Monday, June 11, 2012

i SPY EUROSPY: Somebody's Stolen Our Russian Spy

Somebody’s Stolen Our Russian Spy
Director: Jose Luis Madrid
Year 1968

Somebody’s Stolen Our Russian Spy, AKA O.K. Yevtushenko, is a silly Eurospy entry that though low on budget and spectacle, still manages to be an entertaining espionage outing thanks to its charismatic cast and interesting locations. Made on the cheap and lensed by a Spanish production crew, this third entry in the Charles Vine series is a hoot, coming off as a poor man’s continuation of The Second Best Secret Agent in the Whole Wide World and Where the Bullets Fly, but still being just as amusing. With Tom Adams reprising his role as the super agent Charles Vine, Somebody’s Stolen Our Russian Spy is a respectably enjoyable Eurospy film that may not have the backing of its older more established brothers, yet it still has the benefit of having fun with the formula and giving the audience a thrill or two in the process.

The film follows secret agent Charles Vine as he is assigned to bringing in the recently kidnapped Russian Ambassador Yevtushenko. It seems that the Chinese and the Albanians have teamed up in order to confuse the Russians and British, hoping to send them warring with each other over who is to blame for Yevtushenko’s kidnapping. After zeroing in on Yevtushenko’s position onboard a yacht, Agent Vine attempts a rescue but ends up being held captive himself and taken to Albania. Once there, Vine is subjected to a series of harsh methods that are meant for him to defect to the other side, and among the group of torturers is a sexy, hard-nosed woman named Galina Samarav, who though determined to her cause, has a thing for the charismatic agent. Can Charles Vine win the heart of this venomous vixen and escape with both his life and the life of Ambassador Yevtushenko? You bet your ass he can!

Tom Adams plays Charles Vine, a role that he is reprising for the third time, and I must say, he’s gotten damn good at it by this point. With a charismatic wit and a dry sense of humor, Adams delivers some pretty sarcastic one-liners when the situation calls for it. He also has to be one of the most laid back secret agents to ever take on a mission. Often at times, Vine finds himself at the business end of a gun only to stand there non-perplexed, delivering witty lines like they were going out of style. I don’t even think there is one moment in this film where he even breaks a sweat or furrows his brow at the prospect of possibly being killed in action. The disconnected performance that Adams delivers for this character is anything but emotionally engaging, but the coolness of his agent’s disposition is enough to make up for any detachment that the audiences feels towards our hero. In the end, Adam’s performance is exceptionally entertaining and should satisfy any Eurospy fan, even if it is a bit off-kilter.

Diana Lorys plays the role of Galina Samarav, the sexy secretary to the evil General Borodin, played by Antonio Molino Rojo. Diana is the embodiment of the femme fatale archetype with her sexy curves; raven colored hair, and looks that could melt the coldest of hearts and stubbornness of agents. I’ve had the pleasure of visiting one of her earlier Eurospy outings, in Lightning Bolt, where she played Capt. Patricia Flanagan the feisty female agent whose looks were as potent as her skills. She has much of the same screen presence in Somebody’s Stolen Our Russian Spy as she had in the previous film, except in this film’s instance she comes off a bit more soft than her cinematic counterpart. When we first meet her in this film, she comes off as a hard as nails bitch that isn’t to be trifled with, but as she opens up to Vine’s charm, she becomes quiet a caring individual with a much tender side than first revealed. Diana does a wonderful job with the role and her performance is so damn alluring it’s sickening.

Another stand out within this diverse cast is Barta Barri, who plays the role of Ambassador Yevtushenko. Barta looks to be having the time of his life, because his performance is the liveliest of the bunch. With an ear to ear smile, Barta shines whenever the camera is on him, bringing such an extreme sense of fun that it begins to infect the audience as they witness every over exaggerated action or whimsical banter between himself and the rest of the cast. Much like Diana Lorys existence in this film, he ends up making the movie shine brighter than it has any right to be. Although he isn’t in the film as much as the rest of the cast, when he does sporadically pop up as the narrative moves along, he’s a laugh a minute. If I had one complaint about this film, it would be that it needed more Barta!
Let’s get back to the meat and potatoes of this Eurospy flick. The formula for this spy outing is fairly standard stuff, with our agent Charles Vine traveling to exotic locations while bedding beautiful women along the way. Adams definitely has the charismatic nature to warrant all of these attractive young ladies to grace the screen and the filmmakers don’t waste a second of the reel to showcase some delectable visions to fog our eyeballs up with. One in particular is the simply named Sara played by Mary Paz Pondal. Hired by Charles Vine’s employers to test out a new knock-out drug, Sara seduces the gullible agent into partaking in an afternoon rendezvous on the beach, only to stick him with a dart from her hidden blow gun, that sexy sneak. She makes up for it later after all is revealed by her boss, so no harm no foul. Another femme fatale that Vine gets to know quiet intimately is the double agent Pandora Loz played by the lovely Maria Silva. She has a short fling with the secret agent, but her presence is palpable on the screen.

Aside from the required inclusion of a bountiful selection of exquisite female forms, the film also shows off a good deal of action. From wild gunfights, to brutal fistfights, to attacks by helicopters, and assaults by tanks, this film has a wild array of spectacular set pieces that mask the low budget aspects of the production and boasts a much more exuberant affair when seen played all out. You have to hand it to those Spanish; they really know how to spread a budget. This is one Eurospy that relies heavily on its charismatic, and often times, beautiful cast to move the story along, and in that sense it is a raving success.

Somebody’s Stolen Our Russian Spy is a modest stab at the genre, which manages to do a lot of things right while establishing a successfully entertaining mission from not a great deal of resources. Tom Adams does a wonderful job in the role of Charles Vine, and I had a blast watching him lackadaisically ham it up. Who would have thought that a guy as bland as Adams could make a secret agent character so charismatic without putting a whole lot of effort into it?
Of course Adams is accompanied by a great cast who individually bring their own strengths to the story. Diana Lorys is drop dead gorgeous in her role and her fiery presence lights the film up in a captivating glow that is hard to resist. Barta Barris does an equally integral part in making this film so damn enjoyable, as he milks it up for the camera at every turn. On top of all of these wonderful aspects of the production, we also get an action oriented movie that isn’t afraid to emphasize the things that made us fall in love with these types of films, and that is the girls, the guns, and the espionage. Thanks to this third entry in the Charles Vine series, we get this in abundance. Somebody’s Stolen Our Russian Spy proves that…..

So are you guys big fans of the Terminator films?

Cheers to having sex later.

What's that sexy sneak up to?

There's a fucking dart in your back man!

Holy shit! I forgive you for shooting me with that dart.

Get a room you two. Oh you do have a room... and I'm the one intruding. Awkward.

It's a cage match!

Diana likes what she sees.

Charles takes some time to visit the Magic Kingdom.

You promised you wouldn't break wind in my presence again.... you PIG!

Everybody run, the Charles Vine's got a gun.

Looks like the road-trip is going splendidly.

You mind not pointing that tank at me? Asshole!

Damn it! That's the last time that bird shits on my head.

What is this... a Volkswagen commercial? I'm sold!

Diana thinks this tank is OK.

Ready for round two dear?

Charles can't take the sexiness and freaks.

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