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Shatter (1974)

R | | Action, Drama | March 1975 (USA)
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2:29 | Trailer
Stuart Whitman is Shatter, an international hitman who is hiding out in Hong Kong after he has completed a contract out on an African leader. Shatter soon finds out that everyone wants him ... See full summary »

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, (uncredited)

Writer:

(screenplay)
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
Shatter
Lung Ti ...
Tai Pah (as Ti Lung)
Lily Li ...
Mai-Mee
...
Rattwood
Anton Diffring ...
Hans Leber
Yemi Goodman Ajibade ...
Ansabi M'Goya / Dabula M'Goya (as Yemi Ajibade)
Chia Yung Liu ...
1st Bodyguard (as Liu Ka Yong)
Pei Chi Huang ...
2nd Bodyguard (as Huang Pei Chi)
Ya Ying Liu ...
Leber's Girl (as Liu Ya Ying)
Wai Lo ...
Howe (as Lo Wei)
James Ma ...
Thai Boxer
Han Chiang ...
Korean Boxer (as Chiang Han)
Hsiung Kao ...
Japanese Boxer (as Kao Hsiung)
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Storyline

Stuart Whitman is Shatter, an international hitman who is hiding out in Hong Kong after he has completed a contract out on an African leader. Shatter soon finds out that everyone wants him dead, including the crime syndicate, the cops and the brother of the African leader he killed. Shatter teams up with a kung fu expert (Ti Lung) to try to get the money that is owed to him. Various double crosses and fight scenes ensue. Written by Patrick Knightly <pjknight@polsci.umass.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

MR. Shatter isn't crushproof, but cross him and he'll put you in a box!

Genres:

Action | Drama

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

|

Language:

Release Date:

March 1975 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Call Him Mr. Shatter  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

,  »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The second British-Hong Kong co-production between Hammer Films and the Shaw Brothers, filmed December 17 1973-January 15 1974 (copyright 1974). Preceded by The Legend of the 7 Golden Vampires (1974), these were Peter Cushing's last performances for Hammer Films. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Adjust Your Tracking (2013) See more »

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User Reviews

 
SHATTER (Michael Carreras and, uncredited, Monte Hellman, 1975) **
23 July 2011 | by (Naxxar, Malta) – See all my reviews

In my review of Joseph Losey's THESE ARE THE DAMNED (1963), I had written that Hammer Films' way out of their conventional rut (particularly during the early 1970s) was by recruiting talented film-makers who operated not so much within the mainstream but rather around its edges. Expatriate American Losey was thus an ideal choice to kick-start this intriguing venture (having conveniently relocated to the U.K.) but, while his first effort for the company – the excellent short thriller MAN ON THE BEACH (1956) – adhered reasonably close to the Hammer standard (they were still to gain a reputation for garishly-colored horrors and complexly-plotted chillers), the second (the above-mentioned title) was easily their hardest-to-categorize and most pretentious – if undeniably brilliant – outing...which, I guess, put paid to the notion of their continuing this 'shaky' practice!

Still, out of the blue (and when they were probably at their lowest ebb, since the company would basically fold in a couple of years' time!), they made another attempt in this direction by persuading cult American film-maker Monte Hellman to make an action thriller – as part of a current deal with famed Hong Kong producers The Shaw Bros. – for them. Apparently, he had recently undergone an extensive location tour of the Orient for a project that had subsequently fallen through – indeed, he claims he was only approached by Hammer in view of his familiarity with the place (which obviously saved them the time and money another director would have spent there in pre-production)! However, this time around, the subject matter was not congenial – especially since the company were contract-bound to incorporate martial arts sequences by a Bruce Lee wannabe – and, frankly, it all looked pretty desperate from the outset (crossing POINT BLANK {1967} with ENTER THE DRAGON {1973})! To make matters worse, the cost-conscious Shaw Bros. liked to shoot their pictures back-to-back utilizing the same crew so that, by the time they came to the SHATTER lot, they would be all but exhausted! – similarly, star Stuart Whitman (past his prime and haggard-looking) would have started boozing by then and prove just as unfocused on his work! Faced by all this, Hellman unsurprisingly fell behind schedule and, yet, Hammer chief Michael Carreras took it out on him and, three weeks into the shooting, had the director fired, eventually taking over control himself (as he had done on BLOOD FROM THE MUMMY'S TOMB {1971} following original helmer Seth Holt's death) and even got sole credit…but it reportedly took him 6 months to finish the picture considering that, by all accounts, some two-thirds of it were already pretty much in the can (actually, Hellman had subsequently refused to edit his footage, so Carreras must not have had an easy time getting the whole to make sense and, frankly, work)!

Anyway, Whitman is a hit-man (elaborately utilizing a gun hidden inside a camera for the job) duped into working for the mob to eliminate an African dictator. When he turns up to get paid, the hero is not only given the cold shoulder (by his nefarious contact Anton Diffring) but himself becomes the target of assassination thereafter (these include taking a pot-shot with a bazooka at what is thought to be his hotel room)! Complicating matters further is the vague presence of a sinister/eccentric secret-service official (Hammer stalwart Peter Cushing in his inauspicious last theatrical appearance for the company, though his own personal contribution is dignified as ever). Somehow, Shatter (presumably the protagonist's code-name: his rough manners rendered more prominent by the American retitling CALL HIM MR. SHATTER – complete with a title song better suited to some "Blaxploitation" offering!) befriends a couple of local siblings: he being the Kung-Fu master and she obviously falling for the American tough guy. For no obvious reason, they join him in his crusade to get even with the mob and, even more pointlessly, the Oriental is involved (and naturally emerges victorious) in a martial-arts competition; in the end, the girl dies stopping a bullet meant for Whitman and Cushing (after having had his men beat up Shatter, a 'compliment' our hero later returns!) emerges from the shadows to reveal himself a benign figure after all – with Diffring and the dictator's own brother being fingered as the real villains (who expire in a hilarious joint fall, after being riddled by bullets, through the large glass-pane of the former's office)!

Incidentally, the edition of the film I watched includes a couple of censored violent moments (the inserts immediately recognizable from the sudden drop in picture quality) missing from the R1 Anchor Bay DVD. The accompanying Audio Commentary is, however, available and Hellman was certainly a sport in opting to take part: he dutifully points out the scenes he did or did not shoot but readily takes the blame for the film's ultimate lameness (amazingly, it came in-between two of his best-regarded American works i.e. TWO-LANE BLACKTOP {1971} and COCKFIGHTER {1974}, whose own viewing is upcoming in my ongoing Hellman retrospective)! The track proves just as laid-back as the movie itself (incorporating the occasional interjections from a separately-recorded Whitman who seems to be quite fond of it and Hellman, despite apparently bearing a grudge against The Shaw Bros., taking as he does every opportunity to denigrate them!) with moderator Norman Hill (who presumes this may well have been Whitman's last gasp as a leading man, but he was actually still good for another 10 years or so – including the somewhat similar Italian poliziottesco SHADOWS IN AN EMPTY ROOM aka BLAZING MAGNUM {1976}) querying the director about his other work and influences (singling out the outsider protagonists in the films of both John Huston and Carol Reed), and even about his own opinion on Hammer's more typical output (which he tackles in an off-handed, albeit diplomatic, fashion).


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