Get Flint: at Spy Vibe

Jason at Spy Vibe is running a competition for one DVD copy each of Our Man Flint and In Like Flint, two of the most GROOVY 60s spy films of all time. For Spy Vibers who need to add Flint to their collection, send an email to jason@spyvibe.com with IN LIKE FLINT or OUR MAN FLINT as the subject heading by Sept 20th. One DVD per winner. Increase your chances by putting your name in for both random drawings. DVDs are NTSC region 1 (anamorphic widescreen, 2002, optional subtitles). Winners will be announced Sept 20th.

All I can say is, if you don’t have these movies, what are you waiting for?

To read more, click here.

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Get Flint: at Spy Vibe

Yakuza Deka: The Assassin (1970)

Release Year: 1970
Country: Japan
Director: Yukio Noda
Writers: Fumio Konami, Yukio Noda
Cast: Sonny Chiba, Ryohei Uchida, Fumio Watanabe, Giant Baba
Editor: Osamu Tanaka
Music: Masao Yagi
Producer: Koji Ohta

The Assassin is the second film in the Yakuza Deka series, and as the poster above would suggest, this film received an American release. And while the poster plays up the more violent aspects of the story, it is in fact a whole lot lighter in tone, and subsequently far more enjoyable than the first Yakuza Deka film.

This film opens at Tokyo Airport and the Oriental Dance Company have just arrived. They are shuffled off onto a bus with all their equipment. Waiting for them is notorious gangster Ishiguro — a member of the Seiwa gang. Ishiguro is played by Ryohei Uchida, who was also in the first Yakuza Deka film playing an almost identical character; even in the way they dress — flamboyant white suits. Ishiguro has been waiting because hidden inside the Dance troops musical drum kits is a shipment of marijuana — the ‘Devil’s Weed’.

Just as the deal is done, the police swoop. Ishiguro (and an offsider) make a run for it with large suitcases full of grass. The police slowly tighten the cordon around Ishiguro until it looks like he is trapped and has no where to go. Just as he is about to be taken into custody a slick dune buggy slides into the picture. Behind the wheel is Hayata (Sonny Chiba) in a ridiculous wide brimmed hat. He looks like a pimp from a Blaxploitation flick. Hayata calls to Ishiguro and his minion to leap into the buggy, which they do. Hayata speeds away with an armada of police cars hot on his tail. Of course, they get away.

They fugitives head to the ‘Queen Bee’ night club where a swinging little band called ‘The Scorpions’ are playing. It’s a happening place. But Hayata and Ishiguro are not there for the music. They are there for the gambling and out the back there are gaming tables. Later that evening, Mob Boss Mano walks in. Then a four man acrobatic hit squad somersault down from the roof. They are all dressed in black and have rubber face masks covering their features. Armed with machine guns they start firing at Boss Mano. Hayata leaps to the Mob bosses defence and into harms way. The stream of bullets plough into Hayata’s body. Or so it seems. He is wearing a bullet proof vest. As the gun fire dies down, Hayata steps into action with his fists and feet against the deadly Assassins.

The Assassins realise their time is running out as more of Mano’s re-enforcements arrive. They flee. Afterward, Hayata asks for a job working for the Seiwa Gang. Mano recruits him, teaming him up with Ishiguro. It appears that these Assassins work for a rival gang controlled by a mobster named Natsui. Mano assigns Ishiguro and Hayata to kill rival mobster Natsui.

But if you have been reading the reviews in order, and have looked at Secret Police, you will know that Hayata is actually an undercover ‘super-cop’ and will have guessed that his mission is to bring down the mobsters on both sides. To lay this on nice and thick the film cuts to Hayata’s mission briefing scene, which adhering to standard spy film tradition is in a darkened room, where Hayata is shown slides and footage of the pertinent players involved in the operation. Hayata’s name is then wiped from the police list and then told he will be operating on his own — with no backup or guarantee of safety. Finally, before being sent off, he is given a suitcase full of secret weapons which he can use over the course of the mission (but to my recollection the suitcase is never seen again throughout the film — so much for ‘gadgets’!)

The film has a weird romantic interlude. Actually the interlude isn’t that weird, but the way it is filmed is. As Hayata and his romantic interest ride on horseback, a silky pop song is crooned over the top — nothing new there, right? But it looks like the film-makers have experimented with putting vaseline on the edges of the lens to soften the image. In one part of the montage it looks like they have added too much and the edges have dirty ripples. In other parts of the montage it almost looks like a smoky effect, but it has only worked at the bottom, and although deliberate, it looks like someone has over-exposed the film. I guess you’ve got to admire the film-makers willingness to experiment. Thankfully, director Noda’s strength lies in tough, straight action scenes and this film has plenty.

