Wow, that was fast! It took less than a week for my Special Mission Lady Chaplin DVD to arrive from Dorado Films. Certainly can't complain about the service.
Can't complain about the movie, either. It was, by far, the best Eurospy movie I've ever seen. Sure, the English dialogue and dubbing was pretty horrible, but the plot was solid (if a bit implausible) the cast was generally good (as far as I could tell with the dubbing) and Ken Clark made a fantastic action hero.
Basically the plot is this: an American nuclear sub sinks with a full complement of Polaris missiles aboard. International salvage expert Kobre Zoltan (Jacques Bergerac) steals the missiles, intending to sell them to a foriegn power. Zoltan's top aide is the chameleon-like Lady Chaplin (From Russia With Love's Daniela Bianchi) a high-fashion designer and mercenary hit woman with a penchant for disguises. When the theft is discovered, CIA agent 077, Dick Malloy, sets out to retrieve the stolen warheads.
As I said above, the plot actually holds together, and the pacing is very much like a Connery-era Bond film. The ruggedly handsome, athletic Clark is flat-out awesome in the fight scenes, which are as brutal and well choreographed as anything in the early Bond flicks. Hell, I think agent Dick Malloy would give Jason Bourne a workout! There are none of the big futuristic sets or seismic pyrotechnics customary in the 007 series, but that's somewhat compensated for with authentic international locations and the aforementioned fight scenes. Bergerac is a great villain, and Bianchi seems to be having a lot of fun with her amoral role.
Now, don't get me wrong. Special Mission Lady Chaplin is no Goldfinger or Thunderball, but considering its budget and its exploitative raison d'etre, it's a winner.
Dorado's DVD is solid. The print is far from pristine, with plenty of debris, specks and the occasional missing frames. But it's very watchable, and presented widescreen. The sound is a bit muffled or fuzzy at times, but Dorado has – somewhat surprisingly, for such a small label – included subtitles. The disc also includes brief text bios of the stars and trailers for other Eurospy flicks, including several others with Clark.
I liked it a lot, clearly, and I'll be ordering the other two "Dick Malloy, 077" flicks – Mission Bloody Mary and From The Orient With Fury – when I can scrape up the dough. I wouldn't recommend it for everybody – but if you have the patience to put up with the atrocious dubbing, and you appreciate the genre, you'll probably enjoy it.