Personal blog - and temporary home page until new website is finished - of writer, editor and graphic artist Christopher Mills

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Agent 077 Will Return...

Still can't shake this "spy" mood. Finished Young Bond #3, Double or Die, and it was great! Charlie Higson continues to knock 'em out of the park with this series. Now, I'm reading the third Alex Rider novel, Skeleton Key.

Now that I've read and enjoyed a few Rider novels, I'm hoping to rent the Alex Rider: Operation Stormbreaker DVD next weekend. I hear it's not very good, but what the hell. I liked the first Agent Cody Banks film (tho the sequel sucked), and if it's even as entertaining as that teen spy flick, I'll enjoy it.

Speaking of teen spies, why isn't Richard Grieco's If Looks Could Kill on DVD? It wasn't that horrid. Now, John Stamos' Never Too Young To Diethat was horrid, despite a cameo by George Lazenby.

Anyway... I finally ordered the other two Dick Malloy Agent 077 DVDs from Dorado Films, Mission Bloody Mary and From the Orient With Fury (a/k/a Fury on The Bosphorous), both starring Ken Clark. As posted previously, I recently bought the third 077 film, Special Mission Lady Chaplin, and loved it. Hopefully these two earlier productions will be as much fun as that one.

Sadly, there aren't very many quality DVD releases of Eurospy films available. Aside from the 077 films from Dorado, the only other ones I know of are the Dark Sky Films Drive-In Double Feature DVD of Assassination in Rome and Espionage in Tangiers (which also calls its hero "Agent 077"). Unfortunately, while the films look very good, neither of them are as much fun as the Clark movies. Fred Olen Ray's Retromedia issued a triple feature disc of three of the Kommisar X films, but they're pretty crappy, fullscreen prints.

I just remembered a few others. Several years ago, Hen's Tooth Video released a beautiful DVD of the excellent Deadlier Than The Male with Richard Johnson (The Haunting) as an updated, very Bondian, "Bulldog" Drummond. Unfortunately, the sequel, Some Girls Do, hasn't made it to DVD. And back around the time of the last Austin Powers movie, Fox released the dreadful Modesty Blaise film along with Fathom, with Raquel Welch. I have the Blaise disc, but I never picked up Fathom. Maybe I should see if I can track down a cheap, used copy somewhere...


bish8 said...

I think I'm one of four people who saw the Alex Rider film Stormbreaker in the theatre. Does it have problems? Yes. Did I care and did I enjoy it? Yes.

The casting of Alex Pettyfer as Alex Rider was a great choice. However, while casting Mickey Rourke as the villian might have worked out great, the decision to turn him into a flaming version of Eddie Izzard in full drag effectively killed the film being taken seriously.

The film does an excellent job with the set pieces, following the book quite closely, but the character scenes move into melodrama and camp as if the director couldn't bring himself to take the script by the book's author seriously.

Get a copy and check it out. I think you'll enjoy it, but be disappointed by what could have been a real franchise if it had been handled differently.

Once the picture didn't do the expected business in England, the American distributor just dumped the film here with very little promotion. As a result, it sunk within a week or two.

Anonymous said...

Even better than the Hen's Tooth release of DEADLIER THAN THE MALE (which I used to own) is the Network Region 2 dvd release of THE BULLDOG DRUMMOND DOUBLE BILL: DEADLIER THAN THE MALE/SOME GIRLS DO (which I upgraded to a few months ago). You'll need Region free dvd player, but those are so inexpensive these days you really owe it to yourself to get one anyway.

Here's the Amazon UK page:

NoelCT said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
NoelCT said...

Sorry to post then delete, but I screwed something up with the link. Anyway ...

Chris, have you seen the 2004 Modesty Blaise film MY NAME IS MODESTY? Worth checking out.

It's done on the cheap and a few parts (even, sadly, the lead) are miscast, but it's a well written, faithful prequel that was meant to launch a series of films. Before the Weinsteins yanked out most of the budget, that is.