Director: K.S.R. Das
Starring: ‘Super Star’ Krishna, Satyanarayana, Rajababu
As most of you would be aware I do not speak Indian (any dialect), but I am dogged in my pursuit to watch every spy film on the planet. So when I watch an un-sub-titled Indian film, the actual ‘wordy’ bits, like plot and relationships between the characters are a bit lost on me. But I am the type of guy, that if you tell me that there is a film out there called James Bond 777, well I have to watch it, even if I cannot understand those ‘wordy’ bits. I am a bit sad that way really, but somebody has to do it, dammit!
The film opens with a ridiculously infectious theme song that is part spy and part spaghetti western music. It is pretty cool actually, and I later found my self scooting around the house squawking ‘James Bond – Triple Seven – Seven Seven Seven!’
The action starts with a hairy brute of a man with pointy eyebrows breaking into a house and stealing a briefcase. As he begins to walk away with his ill-gotten gain, the lady of the house walks into the room. She retrieves a gun from a cupboard and begins to fire the weapon at the thief. The Villain laughs because he had the foresight to remove the bullets from the lady’s pistol. She then grabs a knife and attempts to stab the man, but he is too big and strong and soon overpowers her, forcing the knife back into her stomach. She falls to the floor dead as her son arrives home. The Villain sneaks off as the boy finds his mother’s lifeless body.
Outside, the villain (or should I call him ‘The Killer’ now?) runs into the father, who has just returned home from work. The Killer has no compunction about shooting him too. He then walks off. The young boy hears the shot, runs out and now finds his father dead. In an instant he is an orphan. But this young chap is made of much sterner stuff than the average ten year old boy. He doesn’t sit around crying. He grabs a knife and rushes after The Killer, who by this stage has climbed into his jeep and is about to drive off. As the vehicle jerks forward, the boy leaps into the back and begins to wrestle with The Killer while the vehicle is in motion. During the scuffle, the briefcase, which appears to be the motivation behind the evenings carnage, falls out of the jeep and bounces off a bridge and lands in a river. The wrestling continues and eventually the big hairy oath overpowers the boy and tosses him from the jeep.
After this vigorous start the film veers off into territory that had me confused. You know how I said at the start that the theme song was part ‘spaghetti western’ – well this is where the ‘western’ kicks in. The screen is filled with cowboys mounted on their horses riding quickly. Where are they going? I don’t know, but they’ll get there quickly. Then we meet our hero, James Bond (Super Star Krishna). He is decked out in cowboy gear, with his hat pulled over his eyes. It appears that he was taking a little nap. But the sound of thundering hooves from the other riders has awoken him. And soon he gets into a gunfight with them. This scene features a bizarre camera technique which I can’t recall seeing before. When our hero, Bond 777, shoots one of the bad guys down from their horse, as they fall, the hand held camera twists and follows the guy to the ground – so he is still upright in the picture frame. The landscape (horizon) and the horse aren’t falling so they tilt sideways in the frame. Put simply the camera just rolls with the actor – giving the appearance that the background is spinning. It is an effective and dizzying technique. That’s the thing about watching films like this — the people who made this film may not have been the most technically proficient, but in their favour they have not been slavishly taught the rights and wrongs of camera work. They tried new stuff to create the effect they were after and for that I wholeheartedly congratulate them on their enterprise and inventiveness.
But this film isn’t a western. Agent 777 just happens to be on assignment in South America (I think — I don’t speak the language, remember!) and now he has just wrapped it up — by shooting the bad guys off their horses — and can return to a ‘normal’ life of espionage.
Soon after an important man is killed. I would like to think he is a scientist, but because I can’t understand the dialogue he could equally be a politician or a millionaire. Anyway, the bad guys want him dead for some reason. Who are the bad guys? Well the head villain seems to be called ‘Boss’. He is surrounded by the usual pack of minions who are all dressed the same — which in this instance happens to be striped shirts that make them look like sports umpires or boxing referees. Boss’ chief henchmen happen to be ‘henchwomen’ and he has a couple of them. One is Jamilla who appears to be quite lethal, and under her she controls a cadre of evil taxi-drivers. I couldn’t quite catch the others name.
