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By Steve Anderson | May 30, 2006

Usually, when I think “Italian cinema”, I start thinking about spaghetti westerns and zombie movies that knock off the Grand Old Man, George Romero. But now, thanks to “La Scorta”, I may have to consider them for my crime drama needs too.

Basically, what’s going on here is that four young cops have been assigned to bodyguard duty—known as “la scorta” or “the escorts”—to protect a prosecutor assigned to replace a prominent judge and HIS bodyguard, both of whom were killed by Mafia assassins.

That’s right—the boys over at La Cosa Nostra are going to be BUSY in this one. Even though you never actually see anyone who is identified as being part of the mob, they’re going to be busy doing everything from bribing officials to doing a whole lot of killing. And as if that weren’t bad enough, our la scorta crew is so badly underequipped it’s not even funny. They’re going around in high mileage (a hundred and twenty thousand kilometers on one car—which is actually only about seventy three thousand miles, so I’m not sure why they’re bitching about it. My car’s got a hundred and seventeen thousand and the worst maintenance it’s needed recently is new sparkplugs with wires.) cars without armor, two bulletproof vests with four cops, carefully rationed gas, and plenty of handicaps coming from the Powers That Be.

So despite all these handicaps, the la scorta boys have to do their part to uphold law and order whilst protecting their charge.

There’s a lot to like about “La Scorta”. First off, their location is really well used. The city and surrounding seaside are beautiful, and shown off to the best advantage. There are plenty of solid crime drama standards going on here as well—they stuck to the basics of high level corruption, broken families and the like and did them very solidly.

Which isn’t to say there aren’t problems. It’s a little overdramatic. The plot is slightly convoluted—let’s face it, the Mafia getting involved in squabbles over local water rights isn’t going to be the kind of thing that’ll inspire much more than quizzical looks from an American audience.

But the ending is a pretty big surprise. It’s definitely not the standard ending to a crime drama at all. This departure from the norm is welcome and well-executed.

The special features include audio commentary, cast and crew interviews, and U.S. and Italian version trailers.

All in all, “La Scorta” is a surprising entry into the crime drama field, and well worth the time for any crime drama fan.

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