Now this blog is not a forum to condone or condemn drug taking. But when a film depicts drug-taking (or a scene depicting the effects of drug taking), each viewer will judge or react to the scene based on their own personal experiences (or there lack thereof). Now I am child of the late seventies and early eighties and my life has not been so sheltered that I have never met any drug users. I have met many from all walks of life. In this day and age, I would suggest most people work with at least one recreational drug user. And when I have been in the company of people of the drug taking persuasion who are older than myself I have always been told that the ‘marijuana of the early ’70s was so much stronger’ than what my generation was/is exposed to. As I am not a time traveller I can not attest to the veracity of those claims. There may be a touch of the ‘rose coloured glasses’ syndrome inherent in these kind of statements too – I do not know. Anyway, when you look at a film like Yakuza Deka: The Assassin and you witness the depiction of a ’70s ‘marijuana party’ two possibilities spring to mind. The first is ‘Wow!’ — the dope back then was a lot stronger — it caused people to have wild orgies, while the room around them pulsed and throbbed as it changed colours. And the second possibility is that the film-makers had never actually tried marijuana and their depiction of a party is actually a generic ‘trippy drug sequence’. Either way, the scene is a spin out.

I really enjoyed Yakuza Deka: The Assassin. Sonny Chiba provides another highly entertaining performance. There is no denying his athleticism and cat like martial arts skills. This film doesn’t use wires — all the running, jumping and flipping is for real. Chiba even has a few moments of light comedy when he is confronted by the wrestler Giant Baba — he gets to mug and pull a few faces.

The Assassin is better than the first film Secret Police — but due to the familiar casting of Ryohei Uchida once again, and a plot that is so similar to the first film, it feels like an also ran or a remake. I would suggest that if you chose to watch them, do not do it in close succession like I have, because it will take some of the gloss off all that this film has to offer.

Yakuza Deka: The Assassin (1970)

Yakuza Deka: The Assassin (1970)

Release Year: 1970
Country: Japan
Director: Yukio Noda
Writers: Fumio Konami, Yukio Noda
Cast: Sonny Chiba, Ryohei Uchida, Fumio Watanabe, Giant Baba
Editor: Osamu Tanaka
Music: Masao Yagi
Producer: Koji Ohta

The Assassin is the second film in the Yakuza Deka series, and as the poster above would suggest, this film received an American release. And while the poster plays up the more violent aspects of the story, it is in fact a whole lot lighter in tone, and subsequently far more enjoyable than the first Yakuza Deka film.

This film opens at Tokyo Airport and the Oriental Dance Company have just arrived. They are shuffled off onto a bus with all their equipment. Waiting for them is notorious gangster Ishiguro — a member of the Seiwa gang. Ishiguro is played by Ryohei Uchida, who was also in the first Yakuza Deka film playing an almost identical character; even in the way they dress — flamboyant white suits. Ishiguro has been waiting because hidden inside the Dance troops musical drum kits is a shipment of marijuana — the ‘Devil’s Weed’.

Just as the deal is done, the police swoop. Ishiguro (and an offsider) make a run for it with large suitcases full of grass. The police slowly tighten the cordon around Ishiguro until it looks like he is trapped and has no where to go. Just as he is about to be taken into custody a slick dune buggy slides into the picture. Behind the wheel is Hayata (Sonny Chiba) in a ridiculous wide brimmed hat. He looks like a pimp from a Blaxploitation flick. Hayata calls to Ishiguro and his minion to leap into the buggy, which they do. Hayata speeds away with an armada of police cars hot on his tail. Of course, they get away.

They fugitives head to the ‘Queen Bee’ night club where a swinging little band called ‘The Scorpions’ are playing. It’s a happening place. But Hayata and Ishiguro are not there for the music. They are there for the gambling and out the back there are gaming tables. Later that evening, Mob Boss Mano walks in. Then a four man acrobatic hit squad somersault down from the roof. They are all dressed in black and have rubber face masks covering their features. Armed with machine guns they start firing at Boss Mano. Hayata leaps to the Mob bosses defence and into harms way. The stream of bullets plough into Hayata’s body. Or so it seems. He is wearing a bullet proof vest. As the gun fire dies down, Hayata steps into action with his fists and feet against the deadly Assassins.