Out of all the minions under the Boss’ command, the most effective of all are a trio of dogs. Yes, dogs! They attack one man for a pendant he is wearing (I am sure it has some relationship to the plot). Then they arrange the kidnapping of hotel’s singer — I think she is called Miss Kissmiss (but don’t quote me on that). But the dogs most audacious act is when they rob a bank. The three dogs are each given a suitcase and sent to break into a high security bank. To do this, the first dog walks up to the security guard and the gate and drop the suitcase at the man’s feet, then the dog wanders off. The guard is curious and opens the case. It explodes. The dog comes back and retrieves the keys from the guard’s lifeless body. The dogs make their way inside and turn all the dial and tumblers with their noses untill they are inside the vault where they load the money into the remaining suitcase and then escape. I know that sounds pretty silly — and yes, it is really silly.
So Agent 777 is called in to investigate the murder of the ‘important man’. And, like all ‘important men’ in films like this, it appears that this one has a very attractive daughter. This attractive daughter just so happens to look exactly like head villainesss Jamilla. So, for her trouble she is kidnapped and held hostage.
Later Agent 777 is sent to investigate the man in room 7 of the hotel where he is staying. When 777 enters the room it is dark. The occupant flicks on the light and 777 is shocked to asee who it is. As you may have guessed, the boy in the opening scene grew up to be Agent 777. And now seated before him is the hairy brute who killed his family. He seems to have cleaned himself up a bit, and his hair has turned white, but there is no mistaking that it is the same man. The older villain starts attacking 777 with a cane — and of course, as you expect in films of this nature, inside the shaft of the cane there is a blade. The battle rages and the villain slashes 777 across the chest, but our hero is not beaten yet. Ultimately the fight turns into a shootout and 777 is quicker on the draw and shoots his nemesis. Or does he? Agent 777 walks over to the dead man, reaches down and pulls away a rubber face mask. This man is an impostor
At the 100 minute mark this film seems to change quite substantially. Once again I am not sure what was really happening. Agent 777 isn’t featured as much and one of the female characters takes over — it appears that one of the bad girls has turned over a new leaf and now is a good girl. Or is it Miss Kissmiss? I don’t know — I have sort of lost track. The good news is she can fight too, and becomes a handy ally for Agent 777.
Try as I might, I don’t think I’ll ever get used to the music and dance interludes in Indian films. This film has a scene where a character is gassed in the back seat of a taxi, and as he screams out the film cuts to a chorus line of go-go dancing girls, which is great (because I like them), but then quickly degenerates into a painful song and dance number. Urrgh! There’s another number performed on a rotating bed that has a certain amount of ‘up-skirt’ creepyness to it. And there’s a booby-shaking number designed to entertain Mr Fakara — a villain who hires the Boss’ services to steal a priceless gold statuette.
Okay, okay, I’ll admit there are some cool music and dance numbers in this film. In the hotel nightclub, Agent 777 works up quite a sweat with Miss Kissmiss. And even better, after the swinging song and dance routine, the scene evolves into a fistfight, where 777 takes on a gang of the Boss’ minions. Added to this, the camera works gets goofy again with the camera flopping on it’s side from time to time, and even spining upside down. You may think this is sloppy film making but I think it’s wild exuberant fun. And the dance off between Good Jamilla and Bad Jamilla was pretty sexy too. And that’s exactly what a film like this should be. It is never going to stack up to an EON Production James Bond film — so why try. Have fun and do the best with what you’ve got …and that’s what James Bond 777 does.
I almost hate to admit this, but I actually really enjoyed this film. That’s not an endorsement by the way. It is a bad film, and you ‘normal people’ should stay well clear. But those wanting something different — hey give it a shot. I’d love to see a pristine DVD release, but there isn’t one available.
For the more fearless (and patient) among you, you can watch it for free online.
To watch James Bond 777, click here.