The spy genre flourished in the 1960s thanks to Bond. Some of my spy-favorites are the Kommissar X films. They’re sorta like 007 German-style, and they’re based on a series of German adventure novels. I haven’t read any of them yet, so I have no idea if they’re any good. But the films are awesome, and if you have a shred of interest in the genre, you should definitely check out The Kommissar X Collection on DVD. It contains three of the films. First out is Kiss Kiss, Kill Kill. It begins with a group of businessmen being murdered. Private eye Joe Walker aka. “Kommissar X” (who is so cool that he has his own personal theme song ‘I Love You, Joe Walker’ – wonder if there’s a CD somewhere?) and police Captain Tom Rowland go on a mission to look for radioactive gold and to find out who is responsible for the murders.
Angelina Monti “I Love You, Joe Walker” :In the sequel, Death is Nimble, Death is Quick, Joe and Tom go on another mission. And this time they journey to Ceylon to battle devil worshipers, tangle with extortion and to prevent a deadly bacteria from being unleashed. It’s a great sequel and it’s amazing how much cool stuff they managed to cram into it. It has enough goodies for 3 or 4 films. The villains like to torture people in their Temple of Doom-ish cave, but they obviously haven’t got as much money as the Bond villains – so they can’t afford any fancy space stations, hollow volcanoes or luxurious islands in Thailand. They just hang out in a basement at a museum. But the wall decorations are great, including a huge skull. Skulls are cool. By the way, there are a lot of elephants in this movie… and that’s always fun. Anyway, the dynamic duo set out to stop all the scumbags in the film, and eventually Captain Rowland must face the leader of the badguys, King, in a wild karate fight to the death.
In So Darling, So Deadly (my favorite!!) Joe and Rowland journey to Singapore to save a professor and his hot daughter from a dangerous crime organization that want one of the professor’s inventions; A cool device that shoots deadly laser beams, and the organization will stop at nothing to get it. None of these films take themselves too seriously, which is strongly emphasized with a witty dance scene in part III where Brad Harris proves that he has no rhythm – at all. These films just want to have fun and they invite you to join in. Personally, I love fun. I dig this triple feature and I’m looking forward to seeing the rest of the films in the near future. Despite a relatively low budget, at least compared to the James Bond films, Kommissar X has a lot of action and exotic locations. All three films were made in 1966 and they therefore fit very well together.
The films follow the same formula as Bond. But there are two heroes instead of just one. Joe Walker and Captain Rowland are like Crockett & Tubbs, Jack Cates & Reggie Hammond, Danko & Ridzik, Tango & Cash… Well, you get the idea. Joe is portrayed by Tony Kendall, and Brad Harris is Captain Rowland. Kendall is a smooth ladies man and he walks around smiling constantly, while Harris is the guy who blows shit up. He was a stuntman in real life (he does all his own stunts). He was also a bodybuilder and it looks as if he’s just been in a Hercules film or something. It’s like the filmmakers split Bond in two in these films and gave the charming half to Joe Walker and the action stuff to Captain Rowling. It works. They’re both great. Okay so Joe and Tom aren’t really spies. But they’ve obviously seen a lot of Bond films, they drink Pina Coladas, drive expensive cars, wear nice clothes and they love bikini girls and water sports, and not least: They go on missions that are similar to the Ian Fleming books. I recommend these films to anyone who are interested in exploring the genre a bit more than Goldfinger.
Release year: 1966
Director: Rudolph Zehetgruber and Gianfranco Parolini