The Assassins realise their time is running out as more of Mano’s re-enforcements arrive. They flee. Afterward, Hayata asks for a job working for the Seiwa Gang. Mano recruits him, teaming him up with Ishiguro. It appears that these Assassins work for a rival gang controlled by a mobster named Natsui. Mano assigns Ishiguro and Hayata to kill rival mobster Natsui.

But if you have been reading the reviews in order, and have looked at Secret Police, you will know that Hayata is actually an undercover ‘super-cop’ and will have guessed that his mission is to bring down the mobsters on both sides. To lay this on nice and thick the film cuts to Hayata’s mission briefing scene, which adhering to standard spy film tradition is in a darkened room, where Hayata is shown slides and footage of the pertinent players involved in the operation. Hayata’s name is then wiped from the police list and then told he will be operating on his own — with no backup or guarantee of safety. Finally, before being sent off, he is given a suitcase full of secret weapons which he can use over the course of the mission (but to my recollection the suitcase is never seen again throughout the film — so much for ‘gadgets’!)

The film has a weird romantic interlude. Actually the interlude isn’t that weird, but the way it is filmed is. As Hayata and his romantic interest ride on horseback, a silky pop song is crooned over the top — nothing new there, right? But it looks like the film-makers have experimented with putting vaseline on the edges of the lens to soften the image. In one part of the montage it looks like they have added too much and the edges have dirty ripples. In other parts of the montage it almost looks like a smoky effect, but it has only worked at the bottom, and although deliberate, it looks like someone has over-exposed the film. I guess you’ve got to admire the film-makers willingness to experiment. Thankfully, director Noda’s strength lies in tough, straight action scenes and this film has plenty.

Now this blog is not a forum to condone or condemn drug taking. But when a film depicts drug-taking (or a scene depicting the effects of drug taking), each viewer will judge or react to the scene based on their own personal experiences (or there lack thereof). Now I am child of the late seventies and early eighties and my life has not been so sheltered that I have never met any drug users. I have met many from all walks of life. In this day and age, I would suggest most people work with at least one recreational drug user. And when I have been in the company of people of the drug taking persuasion who are older than myself I have always been told that the ‘marijuana of the early ’70s was so much stronger’ than what my generation was/is exposed to. As I am not a time traveller I can not attest to the veracity of those claims. There may be a touch of the ‘rose coloured glasses’ syndrome inherent in these kind of statements too – I do not know. Anyway, when you look at a film like Yakuza Deka: The Assassin and you witness the depiction of a ’70s ‘marijuana party’ two possibilities spring to mind. The first is ‘Wow!’ — the dope back then was a lot stronger — it caused people to have wild orgies, while the room around them pulsed and throbbed as it changed colours. And the second possibility is that the film-makers had never actually tried marijuana and their depiction of a party is actually a generic ‘trippy drug sequence’. Either way, the scene is a spin out.

I really enjoyed Yakuza Deka: The Assassin. Sonny Chiba provides another highly entertaining performance. There is no denying his athleticism and cat like martial arts skills. This film doesn’t use wires — all the running, jumping and flipping is for real. Chiba even has a few moments of light comedy when he is confronted by the wrestler Giant Baba — he gets to mug and pull a few faces.

The Assassin is better than the first film Secret Police — but due to the familiar casting of Ryohei Uchida once again, and a plot that is so similar to the first film, it feels like an also ran or a remake. I would suggest that if you chose to watch them, do not do it in close succession like I have, because it will take some of the gloss off all that this film has to offer.

Yakuza Deka: The Assassin (1970)

James Bond 777 (1971)

Country: India
Director: K.S.R. Das
Starring: ‘Super Star’ Krishna, Satyanarayana, Rajababu
Music: Satyam

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.

James Bond 777 (1971)

James Bond 777 (1971)

Country: India
Director: K.S.R. Das
Starring: ‘Super Star’ Krishna, Satyanarayana, Rajababu
Music: Satyam

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.

James Bond 777 (1971)

Austin Powers: Goldmember (2002)

Country: United States
Director: Jay Roach
Starring: Mike Myers, Beyoncé Knowles, Michael Caine, Seth Green, Robert Wagner, Michael York, Verne Troyer, Mindy Sterling
Cameos: Tom Cruise, Kevin Spacey, Danny DeVito, Gwyneth Paltrow, Brittany Spears, Steven Spielberg, Nathan Lane.
Music: George S. Clinton
‘Soul Bossa Nova’ by Quincy Jones
‘Miss You’ by The Rolling Stones

Austin Powers is back, once again battling master criminal Dr. Evil. The ‘Evil’ scheme this time is, with the help of Hedonistic Dutch metalurgist, Johan Van Der Smut (AKA: Goldmember), to use a tractor beam to drag a solid gold meteorite down to Earth, crashing it into the polar icecap and flooding the planet. The plot; the mission don’t really matter. It’s just framework to hang the jokes upon. Once again Mike Myers plays multiple roles. Not only Austin and Dr. Evil, but Fat Bastard — the oversized odious minion — returns once more and added to the mix is his new character Goldmember (he’s got the midas touch, but he touched it too much). Goldmember is a freaky, disco loving character from the mid 1970s.

