An outlandish science-fiction, comedy-thriller full of tongue-and-cheek action, ingenious gadgets in the James Bond style combining violence and tension with polished villainy and flippant ... See full summary »
An outlandish science-fiction, comedy-thriller full of tongue-and-cheek action, ingenious gadgets in the James Bond style combining violence and tension with polished villainy and flippant espionage, as the resourceful CIA Mike "Mannix" Connors and British agents, Dorothy Provine and Terry-Thomas (both previously in "It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World") escape death-traps on land, sea and air. Written by
MASTER PLAN: infertilize the USA's population by eliminating the sexual drive (cripes!) via a launched satellite. This begins as an obvious spoof, showing some scientist getting shot in the jungles while exploring a local tribe's infertility problem, with satirical narration (by actor Michael Hordern, maybe?). It's a very goofy start. But, the action switches to Rio de Janeiro, a nice bit on Corcovado, in and around the famed statue, as an agent played by lead Mike Connors fights off a villain. This sets the tone for the rest of the film, a more sophisticated parody of the James Bond thriller than I first thought, in the vein of "Our Man Flint." There's the typical stuff: use of scorpions & piranha, the odd henchman and the main villain (Vallone) who has sinister grand plans for the world. Provine shows up as a femme fatale with a severely British accent. Terry-Thomas then pops up as an effeminate chauffeur who can handle himself very well in a fight.
The exotic locations in Brazil are pretty good; as mentioned in other comments, some of this, including some plot points, seems to have been copied by an actual later Bond film, "Moonraker," though one could argue this happened because this copies earlier Bond films such as "Thunderball" and "Dr.No." The story has some slow parts in the first half, meandering as the hero follows villains and vice-versa. This is reflected in the film's music score, which has a lazy, easy style to it, even during action sequences. As the hero, Connors also ambles his way through, usually laconic or sarcastic, depending on the scene, but projecting toughness. This was just before he began his 8-year run as tough TV private eye "Mannix." To give you an idea of the humor, there's a recurring theme of the hero's fondness for bananas. Things pick up in the latter half when the action shifts to the sci-fi stronghold of the villain. I've heard that this film is a favorite of Quentin Tarantino's. Hero:6 Villains:6 Femme Fatales:6 Henchmen:6 Fights:7 Stunts/Chases:6 Gadgets:6 Auto:4 Locations:7 Pace:6 overall:6
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