Agente 077 missione Bloody Mary Reviews
Since my brother reviewed the golden Cadillac James Bond 007 film series, I found it perfectly fitting for me to review Italy's low budget rip-off trilogy featuring the suave, cool headed secret agent 077. I find the term "rip-off" to be a tad harsh here as this actually isn't a bad film at all. We'll use the term "inspired" instead to be nice.
Well back in the 1960s the three "B"s were God. That was 1. Beatles, 2. Bond and 3. Batman. Bond films were the box offices biggest draws but Albert Broccoli and Harry Saltzman couldn't produce the films fast enough fill the need by audiences so Italy was gracious enough to lend a hand and release a number of "inspired" films themselves, the most popular being the 077 trilogy (subtle weren't they picking that for his code number?). Being a hardcore Bond fanatic as well as a connoisseur of Italian films, these Bond "inspired" films are a combination made in heaven for this cult film fanatic. Heaven was exactly what I got as this first 077 adventure is a perfect mixture of a gritty Spaghetti Western and James Bond thriller.
Ken Clark plays our Bond clone agent 077 but instead of working for the British Secret Service, he is American and works for the CIA. 077 is on the trial of a stolen nuclear weapon device but not surprisingly he's not the only man who wants to get his hands on it. Nipping at the back of his feet are the Russian and Chinese secret service. Espionage and action are sure to come as well with interesting twists with "what side are they on" moments.
All the staples of Bond films are here: eye catching title sequence, car chases, spies in tuxedos, exotic locations, fights sequences, gorgeous women, wonderful music, and nasty villains. Some may just call this a "low grade Bond rip-off" but the filmmakers did a wonderful job with their shoestring budget to bring us a really enjoyable espionage thriller. I especially dug the gritty filmmaking nature to the picture very reminiscent of the popular Italian spaghetti westerns of the day.
Ken Clark is a likable handsome lead and is perfectly cast as a Bond Clone. He's a decent actor and holds his own in onscreen fights (the "From Russia with Love" inspired train fist fight was especially thrilling). He may work for the CIA as opposed to her majesty's secret service but I do believe Bond has met his match!
Are you a fan of early 1960s James Bond films? Then I highly recommend this 077 adventure. It may have a tight budget and the villain is rather lackluster but it doesn't hinder this espionage thriller too bad. I say give it shot if you can find it as it is hard to come by and the DVD release by Dorado Films leaves a lot to be desired.
Ah... the DVD release. Let me talk about that for a while. Well I blindly purchased a box set from the company Dorado Films entitled "How Europe Does Babes, Bombs and Guns" wanting really bad to see these obscure Euro Spy films. Well apparently Dorado films doesn't know how to properly transfer a widescreen film as they take the 2.35:1 ratio and stretch it 1.85.1 in order to fill your widescreen TV. Companies that know what the hell they are doing still leave 2.35 aspect ratio films slightly letterboxed so even when they are shown animorphically on a widescreen TV, they still have some black bars on the top and bottom of the image. Dorado Films instead stretch the damn picture image to fill your entire screen so everything in the film looks extra long vertically. Wheels are oval, characters are look 10 feet tall, the list goes on and on. This was EXTREMELY annoying and I will probably have to beg my friend Bill to fix the damn ratio problems. Hell I would preferred to have a cropped Pan & Scan version as opposed to this. Nothing burns my ass more than DVD companies releasing films with fucked up picture ratios. I mean come on! Can't they see the image is stretched when they are transferring it? Well this purchasing experience has chapped by ass from buying any other films from the company and that's a damn shame as I do truly love supporting small time cult film companies. If you can forgive the stretched image then give the DVDs a shot otherwise you have been warned.
Dick Malloy will return in "From the Orient With Fury"