Well! It looks like Netflix got a bunch of replacement DVDs in finally. All of a sudden, stuff that’s been in my “unavailable” section for months and months is back and ready to ship! I was expecting the next Mario Lanza movie yesterday, but this one came instead. That’s okay, I’m always ready for an Oliver Reed movie.
I'd guess you'd call this one a black comedy, and I would almost dismiss it… except one can never dismiss Oliver Reed, (nor Diana Rigg, his lovely co-star), and the film went all awesomely cool in the ending.
The movie is set in the early 1900s, and the plot involves Diana Rigg as a feminist journalist who uncovers the titular Assassination Bureau. To destroy it, she commissions a hit – on the head of the group, Ivan (pronounced the Russian way, thank goodness) Dragomiloff, played by Oliver Reed. And he accepts and turns into a challenge to his group. What follows is a romp across Europe as he evades his corrupt fellow board members and takes them out before they can get him. Diana Rigg follows him and gets sucked into it, of course. It’s more complicated than that, with Ivan upset that the Assassination Bureau, originally created to rid the world of truly evil people, has become nothing more than a hitman squad that takes money for their work and ignores the rest. Then, there’s the true villain of the piece, played by Telly Savalas, who takes over the Assassination Bureau when Reed goes on the run. Savalas intends to use the group start a war in Europe, and Reed becomes the good guy. Curt Jergens co-stars as one of the bad guys. Interestingly, this movie was based on an unfinished story by Jack London!
Anyway, mildly entertaining with some quite amusing almost-cartoon-like parts (not a bad thing at all) – mostly because Reed and Rigg are so very good at their acting jobs they make anything do they do enjoyable. And the ending! The ending made me sit up and grin. Minor spoilers ahead...
All the heads of state in Europe are meeting at one castle, and Telly's character intends to wipe them all out. How? By dropping a bomb from a zeppelin! Now, really, if you want to make a movie better, throw in a blimp. Blimps are awesome. Then let Oliver Reed loose on it. With a sword. Trying to stop the bad guys and their nefarious plan. And let him sword fight with the bad guys on the skinny little walkways inside. Oh yeah, I’m all over that. I don’t care how corny the special effects are. Oliver Reed, sword fight, a blimp... those three in the same sentence make me one very very happy girl.
So yeah, enjoyed it quite a bit in the long run! I only wish Diana Rigg had more of a part to play in the ending, though at the same time, the role she did have made sense. I just wanted more. I loved a section in the middle where she hears a persistent ticking in her hotel room and suspects a bomb is planted somewhere.