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I remember so clearly how excited I was to see this movie into theaters were the first came out. When I remember most was seeing so many great familiar faces from the Sean Connery 007 series. Little did I know that composer Ennio Morricone would later become famous for the theme for "The Good, The Bad And The Ugly," but I did love the theme song "O.K. Conneryand," which incidentally is an alternate title for this film is. Many will tear this film apart, but I say no fair. It was meant to be for fun, and succeeds quite well there. True, the dubbing is awful, especially since I really wish I could have heard Sean's less famous brother speak for himself, but no matter. There are lots of great locations to see how the many attractive Italian girls, and if you don't take it too seriously (God knows how you could) it's a fun and entertaining way to pass the time. Hell, it beats the crap out of "Casino Royale."
This is a fun movie.Leave it alone! Neil Connery may be to acting what Mia Farrow is to cage fighting but so what? I find 007 frere almost endearing in this movie as he battles Adolfo Celi and his criminal organisation THANATOS in a style very reminiscent of his brother and anyone who thinks that this film is meant to be taken seriously is sadly deluded. This is a fast paced action romp that ends up in a secret base where the bad guys are defeated by fists,guns and archery action. Any movie that ends like this has always got something going for it and it is topped and tailed with a song written by Ennio Morricone which is as explosive as anything ever written for a real Bond movie(or any movie come to think of it)It is called "O.K.CONNERY" and is a magnificent piece of kitsch as is the movie itself.This was always intended to be a one-off.What did you expect?.....18 sequels!
I was expecting the worst when I found a copy of "Operation Double 007" (one
of the many alternative titles for this film) in a bargain video rack for a
dollar. But I didn't get the worst -- I got a surprisingly OK
Neil Connery, Sean's little brother, is indeed a dead ringer for his sibling. The only major difference is Neil sports a beard, in keeping with his character, a plastic surgeon. As far as acting goes, he has many of Sean's mannerisms down pat, but in the print I saw his voice was badly dubbed by an American (even though his character is clearly said to be Scottish), so I cannot pass judgment.
The story is a pastiche of Bond films past, such as Thunderball, a similarity driven home by the fact the main villain in both this movie and Thunderball is played by Adolfo Celi, one of a number of 007 veterans who somehow managed to get involved in this bizarre Italian production. Anthony Dawson (another 007 vet -- he was Dent in Dr. No and also provided the body for Blofeld in From Russia With Love and Thunderball) plays a Blofeld clone named Alpha, another apparent nod to Thunderball.
Bernard Lee (Bond's M) and Lois Maxwell (the first and best Moneypenny) appear in very similar roles in this file, EXCEPT that Maxwell's character gets a lot more action here. Fans of Moneypenny will love seeing her mowing down bad guys with a machine gun, and she even kidnaps another character! Bernard Lee, meanwhile, gets to show some of his comedy skills. Both actors do a good job here, and for the record they weren't overdubbed.
For me, the real pleasure in this movie is a rare chance to see Daniela Bianchi. Five years after seducing 007 in From Russia with Love, the Italian actress gets to play an assassin with a heart of gold, and she is absolutely gorgeous in this film. Fans of her work in From Russia should check this film out just for her (sadly, she retired from acting not long after this film was made).
Although this movie has been heavily criticized as a rip-off of 007, in fact there are a number of original touches that make the film, if not good, at least interesting. For example, Neil Connery's character (who is, imaginatively, named Neil Connery) is a master of hypnotism and is more apt to use his brains than his brawn. A good example of this is when he creates a MacGyver-like device to get past a machine gun turret.
Released the same year as the infamous Casino Royale spoof, I have to say that OK Connery actually has a better storyline, and unlike that other film, it actually (sort of) makes sense.
This film is hard to find (though I understand Mystery Science Theater 3000 featured it once). But serious Bond fans should check it out at least once as an interesting curio from the height of Bondmania. And if you're a fan of Lois Maxwell or Daniela Bianchi, it is definitely worth checking it out.
You just have to love the massive balls that it took to release this film at the height of the James Bond craze. It wasn't enough just to flagrantly rip off the Bond films, no, the producers actually got most of the supporting actors/villains/hot chicks from the real films and then had the nerve to cast Sean Connery's brother, Neil, as the hero (who is alluded to be 007's brother)! However, as bad'60's spy flicks go, this is astonishingly more entertaining than most of them. Give it a chance!
"Do you ever walk upright like other people?" Neil Connery says to a sexy Eurobabe who's on all fours looking for a lost lighter. I love this movie. The sheer number of super-sexy actresses in Operation Kid Brother is staggering. Some enterprising video company should locate the negative and make a deal to put it on DVD in a widescreen version. The Ennio soundtrack is tremendous. You have to wonder why the man was never invited to contribute to a Bond film. Operation Kid Brother is more entertaining than all of the Bond films released since Diamonds Are Forever. I'll add Casino Royale to the list as soon as I see it. The big question is how come Neil Connery didn't speak at the American Film Institute's tribute to Sean Connery last year. Did Sean show the bouncers a photo of Neil and tell them to keep him out at all costs? Lois Maxwell got to do more in this movie than in every Bond film she made and she looks better too, strangely enough. It's a blast to see Dawson and Celi acting side by side. It was probably in Celi's contract that he gets to feel up the actresses. You have to wonder if Cubby Broccoli and Harry Saltzman didn't go ape when Bernard Lee and Maxwell turned up in this.
