Desperate Mission (1965) Poster

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Way too long
gridoon201811 April 2010
A nuclear scientist is kidnapped by Chinese communists in Hong Kong. A Japanese group of judo experts kidnaps him from the kidnappers, but before they can contact the American agent who has been assigned with overseeing the scientist's transfer back to the USA, the agent is killed. The American secret service send their top man to Hong Kong as his replacement, with the mission of locating the scientist. But there are TWO rival gangs of baddies who are also looking for the same target, so our hero has to assume a different identity to infiltrate them. "Desperate Mission" is not a bad entry in the Eurospy genre, however it goes on far too long at 115 minutes. There is enough action and exotic sightseeing, but not much urgency to the story. German Cobos makes a passable if a bit bland lead, while Milton Reid, who has appeared as a henchman in two separate James Bond films, plays another Oddjob-like figure here. The film is certainly not served very well by its current full-screen and murky-colored prints. ** out of 4.
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Action-packed Italian spy caper with exotic setting
Leofwine_draca25 February 2015
Engaging Eurospy movie has the edge over similar genre fodder by having an unusual location (Hong Kong) as opposed to the typical Italian or Spanish backdrops, plus a wealth of violent and fairly bloody action not usually seen in other films of the period. This is a film packed with incident and near-death escapes with plenty of double-crosses, shoot-outs in the dark and covert meetings. Besides, you have to love a movie which opens with a gang of weirdly-masked assassins kidnapping a professor and causing a model car to roll and burn down a cliff!

Our hero here is German Cobos, playing super-cool spy Agent C (not Z!) 55. Cobos is your typically slick playboy hero Sean Connery imitation who has a way with the ladies and spends much time exchanging witty repartee with Italian and Chinese lovelies. Cobos doesn't get far (the airport in fact) before he finds himself on the run from the police for smuggling gemstones, embarking on a chase which involves vehicles, dockyards and a helicopter! Seems a bit over-the-top for a mere smuggler but there you go. He soon finds himself caught up in a world of shady, secret organisations, working for a gang of cut-throats and fearing for his life at every step. Of course, he still finds time to flirt with the ladies while all this is happening...

The main reason I enjoyed this film was the flair and excitement that director Roberto Bianchi Montero brought to it. The pacing is spot on and the action is generous, so that even the above-average run time just seems to fly by like the wind. There are also a number of unusual and imaginative sequences like a shoot-out behind a cinema screen where a body falls through the screen like in DEMONS, plus the requisite amount of bullets and explosions to satisfy even the most hardened fans.

The cast is a good one, with Cobos investing his character effortlessly with charm, and Yoko Tani (SAMSON AND THE 7 MIRACLES OF THE WORLD) supplying glamour as the fragile Chinese beauty. Acting honours go to the hulking actor who plays Cheng, a Tor Johnson-lookalike who seems and acts like a really nasty piece of work (and somebody you wouldn't like to be friends - let alone enemies - with!).

The genre trappings are present from the colourful, animated opening credits to the laidback jazzy score, and the film is mindless enough in its own way to be entertaining as a pure adventure yarn laced with excitement. It's a perfect opportunity to disengage the brain and sit back and enjoy without having to think about any underlying messages or subtlety. In-your-face action is what the film delivers and it does so well.
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