MASTER PLAN: get the death ray plans from a kidnapped scientist. Yet another in a long line of European James Bond knock offs during the swinging sixties, this piqued my curiosity due to the casting of Gordon Scott as the super agent - meet Bart Fargo! I was mostly familiar with Scott for his Tarzan portrayals of several years earlier, some of which were quite good; of course, he is also well known for his roles in Italian musclemen epics, playing mythical heroes named Goliath or Maciste. So, he has no problem depicting the physical aspect of being a hero - you have no trouble believing he can beat up a couple of henchmen. In fact, most of the entertainment value here stems from a wry sensibility developing by the time Scott is thrashing his 4th or 5th thug (Fargo is the target of several killers during the movie). By that 4th time, Fargo is barely trying - he merely taps a door into the bad guy and then starts slapping him around like a wet noodle. I thought, this is what happens when Goliath puts on a suit and pretends to be a secret agent. This was one of Scott's last leading roles after a career of over a decade and it's actually a shame he didn't get to do more of these, improving on the formula.
The plot begins with the kidnapping of a scientist - much gunplay and cars moving in the night. Fargo isn't introduced until a good 20 minutes in, awoken from his beauty sleep by a couple of babes. He has the now-familiar repartee with this film's version of M and Ms. Moneypenny - it's blatantly derivative. The problem with Italian pics such as these (such as "OK Connery" aka "Operation Double 007") is the dubbing; the voice actors obfuscate the speech patterns and you're guessing what Scott's performance was really like. The spoken dialog itself is terribly crude: a woman is painting some self-portrait and Fargo climbs into her apartment thru the roof; 'What's the matter?' she says. 'Haven't you ever seen an artist's studio?' This passes for sophisticated spy seduction talk here. Later, Fargo interrogates one of his attackers. 'Awright, talk!' Fargo demands, pointing his silencer. 'If I tell ya, the boss'll have me killed,' the guy answers, 'please try to understand!' Then, Fargo pauses and growls 'Listen, you tell me or you're gonna be in REAL trouble.' What's Fargo's threat? Kill the guy even more? Finally, the FX - oh, oh. Fargo is forced off the road at one point in his red European sportscar, falling off a cliff into the sea; only, it's obviously a tiny model car falling into a pond. I laughed out loud yet, at the same time, admired the filmmakers' audacity. They're telling the audience, hey, this is what you get; you don't like it, sue us. Hero:5 Villains:3 Femme Fatales:3 Henchmen:3 Fights:4 Stunts/Chases:4 Gadgets:3 Auto:4 Locations:4 Pace:4 overall:4-
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