The Man from S.E.X. (1979) Poster

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He's a winner in every game - zero is never beside his name!
ShadeGrenade21 June 2011
Warning: Spoilers
Its taken me a long time to see this movie. Thirty-two years, in fact. I became aware of it through a Corgi novelisation, the cover of which featured Gareth Hunt in typically macho Bond pose - dressed in white suit and black bow-tie, a Magnum in each hand ( I'm talking about guns, not ice creams ), and flanked by two lovely girls. I waited for it to appear at my local cinema, but it never did. Nor did it play on television. I spotted a video cassette in a shop, but as I lacked a V.C.R. in those days renting it seemed a waste of both time and money. Now at last I have seen it. Was it worth the wait? Not really, no. The Lindsay Shonteff-directed picture tries to work on the level of the Roger Moore Bond films, but lacks the budget to do the job properly. Hunt is 'Charles Bind' a.k.a. 'Number 1' of the British secret service ( did anyone tell the producer that it was also the name of the Charles Hawtrey character in 'Carry On Spying'? ). When we first see him he is in a plane which is rigged to explode. Bind ejects, parachutes earthward, before tearing off his flight suit to reveal an immaculate dinner suit beneath ( a nod to the opening of 'Goldfinger' ).

Bind is sent to America to locate the missing diplomat 'Lord Dangerfield' ( Noel Johnson ). Along with His Lordship's gorgeous daughter 'Carlotta Muff-Dangerfield' ( Fiona Curzon, who went on to become a hostess on Ted Rogers' '3-2-1' ) - whom he nicknames 'Lotta Muff' ( groan! ) - he calls on Senator Lucifer Orchid ( Gary Hope ), an old friend of His Lordship's. The Senator ( who strangely lacks an American accent ) is a megalomaniac hell bent on seizing power. At his country home, the first of several attempts on Bind's life is made. Luckily our hero has brought along gadgets such as a magnetic pen ( ideal for catching bullets ), a force field which saves him from being blown up on a dance floor, a bullet-firing cigarette ( a nod to 'You Only Live Twice' ), and a Lagotza sports car fitted out with wings ( the car flying over a locked gate is like something out of 'The Goodies' ). Orchid is blackmailing Dangerfield to kill the President of the United States, so that an impostor posing as the Vice President ( Don Fellows ) will be sworn in in his place. Bind has competition in the formidable shape of nut-case 'Jensen Fury' ( Nick Tate of 'Space: 1999' ) a.k.a. 'Hyper Agent Ultra One', who is as good a shot as he is.

Hunt ( who replaced Nicky Henson after the actor was offered the chance to join the R.S.C. ) acts as though he is still on the set of 'The New Avengers'. As Orchid, Gary Hope is...well, hopeless. But the worst performance comes from Nick Tate, who plays 'Fury' like Freddie Starr doing James Cagney. Amongst this jet-setting international cast are Anna Bergman ( of 'Mind Your Language' ), Linda Lou Allen ( of 'What's On Next?' ) and...John Junkin.

Shonteff recycled a few ideas from his earlier 'Licensed To Kill' ( 1965 ) which starred Tom Adams, including Bind's duplicate and the transvestite killer. I don't know if Robin Smyth ( author of the book ) was working from an earlier draft of the script, but many of the action scenes he describes are not in the film, such as Bind trapped in a room that is slowly filling with water ( he escapes by putting a protective bag over his head, and, activating rockets in the toe-caps of his shoes, shoots through the ceiling ). Though the plot moves from America to Switzerland and an island in the Pacific, it looks like the same location was used to represent all three. The thrilling climax has Bind's car attacked by cannons as he struggles to rescue Lotta Muff and the V.P. from a watery grave.

This is total crap, of course ( boasting a horrendous disco title theme ), yet manages to be more amusing than 'Austin Powers' and feels more like a Bond movie than 'Quantum Of Solace', faint praise though that is. Some scenes will have you howling with laughter, such as Bind in a limousine whose brakes have failed. The chauffeur wisely jumps out, but the idea to follow suit does not occur to Bind. Instead he pulls a wire out of his wrist-watch ( its like the one Robert Shaw had in 'From Russia With Love' ), throws it out of the window, hooking it onto a tree. You'd reasonably expect his arm to be yanked out of its socket, but no, the car simply rolls to a halt.

Amazingly, a sequel was made eleven years later - 'Number One Gun' - with Michael Howe as 'Bind', and - I can hardly believe it - Gary Hope again as the villain. Some people never learn from their mistakes.

But if this film deserves to go down in cinema history, its for the scene at Scarlet Star's club where Bind is menaced by a stripper whose tassels whirl about like propeller blades, a razor blade attached to each one. Bind holds up a chair to protect himself, and she reduces it to sawdust. Titillating!
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Humorless sequel to Number 1 of the Secret Service
alanbobet23 May 2006
This film is a humorless followup/sequel to Lindsay Shonteff's previous Charles Bind adventure, Number One of The Secret Service starring the very funny & charismatic Nicky Henson as Bind. In this adventure, it's Gareth Hunt(Mike Gambit of The New Avengers) who takes over from Henson as agent Bind and he lacks both a sense of humor and fun as well as panache and style that Nicky Henson brought to the role.Hunt's portrayal of Bind is similar or even worse than Timothy Dalton's portrayal of 007 in the 1980's. He plays the role like he is still Mike Gambit and his delivery of one-liners fall flat. It doesn't help either that this film has even less or no production values than the previous film and the action/fight scenes are more shoddily done than the first film. The film's only saving grace is Nick Tate of Space 1999 fame as Jenson Fury, Agent Ultraone who is Bind's opponent & opposite number in the film, who provides the right fun and humor in the role. Incredibly enough, Shonteff directed a third Charles Bind film in 1990 called Number One Gun starring Michael Howe as Bind that was never theatrically released!
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