12/20/06

504 Secret Agent Super Dragon

(1966, Action-Spies, color)

Are you a natural blackhead?

Rating: **1/2

In a nutshell:

Suave agent Super Dragon charms sexy ladies and thwarts a diabolical plot of some kind.

Summary:

The ever sensitive and dignified Super Dragon wants to know if the carpet matches the drapes.Ex-superspy Bryan Cooper (a.k.a. Super Dragon) relaxes by the pool, using a metronome to stop his own heart for kicks. A sultry blond former coworker stops by to chat and take off her clothes. A call from headquarters interrupts their innuendo-laced banter, and the chief of their undefined intelligence agency tells them that one of their friends died while investigating mysterious deaths at a Michigan university. Of course Super Dragon must come out of retirement to take the case.

He springs his doughy inventor/sidekick from prison and heads to Michigan, where he interrogates a happy policeman and beats up a bowling alley proprietor. I’m not sure, but I think the bowling alley proprietor was distributing drug-laced chewing gum to the college kids. There’s a shootout, and the proprietor dies, while the guy who shot him commits suicide before Super Dragon can question him.

Apparently there was a young Dutch woman in the car with Super Dragon’s friend when he died, and apparently this is important, because SD and his doughy convict sidekick travel to Amsterdam to track her down. Finding her occupies most of the central portion of the film. Their Dutch contact, a sultry redhead with dubious loyalties, leads them to a seemingly irrelevant meeting with a millionaire art dealer. The redhead apologizes for the meaningless encounter by sleeping with him.

The sultry blond from the beginning arrives from America just as the doughy sidekick finds the young Dutch woman in question—she’s dying of the same drug that has been causing trouble in Michigan. SD visits her in the hospital. She begs him for the antidote and expires.

SD and the sidekick visit the clinic after hours, but get soundly drubbed by acrobatic thugs. The sidekick falls into the canal, and of course the bad guys assume that he drowned. SD gets sealed into a coffin and dumped in a bay. He survives by stopping his heart with his watch, and then inflating some compressed air bags he just happened to have in his pocket to float him to the surface. Fortunately for him, the sidekick survived and happens to be waiting at exactly the right spot to cut him out of the coffin.

Using the highly sensitive reel-to-reel recorder in his cigarette lighter, SD finds out the supervillain’s phone number and has his blond agent friend use it to find out his nemesis’ identity. It turns out that the villain is none other than the irrelevant millionaire art dealer, and the redheaded Dutch contact secretly works for him.

They all go to a costume party/art auction in disguise, though the costume portion of the party seems to consist mostly of non-concealing half-masks. No one recognizes them anyway, and SD manages to pass himself off as one of the villainous art dealer’s evil cabal by simply changing the color of his mask. The art dealer explains his nefarious plot (the fake Ming vases are made from pressed drugs, which will somehow help them rule the world!) and then drugs everyone at the party just for fun.

The sultry blond is captured, stripped to her underwear, and tortured. The traitorous redhead rescues SD from certain death, confesses that she was hooked on the world domination drug, and dramatically dies in the middle of their farewell kiss. SD saves the blond and they torture the torturer until he tells them everything he knows about something or other. The doughy sidekick arrives with the authorities and everyone shoots everyone else.

The dramatic basement scene at the end involves some really large gears and a secret drug vault where the art dealer commits suicide rather than reveal the antidote, but SD takes a close up picture of something with a secret camera, which somehow makes everything all better. In the end, he ignores orders to return to headquarters so that he can make time with a random Dutch honey.

Introduction:

Please give his best wishes to everybody.Tom and Crow have built a new robot named Minski, who rattles around the desk and shouts, “I am the atomic powered robot! Please give my best wishes to everybody!” over and over again. He doesn’t know how to do anything else.

Host Segment One:

Sick of Minski’s repetitive cries, Joel tries to reprogram him with a baseball bat. Tom and Crow prevent him. Down in Deep 13, TV’s Frank has invented Virtual Comedy, a VR machine that simulates an appreciative audience for the amateur stand-up comic. Dr. Forrester comes home from his class reunion to find Frank lost in his virtual public’s adulation. He turns the heckler setting way up until Frank has to call for virtual security. Joel and the ‘Bots have invented Microgolf, a golf course composed and equipped with various microorganisms.

Host Segment Two:

Joel and the ‘Bots dress like cool jazz hep cats and play the swanky Super Dragon theme. It consists of the words, “Secret Agent / Super Dragon,” repeated ad nauseum. Joel tries to spice it up by passionately smooching his bass fiddle, but it doesn’t really help.

Host Segment Three:

Crow has written a script for a new age spy thriller called, “The Spy Who Hugged Me.” It features an androgynous yet sexy secret agent who tells beautiful women that he’s already in a committed relationship and asks villains to respect his boundaries.

Host Segment Four:

Joel tells Tom and Crow about spy school, where potential espionage practitioners learn important spy skills, like how to dispense appropriate post-kill puns. For example: “We went for a little swim” means, “They tried to drown me.”

Host Segment Five:

Dr. Forrester does a mini-seminar about supervillainy. When Joel and the ‘Bots ask about the boring villain from the movie, Dr. Forrester explains that his major failing was that he did not own a strange or rare animal. Frank asks a pat question about supervillain franchise rights and falls asleep during the lengthy answer. Dr. Forrester proves his supervillainous instincts by putting his hand in water.

Stinger:

An acrobatic thug leaps onto Super Dragon’s back.

Thoughts:

I have utterly failed to recognize this character, so complete is his disguise.Why do women love Super Dragon? He’s oily, smarmy, and only offers a light so that he can steal the cigarette as soon as it’s burning. He’s got a deep, sexy voice, but the movie was originally filmed in Italian, so who knows what he sounded like before they dubbed him?

The villains in this movie seemed to be in a terrible hurry to die. Momentary defeat with the barest hint that someone might possibly ask “Who sent you?” or “What are you doing here” sends these fragile thugs reaching straight for their cyanide capsule. I’ll buy that from crazed Japanese cultists, Islamic jihadists, or Irish revolutionaries, but bland art dealers shouldn’t inspire that kind of desperate loyalty. Even the dealer himself commits suicide at the end, which doesn’t make sense to me. He’s the mastermind, for crying out loud! Doesn’t he have henchmen in hiding specifically for the purpose of breaking him out of prison in time for the sequel? Considering what his evil scheme turned out to be, he probably committed suicide to avoid the embarrassment of someone asking, “What the hell were you thinking?” Perhaps an exotic pet would have made him more sinister.

My favorite host segment is “The Spy Who Hugged Me,” followed closely by “post-kill puns.” Crow’s sensitive new age spy made me laugh. Dr. Forrester’s seminar was interesting, but begs the question, where is Dr. Forrester’s strange or rare animal? Is it Frank? Is occasional Deep 13 mole person denizen Jerry and/or Sylvia? Perhaps he’s not a supervillain at all, specializing instead in Mad Science. The line between the two professions, if there is one, must be very, very thin.

The film segments didn’t make very much sense, but Joel and the ‘Bots manage to get off some good comments. When the lengthy opening credits continually focus on a telephone and a revolver Tom says, “Sir, you have a call on chamber four.” When the doughy sidekick starts demonstrating his super keen spy gadgetry Crow observes, “He’s a white trash Q.” When Super Dragon rather slimily asks the Dutch contact if she’s a real redhead someone asks, “Are you a real blackhead?” It’s a fun, fast paced adventure with some funny comments and huge, gaping plot holes. It’s worth an evening’s viewing, if you don’t try to understand what’s going on.