Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Commando Mengele (1987)

"Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do", Lukas 23:34.

Yes, if I was a Christian, a believer in the supernatural, I would have used these words when watching Commando Mengele. The brain-trust of Eurociné, Andrea Bianchi and Jess Franco uses all their power to create a magnificent turd of a movie - and I love every second of it, every fucking frame. Every cliché, every failed squib, every non-choreographed fight. Everything.

Antonio Mayans, lacking the huge fake-mustache he has in Sadomania, plays Marc Logan, a happy guy with a happy girlfriend - until the day they decides to go up to that heavily guarded fortress on the hill. She get's killed, he's sad for exactly... two seconds, and then a curly-haired acrobat named Mr Agility takes care of the body and they are friends forever! And yes, in the fortress lives Doctor Mengele (Howard Vernon) and he's plans to create a super-race of people by injecting chimpanzee-sperm into women and creating retarded half-apes. Something like that.

Marc contacts nazi-hunter Ohmei Felsberg (Fernando Rey, in one of those charming one-day-cameos) who sends his colleague Aaron Horner (Jack Taylor) to help Marc and his friends (the acrobat, a chubby old guy in a wimpy sporting dress, a crappy hyperactive martial artist and some tech-guy who can do everything)! And there's a love story too. It think.

Wow, this is such a lazy, sloppy and shabby production. The actors seem to act in their own clothes, which makes everything just look Dogme, and the camera is just filming them doing stuff. No special fancy camera moves, just reacting to movements and trying not to miss people when they walk into the scene to say their lines. Written by Jess Franco and directed by Andrea Bianchi, none of them at the height of their career (has Bianchi ever had a height in the career?), they could probably have let the cleaners at the hotel do the work for them.

Chris Mitchum looks like a zombie, a crippled zombie, but is still suppose to be a master kung fu-master - which is seen in cheap slow-mo a couple of times. Howard Vernon do his job, but nothing more, and the same thing with Mayans and Rey. The rest don't do their work at all! Well, Jack Taylor maybe. He's always good. As usual in the production of Eurociné everything looks like it's been shot in the hotel garden and in the rooms belonging to the actors and crew, but here they also have a one or two villas who make everything look a bit more expensive. The action is more fun than usual, but very bad at the same time. Many chases, corny fights, squibs (finally a Eurociné where they could afford squibs!) and even some very cheap explosions (one of them are so weak that parts of the car is being pulled away with visible wires and very slow too!)... not to forget the grenade launch that never shoot away the grenades!

In Commando Mengele everything looks cheap, are cheap and will always be cheaper than my ex-boyfriend. But you know, I like it. I've seen it a second time now, and even if a 94 minute movie took me 180 minutes to watch, it's still entertaining and trashy in that charming way that only European movies shot in South American can be.

I mean, if this was released on blu-ray, I would buy it! Wouldn't you?


Jocke Andersson said...

I have a bone to pick with your review... Of course Bianchi had a highpoint in his career!!! The masterpiece that is Burial ground!!!!! ;)

One thing I found amusing is the fact that the movie is so cheap that they didnt even dub the main actors. They all seem to speak with their own voices, which is pretty cool to hear.. :)

Ninja Dixon said...

Okey, okey Jocke! I made a mistake! Burial Ground is a masterpiece, you know I agree on that... but that's the ONLY high point of his career :)

They all have a variety of nice accents, so I think it was great to hear their normal voices!

David A. Zuzelo said...

Hah! Great review Fred, I remember this film had a very funny shot of a monkey in a hospital bed (funny the things I chose to remember!) and the fact that Mr. Agility never does anything before getting shot.
I have to disagree on Bianchi as well however ;)
Not only did he do Burial Ground, but the same year as this one he made Maniac Killer for Eurocine. Bo Svenson, Chuck Connors AND Robert Ginty all appear and it is cheaper than this film-but also much stranger.
Then we have Malabimba! One of the greatest European Sleaze films ever in it's full uncut form for my money.
His 1975 Strip Nude For Your Killer is a trashy giallo with an unbelievable ending.
I recently reviewed Massacre, a late 80s film that got scissored up in to Fulci's Cat in the Brain as well-not great-but it has a few moments.
And his film, Cry of a Prostitute with Henry Silva and Barbara Bouchet is one of the films I've never seen that I really must. The logo for my blog uses the poster!

Your description of Chris Mitchum will now forever be stuck in my brain when I see him! Great!

Ninja Dixon said...

Yeah, that monkey is amazing! ;) It's like a scene from Hot Shots or something. But I love this movie, and I'm sure I will see it many more times.

Strip Nude For Your Killer for your killer is a good one, I forgot about it!

David A. Zuzelo said...

The ending of that one is like something out of a crazy comedy-totally disregarding the rest of the film! I love it!

Hippo Teeth said...

Most of the end siege, apart from the crossbow attack on the outer guards. Great review Ninja.