Another touchstone of the Eurospy subgenre, Operation Double 007 better
known as Operation Kid Brother, is a fair Bond copy, albeit on a slightly
smaller scale, and is as entertaining as any of the legitimate Bond
This was the first time out for Neil Connery, brother of Sean, and it was
the only spy movie in his movie mini-career. He manages just fine as the
super surgeon cum super spy although his distinct lack of charisma makes
a rather bland lead performance.
Fortunately director Alberto De Martino (Upperseven the Man to Kill (65), Operation Lady Chaplain (66)) keeps this colorful, active film moving at a good clip so we don't have too much time to mull over Connery comparisons. The use of Connery's real name for his character is a strange stroke due no doubt to the forbidden use of the name Bond. It sort of screws up the (weak) attempts at humorous mentions of the Bond mystique when you can't even say the word.
Thank goodness Connery is surrounded by exotic locations, beautiful women and villains as good as Adolfo Celi. Celi plays it to the hilt too as Thair, the number two villain of Thanatos who wants to be number one. Celi is deservedly one of the most famous Italian character actors whose talents can be seen in other spy movies such as That Man From Rio (64), Target For Killing (66), and Death Knocks Twice (69). Perhaps the film's finest asset is the presence of the lovely Daniela Bianchi as Maya, a bad girl turned good.
You could do worse than this Bondian escapade; there's plenty to look at and laugh at and there's a Morricone/Nicolai score to boot. We should be used to checking our brains at the door by now.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
In a recent article, TV critic Jamie Weinman noted that 1967 was the
year that James Bond stopped being cool. The Bond film that year YOU
ONLY LIVE TWICE was less successful than predecessors, and that was
also the year that Italian filmmakers stopped cranking out spy films
and started cranking out westerns . . .
Before they quit, though, they gave us just about the goofiest and most enjoyable Bond rip-off ever made-- OPERATION KID BROTHER, which is also know as OPERATION DOUBLE 007 and OK CONNERY, all of the titles pointing wildly to the star of the film as saying "He's actually SEAN'S BROTHER!!" At any rate, Sean's brother Neil Connery plays Neil Connery, a plastic surgeon/hypnotist/archer/lip-reader/karate-fighter . . . No doubt he can also unblock drains and make a perfect angel-food cake, but nobody in the movie asks him to . . . At any rate, Dr. Connery is plastic-surgeon-ing/hypnotizing/lip reading for a gathering of medical experts on the Riviera when his patient is kidnapped, first by Allied Counter-Intelligence, then by bad guys from the criminal gang Thanatos (no doubt formed by people who were fired from SPECTRE during one of Blofeld's efficiency drives). Apparently, the young lady knows something she doesn't know she knows. and after being kidnapped, she gets tortured by a short lesbian and shot to death by a hot-cha-cha Italian lady. There's also a lady spy who dresses at various times like Barney Rubble, Phyllis Diller, and a can-can dancer. She's played by Daniela Bianchi, who co-starred with The Other Connery in FROM Russia WITH LOVE and manages to remained poised and amused throughout. Her boss is played Adolfo Celi, who was in THUNDERBALL, which also starred The Other Connery, although like Ms. Bianchi, he pretends to find Neil terribly impressive. Almost with a straight face.
One of the great things about this movie is the presence of Lois Maxwell, who played Miss Moneypenny for years in the Bond films, and was always a highlight. She is here as well, and for once, she gets out in the field and proves she can kick ass as well as any plastic surgeon/hypnotist/lip-reader/archer. And look cool while doing it. As for Bernard Lee, he's along for the ride as well. Smiling broadly and apparently a bit soused. What the heck. The movie can survive it . . .
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
If you're a fan of the Euro-spy movies made in the 60s, how can you not
just love Operation Double 007? Using the success of James Bond as a
model, those crazy Italians certainly made some crazy spy movies. This
one stars Sean Connery's brother, Neil Connery (who plays a character
cleverly named Neil Connery) as a plastic surgeon / hypnotist / lip
reader. With tongue firmly in cheek, we also learn that Neil is the
brother of a famous spy and, as his brother is unavailable, the
government wants Neil to stand in and give them a hand. Before you can
say Dr. No, Neil's up to his neck in beautiful women, a super-villain
with a nuclear device, the obligatory henchmen, archers on horse back,
gun fights, car chases, blind Arab rug-weavers, can-can dancers,
explosions, underground lairs, and a Japanese woman kidnapped by the
world's most vicious nun/nurse. Don't worry, it all makes sense in the
end (well, sort of anyway). Besides, if there's a loose end here or
there, who cares when you're having this much fun.
