La Scorta is one of the best Italian films of the 90s, although that hasn't stopped it from disappearing from circulation for years until Blue Underground's DVD release. Unlike the Eurotrash which is that label's main stock-in-trade, this is a powerful and sober crime drama (rather than an out-and-out thriller) about the small group of bodyguards protecting a judge investigating mafia and government corruption in Sicily. It's certainly not a glamorous portrait: terminally underfunded, they only have two bullet-proof vests between them, and instead of armoured cars they get clapped-out unmarked vehicles the police can't even afford to keep the tanks full. There's not much in the way of action, but there's plenty of suspense over what MIGHT happen. Every abandoned car by the roadside could be a bomb, a stuck gate could be a prime opportunity for an assassin, so that when the expected does finally happen (and to the most obvious candidate in the most obvious fashion) it doesn't feel quite like such a cliche, more inevitability. The film does a good job of humanising its protagonists en route. While they all have the usual stereotyped dead meat trappings - families, girlfriends, pregnant wives - they spend much of the first half jockeying for position, making mistakes and inadvertently betraying their charge. Ricky Tognazzi directs with energy and imagination that belies the film's low budget and is well served by his ensemble cast.
Sadly, the DVD transfer, while acceptable, is not great, although the extras - audio commentary by Ricky Tognazzi and Claudio Bonivento, documentary Judging La Scorta, US trailer and original Italian trailer - are good.