Dauntless British agent Charles Vine is called upon to escort to London the famed Swedish scientist Henrik Jacobs to negotiate the sale of a secret formula. However, sinister forces ... See full summary »
The main enticement to watch this obscure 1968 film is to see Tom Adams reprise the role of British secret agent Charles Vine (which he created in the 1965 film Second Best Secret Agent In the world. The latter was an amusing James Bond spoof and, on recent viewing, continues to hold up quite well despite the years. He repeated the role in Where Bullets Fly and thus this film represents the third and final film but I hesitate to say in the series. This film is largely made in Spain, with local talent and without the directors or writing talents of the earlier films.
Aside from those of us who want to say we watched all the Charles Vine films there isn't any real reason to see this movie. The plot is confusing, as with most James Bond type films, but not particularly interesting. The performances are flat, whether due to the Spanish actors in an English language film, or simply due to the script and budget. The latter largely limits the action scenes to fist fights and firing off guns. More importantly Tom Adams, without the wit of a script, simply comes off as stone faced and one dimensional.
For the record, the plot starts with the kidnaping of Russian ambassador Yevtushenko (Bernabe Barta Berri, the only actor with a glint in his eye and willing to have fun with the material) from a ship. Apparently the Russians are supposed to blame the British and vice versa. Actually its the Albanians (Major Kovacs played by Tim Barrett) in conjunction with the Chinese (Lycee played by Gene Reyes). British secret agent Charles Vine (Tom Adams) is called in to investigate. He tracks them down to a yacht and attempts to free Yevtushenko ensue before Vine is also captured and shipped off to Albania. There he is tempted by General Borodin (Antonio Molino Rojo) to defect to Albania. Naturally Borodin's assistant Galina (Diane Lorys) commits her body to convincing Vine. However, what Albanian girl can resist a British secret agent and, just as naturally, she joins Vine and Yevtushenko in escaping to the Greek border (pursued by a motley collection of Albanian tanks). I've left out a few sub-plots (i.e. poisoned darts, WW11 OSS agents left behind German line (don't ask!) and multiple females throwing themselves at Vine) but I don't think it makes much difference.
Technical credits were poor on the tape I obtained but, since I doubt this film ever had a commercial North American distribution, who knows the history of the original print. I should also note that this tape was advertised at 84 minutes runtime and the IMDB database lists an original runtime of 108 minutes.
Obviously the producers took an off-the-shelf spy script and tried to commercialize it by exploiting the Charles Vine character. However, without a script or dialog Tom Adams performance is strictly dead faced instead of deadpan.
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