Tuesday, 19 July 2011

002 Agenti Segretissimi

On the advice of a computer, our two heroes are secretly recruited by the Italian secret service to serve as decoys while the real agents go about their business unmolested; Franco also has a false formula implanted in a filling in his teeth. The complication is that he and Ciccio prove surprisingly elusive and effective, perhaps precisely because they don’t have a clue...

As usual Ciccio is the smarter of the two, but that isn't saying much; besides being Bondian the 002 refers to their low intelligence levels

Highlights include a visit to a health farm, with some amusing double-entendres and with a couple of gay-coded peplum type bodybuilders; a scene at a club where confusion over who is wearing the jackets with the X marked on them leads to the assassins from different enemy powers inadvertently killing one another; and the duo’s being taken as subjects for female agents to practice their seduction skills on – one getting the aged teacher rather than a beautiful young student.

I think Mary Arden from Blood and Black Lace plays the student seductress here

A visit to a Chinese restaurant, where the orders lead to plates of worms, bowls of beetles and suchlike, is perhaps a bit un-PC, but in keeping with our heroes limited view of the world – at another point, while burgling a house, they reject a Da Vinci as worthless in favour of an unknown painter with a Sicilian name.

The Italian cultural context is important in these films, which were more for domestic consumption (especially in the south) than international distribution.

Lucio Fulci directed, in that anonymous, professional, efficient way that tended to be the case for anyone working with the two comedians. An issue here, much as with the Bond films it spoofs in fact, is that the franchise was more important than the filmmaker. (This is why Tarantino, despite his avowed desire to do a Bond film, will probably never get the chance.) Basically it was don’t get in the stars’ way and let them do their thing.

Neither the best or the worst of its type, it moves along at a decent pace and is good natured enough, with Piero Umiliani’s breezy soundtrack a further plus.

Special thanks to Merlin for the custom subs.

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