Along for the ride are the usual stalwarts of the series. For the good guys we have Michael York as Basil Exposition the Head of British Intelligence. And for the bad guys, we have Robert Wagner as Number 2, Mindy Sterling as Frau Farbissina, Verne Troyer as Mini Me, and Seth Green as Scott Evil. That is one of the good things about the Austin Powers series is that they were able to keep the cast together over three films.

New characters for this instalment are Foxxy Cleopatra, played by Beyoncé Knowles and although I am not a fan of her musical work (I guess that shows my age), her performance is quite good. She seems to have entered into the spirit of the film and plays her Blaxploitation heroine with just the right amount of swagger.

Michael Caine plays Nigel Powers, Austin’s father and it’s a hammy performance. But Caine has acknowlegdged that in the press. But a hammy performance is all that is required. He gets all the worst dialogue and delivers it in the appropriate manner. But Caine isn’t in the film to act. He is there for his ‘presence’. He is there because he was Harry Palmer, the spy with the thick rimmed glasses. He is there because he played the womaniser Alfie. Put simply Michael Caine is a sixties icon, and his presence is to evoke reminisces about those times and those films. And it must be said, it works well, and allows the film-makers the opportunity for some more not-so-subtle in-jokes. When the film was in pre-production there were rumours that Sean Connery was going to be asked to play Austin’s father and Honor Blackman (who played Pussy Galore in Goldfinger) was going to be asked to play Austin’s mother. In the end I do not know if they were asked. It’s an amusing idea though, that Austin could be the son of James Bond and Pussy Galore. Somehow though, I don’t think it would have worked as successfully as utilising Caine. Sure Connery is Bond, but beyond that – what iconography is attached to Connery? Maybe the Aston Martin? Well Caine has the Mini from The Italian Job, which, let’s face it, is funnier — and is used in the film.

I know after all these years it is easy to look back at the Austin Powers series – particularly the second and third films – and turn up your nose. But these films were extremely successful, and they still retain the sense that they are a ‘love-letter’ to the sixties. Sure there’s some overworked comedy routines on display here – a whole lot of dick, poo and bum jokes – but there are one or two nuggets too. My favourite homages to the films of the sixties and seventies, in Goldmember include Austin’s first meeting with Foxxy at Studio 69, and Nathan Lane sits in as a diversion – the scene is lifted directly from the Peter Sellers comedy caper, After The Fox. Then of course there’s the Michael Caine gags. The man is such a legend that most of the references to his past work barely need explaining. The film references Alfie, The Italian Job, and the Harry Palmer films.

Goldmember is easily the weakest of the three Austin Powers films with way too many moments that reek of crass commercialism, such as the intro with Tom Cruise and others, and the musical interlude with Brittany Spears. Even though the Austin Powers films attempt to be a throwback to the sixties, these modern pop references only serve to date the film. It also must be remembered that the first Austin Powers film, when released at the cinemas wasn’t a massive hit. Only on video did it find an audience. The film-makers, erring on the side of caution, on the second and third films have broadened the humour base. You don’t have to be a spy film uber-geek to get all the jokes and as much as it annoys me, I guess referencing current popular trends does broaden the audience base of the film.

I don’t want you to think that I hate Goldmember, after all the Austin Powers series has brought me a lot of enjoyment, but I am very glad that they wrapped up most of the loose ends with this film (although Scott is still loitering around out there). Each subsequent installment has inadvertently stolen some of the enjoyment I got from the first film, International Man Of Mystery, and if the series were to continue, I feel I would eventually have nothing left but an empty heart and contempt for the film-makers.

