31 March 2006 | MrTaft
This obscure Italian production is set in Columbia of all places, where it seems the riverbeds here are awash with diamonds, and one man, the evil What's-his-name, is seeking to monopolize this trade and run everyone else (who owns land with diamonds) out of town. Barbara De Rossi plays Vanessa, one of those land-owners, a failed New York actress. She gets a call from some lawyer that her late father (who she hadn't seen for years) has left her his estate, which includes the title to the land with diamonds. If she doesn't hurry up and get down to Columbia soon, the evil man will buy the deed and get them! About this time Franco Nero comes into the picture, playing Franco! He and his annoying friend are cruising around and stop in Columbia, so Franco can send a money order to buy some bar on some beach in Tahiti. Vanessa also arrives and is hounded by the lawyer to pay her taxes on the deed, or she'll lose the land. She has three days to get $10 000, but she doesn't seem too interested. She also has no money, so what can she do? Then she's introduced to her half-brother, a young native lad who seems to know everything. They stay at her parents' old house with the maid, a black woman who continually has this enormous grin on her face, not matter what's going on. That woman is hysterical. Anyway, the half-brother already has a diamond he found and tells Vanessa they can sell it for $10 000 to secure the deed. Again, she doesn't seem too interested, so the boy goes to town to see what he can do on his own. He comes across Franco's friend and offers him the diamond. And what luck - Franco has exactly $10 000! Only problem is he's not interested and doesn't want to buy, but his friend steals the money and makes the trade, before the evil man's henchmen arrive and try to kidnap the boy and his diamond. Once Franco realizes he's lost his money, he chases after the boy to get it back, and eventually joins him and Vanessa in a fight against the evil monopolizer.
It has to be said that Franco never is really on their (Vanessa and the boy's) side. He's just trying to get his money back and keeps refusing the diamond, but every time he has the cash in his grasp Vanessa takes it back again, now determined to get the deed. Seems a little competition was all it took to change her mind! The rest of the movie is just a cat-and-mouse chase through the forests of Columbia as Franco and Vanessa try to outrun the evil man and make it back to the lawyer's on time, thwarting death-attempts as they go. There are many running gags, with Franco constantly stealing the same bus to escape/chase the villains, and the evil man thumping his own silly henchmen and chucking their cigarettes away (his ultimate downfall in the end). They aren't really funny. There is also a blossoming romance between Franco and Vanessa (of course), which shows itself at the local Fiesta. Vanessa is enjoying a dance with some local while Franco watches, his jealousy building until he snatches her away in disgust! He then spends the rest of the movie trying to deny his feelings for her (but not vice-versa!), until everything ties-up in the end. I must also mention that the black maid seems to be some kind of psychic and has numerous visions of Franco and Vanessa in mirrors! This underlying "voodoo" theme is never really explained, and quite hard to swallow. There are numerous action scenes which are entertaining at least, but nothing special. The bus/car chases are probably the best. Later, Franco and Vanessa are caught in a leopard trap in a tree and spend the night there, unable to escape! Looking back to all of the other Italian rip-offs, I was expecting a lot more action and violence, but this film was very subdued. It's more of an adventure than action, with Franco and Vanessa racing around the hills dodging henchmen, and exploring the wonders of Fiesta. As far as acting goes, Franco Nero plods along, almost void of facial expressions (I think he smiles twice), and not looking like he put in much effort. Barbara De Rossi is dubbed. The rest of the cast are average at best, although the evil monopolizer has some good scenes throwing his weight around over everybody. Some funny lines, too. That smiling maid will make you laugh. There's also another black woman named Mother Teresa, if I'm not mistaken! Apparently she's the local matriarch who also knows Vanessa from way back, and helps them escape the bad guys for a while. She turned in a good performance as well.
For what it's worth, this movie isn't too bad. I doubt many people would track it down (or bother, for that matter). It's not something you have to see, and there's certainly nothing special about it. Tomasso directs with some flair and intrigue, and the scenery is lovely. There's also a song that plays throughout the film, some Calypso-sounding thing which is priceless. Other than that, there's really not much else to look out for. The diamond is huge and I would think Franco could have gotten a hell of a lot more than $10 000 for it, so I don't know why he was so worried about losing his money. He could have bought his bar and kept some extra. It's just an excuse to keep the film going. And what a film it turns out to be!