trailer (1080p; 3:24)


Free Hand for a Tough Cop is a viciously entertaining poliziottesco that touches on similar themes as Lenzi’s other works in the sub-genre but branches out for a different approach. This release in the Severin Violent Streets boxset matches the previous quality with a great transfer and plenty of extras.

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Free Hand for a Tough Cop extras menu
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