"Piedone l'africano" or "Plattfuß in Afrika" (I guess they did not expect that there would be another film with Rizzo in Africa) or "Knock-Out Cop" (so basic, they clearly did not care anymore for English-speaking audiences by then, its basically the almost exact same title as for another film from this series) is a co-production between Italy and West Germany from 1978, so this film is already way over 40 years old and it runs for 95 minutes the version I have here. I am not sure if this is an error here on imdb or if there are several versions out there because the only one listed here comes close to the two-hour mark. Anyway, not too important. It includes enough fun with both running times I'd say. The director is Steno and despite having written screenplays for 50 more projects than he directed, he is not one of the writers here, which is especially surprising because the amount of writers, namely four, is pretty high here. One of them is Reiner Brandt and he is not only German, but from my city Berlin and this is not the only Bud Spencer film he has worked on. His inclusion here may be one reason why this is a West German co-production. There is also Werner Pochath in here whose character has a Greek name, but he is Austrian, a really prolific actor that certainly died way too early. Rita Ehlers also seems German to me. But yeah, this is not an African co-production, even if this is where the movie is set.
And now Bud Spencer (Carlo Pedersoli). He must be mentioned of course because he was such a huge star here in Germany and almost everybody still know him. No surprise either that this film is another one that managed to reach Golden Screen territory, the really high amount of viewers that justifies receiving this prestigious award. It is all about the numbers here. Of course, this movie is from the series of Flatfoot/Rizzo films. It is the third of four entries we got here. I must admit that while I love Spencer and always will, these films, maybe the longest-running series during his peak, are not among my biggest favorites from him. This was the case for the first two already and surely also applies to this one here. I will watch the fourth and final installment tomorrow and I will see how much I like that one. Would surprise me if I like it less or more than the other three. The problem I have a bit with those is that they usually focus a bit more on realism and authentic crimes stories, but it stays the attempt most of the time in my opinion. Spencer is at his best when he is just pointless fun really. I wish this movie could have been as much fun as the poster is. Him in the middle of everything and everybody dishing out punches is really as good as it gets. By the way, Enzo Cannavale is also back here for this one and he is really in it only for the comedy component. Nobody takes him seriously really, not even the little African boy. That one is played by Baldwyn Dakile and he also appeared in the sequel and in another German movie afterwards, but it is not known what happened to him afterwards. Anyway, this film here takes us to Africa and there we also stay for the final film, even if a completely different region, after the first two films took place on other continents.
The key crime is the same though. Initially it seemed to be more about animal abuse and diamond theft, but eventually we see it is drugs once again just like in the first two films. Not too big on that. What I did like, however, was the very beginning in the bus that got attacked by these criminals and how Spencer's character here is introduced as the bus driver was pretty funny. Also he is not on his own this time. This was a bit of a prologue, but the real action follows afterwards. That one dangerous blond guy was also interesting and there was a bit of a mystery to him as if he was from some James Bond movie. I am not talking about Pochath's character. There were really many people in here with fake blonde hair on the villain side. That much is safe. Pochath's character also had a moment that felt like from a 007 movie, namely the scene when one wrestler basically throws another wrestler into the audience, but Rizzo is smart and fast enough to get out of the way and the wrestlers as well as Pochath's character get their fair share quickly afterwards. Don't get Rizzo angry. He can also be a bit on the plaful side though. Take the scene in which he traps Pochath's character with the little boy and then acts as if he was his savior. Or was it meant to get closer to him? In any case, this did not work for long because they were trying to kill Rizzo not much later.
And, almost as usual, we have Spencer fly an airplane in this film too. It seems it was not really him, but still the man was a passionate aviator in real life as well, so it felt fitting. One thing that hurt this film from me from a subjective perspective was that I did not really like the little Black kid too much and the boy seemed more annoying to me and I am also not too happy he will be back for the final film. I can still understand why Rizzo took care of him with what happened in the scene when he met his dad early on and it is fairly tragic. It was his dad, wasn't it? Again, a touch of Bond. Reminded me immediately of a scene when some guy Bond talked to also gets killed, even if there it was a blade that did the job and here it was a bullet. Or the brakes that are not working. But let's stay with this film now: Cannavale I already mentioned and I wonder if he could have gotten away with the Blackface makeup in 2020. Probably not. Which is sad. Political correctness is so embarrassing at times. here it was funny how he got recognized and called by his name nonetheless. And that Black guy who recognizes him sure did not complain about (alleged) racism. Anyway, I did not find Cannavale too funny here. The only mildly entertaining moment came from Rizzo when he was talking about Cannavale's character in short pants.
Another slightly unusual thing you could say about this film and Spencer's character is that he had a bit of a female suitor that keeps showing up again and again, even if it is coincidence apparently. She was not stalking him. But she clearly liked the big bear. Even some dancing involved here. Then again, maybe it is not a huge surprise becase ladies magnet Terence Hill is not in this movie and they did not seem to want to keep women out of it completely and as women are never really antagonists in Bud Spencer films, this was the only way. Still it is nothing explicit or so and it is also always a bit on the funny side to see Spencer's characters interact with women because he can be really clumsy there. Big contrast to how dedicated he is when taking out dangerous criminals. Okay, I think I shall leave it at that then. You also get to see some animals in here of course, which should surprise nobody because it is often the case in other Spencer films and they would not miss out on the opportunity here to show the audience cats of prey. And birds. And other animals. I am still not the biggest Rizzo fan if I compared these films to other stuff in which Spencer appears as the lead actor, but this is just because those are very good and this one here is "only" good. If you have not seen anything else with Spencer, I think there are better choices to start with, but at some point when you have seen a lot, this also deserves to get checked out. I give it a thumbs-up.