Friday, 16 May 2008

Fenomenal e il tesoro di Tutankamen / Phenomenal and the Treasure of Tutankamen

This early outing from Ruggero Deodato is quite frankly a bit of a mess, albeit a sporadically entertaining one.

Inspired by the fumetti neri, especially Diabolik, the first problem is that we're pretty much in the dark about who our titular protagonist, hero and point of identification actually is. We know he's one of the good guys thanks to the opening sequence in which he takes out a boat full of heroin smugglers, but after this he actually drops out of the narrative, such as it is, for close on half an hour; after watching the film I found I wanted to check if the film was actually a sequel and that the audience was expected to know Fenomenal's alter-ego, even if it isn't terribly difficult to guess.

The second is that the film as a whole really isn't that good, with little of the comic book vibe apparent in the general style and mediocre action and set piece sequences. While it was Deodato's official debut, he'd picked up a lot of credits as assistant and second unit director, so couldn't exactly be described as inexperienced.

On the plus side Lucretia Love and Carla Romanelli are easy on the eyes and Bruno Nicolai's catchy score easy on the ears.

The story sees the Mask of Tutankhamun exhibited in a Paris museum; cue lots of location shots of the Eiffel Tower, the Champs Elysee etc.

Various criminal masterminds played by the likes of John Karlsen and Gordon Mitchell want the mask, with a complication provided by the fact that there are not just one but two replicas of it floating around. (Seeing that Karlsen is after the mask because it contains a secret code that reveals the location of an even greater treasure, presumably he would actually have been satisfied with an exact copy, however.)

The action then shifts to Tunisia; cue more location shots with various bewildered inhabitants wondering what's going on.

Fenomenal shows up once more and saves the day.

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