Joining Connery in the cast is a plethora of Bond vets including Daniela Bianchi, Adolfo Celi, Bernard Lee, and Lois Maxwell. It's a real treat to see them all in a different setting. In particular, it's great to see Lois Maxwell out from behind that desk she always sat at in the Bond movies. Here, she's not only gets out in the field, but she gets the chance to mow down baddies with a machine gun as well. Celi, always the bad guy in a movie like this, looks like he's having the time of his life. There's at least one scene where it's not hard to notice a small smile come to his face and you've got to wonder how close he came to losing it. But as much as I enjoyed both of these fine actors, I was particularly impressed with the work of Daniela Bianchi from From Russia with Love fame. In Operation Double 007, she gets to play both the good and bad girl, wear some over-the-top outfits, and look generally fabulous. It's a shame she didn't go on to do more after this movie. She had a definite screen presence about her.
There are some out there who want to label Operation Double 007 a "James Bond rip-off". It's not a rip-off, it's a parody and a good one at that. Operation Double 007 was released the same year as the more famous Bond parody Casino Royale. The big difference is that Casino Royale is one big, bloated mess of a movie that's rarely funny. Operation Double 007, on the other hand, is a blast. In fact, and this may be blasphemous to some, but it's more fun than about half of the Bond movies. It's too bad it's never had a proper R1 DVD release so that more people might discover this movie. The only way I've seen the movie is courtesy of a DVD-R of the Mystery Science Theater 3000 episode on which it appeared. It's a great episode, but I would love to see a good release without the bots and their comments.
Despite being a low budget Italian rip-off of the James Bond series, I think this movie could have worked, but try telling that to the particular Italian filmmmakers that tried to pull this off. There are many problems with this movie, but I think the biggest problem is how dull much of it is. It takes forever for the premise and conflict to be established, and it's mostly slow going from that point on. There is sporadic action, but it's badly directed and choreographed, and it adds little life to the movie. As for Neil Connery, he not only lacks the charisma of his older brother, he doesn't seem to be very enthusiastic to be there. Maybe it's because for most of the movie, his character comes across as a stunned observer for most of the running time instead of actually getting involved in the action. And how can you have a James Bond rip-off that doesn't contain any fancy gadgets? The only thing of merit to be found is the musical score co-written by the great Ennio Morricone.
I saw this film as an episode of the show, Mystery Science Theater
3000. During the years, the show has riffed many movies that were
basically trying to capitalize on the success of the James Bond films
and this one does so in the most blatant way possible. They got Sean's
brother, Neil Connery, they got two of the Bond villains to play
villains here and they got Moneypenny and M too! However, that being
said, this is also the most enjoyable of the Bond ripoff films that
they riffed. I am not saying it was great or anything, it is kind of
all over the place, but at the same time they really keep things moving
in this one so it never gets to the point where the agent is simply
hanging around a beach house and flirting with some guy's niece, nor is
the action so dull that it is outdone by the windmills of Holland and
they never resort to cheap models to simulate a car chase. No, this
film did a pretty good job of being a Bond film, while at the same time
not being a James Bond film.
The story has a deadly organization using a remote car to blow up a plane. On the plane, a man who had information about the organization's plan. A woman has this information locked in her mind and her plastic surgeon may have the key to retrieving this information. This man, is the younger brother of an awesome spy and he is soon recruited to help foil the evil organizations plans. He may not have a license to kill, but he has many skills that help him discover the whereabouts of the kidnapped woman, discover the deadly secret of the factory where only the blind may find a job and try to thwart the plans of one of the members of the organization that wants to seize all the power for himself!
This made for a very good episode of MST3K, I generally like it when the film they riff is not completely horrid. I like to be able to get some enjoyment from the film itself and it actually makes it more amusing to hear the riffs. They obviously leave a lot of this film out of the episode, as at one point Neil references a archery contest that he had with the main villain that I did not see. Makes me want to see the whole film, though for the most part they leave in enough to know what is going on. It is just a film that is all over the place as one moment they are rescuing a girl, then an army convoy is being hijacked, then there is a battle on a yacht and then a raid on a castle!
So, it is not a good movie, but it is hardly a bad movie. Definitely not the worst James Bond knockoff that I have seen. Neil certainly looks a lot like his more famous older brother and I am surprised he did not appear in more films. This film was done in Italy and they have always managed to mimic other films in the most blatant ways over the years and this film is no exception as it is the most blatant ripoff of the James Bond films there is other than the one that was done years later that actually starred Sean Connery and was essentially a James Bond film, but not part of the actual series, "Never Say Never Again". This one is actually more enjoyable than that film as that film was just so terribly paced and could not hold my interest. This one at least moves at a fast pace and never lingers to long on any one scene for long.
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