Austin Powers: Goldmember (2002)

Austin Powers: Goldmember (2002)

Country: United States
Director: Jay Roach
Starring: Mike Myers, Beyoncé Knowles, Michael Caine, Seth Green, Robert Wagner, Michael York, Verne Troyer, Mindy Sterling
Cameos: Tom Cruise, Kevin Spacey, Danny DeVito, Gwyneth Paltrow, Brittany Spears, Steven Spielberg, Nathan Lane.
Music: George S. Clinton
‘Soul Bossa Nova’ by Quincy Jones
‘Miss You’ by The Rolling Stones

Austin Powers is back, once again battling master criminal Dr. Evil. The ‘Evil’ scheme this time is, with the help of Hedonistic Dutch metalurgist, Johan Van Der Smut (AKA: Goldmember), to use a tractor beam to drag a solid gold meteorite down to Earth, crashing it into the polar icecap and flooding the planet. The plot; the mission don’t really matter. It’s just framework to hang the jokes upon. Once again Mike Myers plays multiple roles. Not only Austin and Dr. Evil, but Fat Bastard — the oversized odious minion — returns once more and added to the mix is his new character Goldmember (he’s got the midas touch, but he touched it too much). Goldmember is a freaky, disco loving character from the mid 1970s.

Along for the ride are the usual stalwarts of the series. For the good guys we have Michael York as Basil Exposition the Head of British Intelligence. And for the bad guys, we have Robert Wagner as Number 2, Mindy Sterling as Frau Farbissina, Verne Troyer as Mini Me, and Seth Green as Scott Evil. That is one of the good things about the Austin Powers series is that they were able to keep the cast together over three films.

New characters for this instalment are Foxxy Cleopatra, played by Beyoncé Knowles and although I am not a fan of her musical work (I guess that shows my age), her performance is quite good. She seems to have entered into the spirit of the film and plays her Blaxploitation heroine with just the right amount of swagger.

Michael Caine plays Nigel Powers, Austin’s father and it’s a hammy performance. But Caine has acknowlegdged that in the press. But a hammy performance is all that is required. He gets all the worst dialogue and delivers it in the appropriate manner. But Caine isn’t in the film to act. He is there for his ‘presence’. He is there because he was Harry Palmer, the spy with the thick rimmed glasses. He is there because he played the womaniser Alfie. Put simply Michael Caine is a sixties icon, and his presence is to evoke reminisces about those times and those films. And it must be said, it works well, and allows the film-makers the opportunity for some more not-so-subtle in-jokes. When the film was in pre-production there were rumours that Sean Connery was going to be asked to play Austin’s father and Honor Blackman (who played Pussy Galore in Goldfinger) was going to be asked to play Austin’s mother. In the end I do not know if they were asked. It’s an amusing idea though, that Austin could be the son of James Bond and Pussy Galore. Somehow though, I don’t think it would have worked as successfully as utilising Caine. Sure Connery is Bond, but beyond that – what iconography is attached to Connery? Maybe the Aston Martin? Well Caine has the Mini from The Italian Job, which, let’s face it, is funnier — and is used in the film.

I know after all these years it is easy to look back at the Austin Powers series – particularly the second and third films – and turn up your nose. But these films were extremely successful, and they still retain the sense that they are a ‘love-letter’ to the sixties. Sure there’s some overworked comedy routines on display here – a whole lot of dick, poo and bum jokes – but there are one or two nuggets too. My favourite homages to the films of the sixties and seventies, in Goldmember include Austin’s first meeting with Foxxy at Studio 69, and Nathan Lane sits in as a diversion – the scene is lifted directly from the Peter Sellers comedy caper, After The Fox. Then of course there’s the Michael Caine gags. The man is such a legend that most of the references to his past work barely need explaining. The film references Alfie, The Italian Job, and the Harry Palmer films.

Goldmember is easily the weakest of the three Austin Powers films with way too many moments that reek of crass commercialism, such as the intro with Tom Cruise and others, and the musical interlude with Brittany Spears. Even though the Austin Powers films attempt to be a throwback to the sixties, these modern pop references only serve to date the film. It also must be remembered that the first Austin Powers film, when released at the cinemas wasn’t a massive hit. Only on video did it find an audience. The film-makers, erring on the side of caution, on the second and third films have broadened the humour base. You don’t have to be a spy film uber-geek to get all the jokes and as much as it annoys me, I guess referencing current popular trends does broaden the audience base of the film.

I don’t want you to think that I hate Goldmember, after all the Austin Powers series has brought me a lot of enjoyment, but I am very glad that they wrapped up most of the loose ends with this film (although Scott is still loitering around out there). Each subsequent installment has inadvertently stolen some of the enjoyment I got from the first film, International Man Of Mystery, and if the series were to continue, I feel I would eventually have nothing left but an empty heart and contempt for the film-makers.

Austin Powers: Goldmember (2002)