18 August 2006 | Bunuel1976
FANTOMAS STRIKES BACK (Andre' Hunebelle, 1965) **1/2
This one is actually superior to the first installment in the series (see above): the plot revolves around a couple of scientists who have each been working on a brain-washing device(!) and who had been hoping to unite their forces in order to perfect it - which places it, more or less, into the realm of science fiction; needless to say, Fantomas sees this as a good way to bring about world-domination (with him as its ruler) and promptly kidnaps them!
The heroic reporter couple and the comic police duo are back on the criminal's trail; however, this time around it's not only Fantomas who takes up various disguises to carry out his nefarious schemes (though the mask worn by the actor is too obvious and won't fool any audience member!) but also the other Jean Marais and De Funes/Juve!; another novelty is the more personal nature of the relationship between the Mylene Demongeot character and Marais/Fantomas: at one point, she's herself kidnapped and one almost expects their relationship to be developed into something approximating to a parallel romance, but it's never taken that far and we're soon back to more familiar (and less challenging) ground!
The finale takes place in Fantomas' volcanic hide-out; interestingly, footage from Haroun Tazieff's LES RENDEZ-VOUS DU DIABLE (1958) - a documentary about volcanic eruptions - was interspersed into the actual film for authenticity's sake...before it reverts to fancy, with the master criminal's racing-car converted instantaneously into a jet and taking flight!!