The civilian brother of Britain's best secret agent must use his skills in plastic surgery, hypnotism and lip-reading to prevent a crime syndicate from using a magnetic wave generator in the... Read allThe civilian brother of Britain's best secret agent must use his skills in plastic surgery, hypnotism and lip-reading to prevent a crime syndicate from using a magnetic wave generator in their bid for world domination.The civilian brother of Britain's best secret agent must use his skills in plastic surgery, hypnotism and lip-reading to prevent a crime syndicate from using a magnetic wave generator in their bid for world domination.
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.
- Aug 18, 2002