Thursday, September 19, 2013

i SPY ASIASPY: Interpol 009

Interpol 009
Director: Ko Nakahira
Year 1967

Interpol 009 is a swinging Asiaspy flick which focuses more on the ridiculous aspects of the spy genre, more so than the action oriented ones. Immersed in a 60's vibrant style and overflowing with zany flavor, this unusual espionage feature dives headlong into the absurd yet comes out smelling like roses thanks to the charismatic efforts of its lead character and the wild antics he gets into. With its eye-catching photography and its tendency to get a little silly, Interpol 009 is a highly enjoyable entry in the shamefully forgotten genre of Asiaspy.

The film follows the smooth spy Chen Tianhong, AKA Agent 009, as he is assigned to a mission in Hong Kong, where an international counterfeiting gang is printing U.S. Bills and distributing them throughout the Asian territories. Armed with his lethal wit, attuned fashion sense, and unparalleled fighting skills, 009 embarks on a wild mission to take the gang down, but he won't go it alone. Making allies in the most unlikely of places, 009 befriends a local pickpocket named Huang Mao and the two take the counterfeiters head on. Disguised as gamblers at the gang's casino, the pair infiltrate their headquarters from the inside, but unfortunately everything doesn't go to plan. Femme-fatales, nameless thugs, and hired hitmen begin coming out of the woodwork, and they do all they can to take the two heroes out of the picture.

Tang Ching takes on the role of Agent 009 and he does a wonderful turn as the suave ladies man with a license to kill. Extremely confident and always effective, the character of 009 is a classic portrayal of 60's secret agent prowess and Ching does an amazing job with the material. Always on point and extremely magnetic, Ching knocks the role out of the park as he gives an extremely entertaining performance as the lead man and uncompromising hero. Ching is no stranger to the genre, or Shaw Brothers films for that matter, as he has had two memorable roles in Summons to Death and Angel Strikes Again, two highly enjoyable Asiaspy productions. In Interpol 009, his first stab at playing a secret agent, he does a fabulous job, giving that highly contagious charisma and unabashed coolness that the role demands.

As for the rest of the cast they fill out their roles respectively, allowing Tang Ching's Agent 009 to interact with a colorful assortment of characters, while in the process getting himself into a wide array of ridiculous situations. Li Kun plays the role of Huang Mao, a pickpocket and overall goof. Kun fills in for the slapstick and comedic portions of the film, doing the usual comic relief shtick that is customary for a sidekick. He does a great job with what he is given and his efforts inject an added sense of fun into the proceedings. As for eye-candy, Margaret Tu Chuan and Shen Yi give memorable performances as just a few of the lovely ladies that 009 romances throughout the film. Yi plays a sultry nightclub singer who catches the eye of Agent 009, while Margaret embodies the evil villainess Pai-Lan Cheng, the leader of the counterfeit gang. They both do great things with the little time they have on screen, and each hold their own against Ching's Agent 009's overwhelming charisma.

Aside from the excellent cast of characters, the film is brimming with a great array of fun aspects that help keep it engaging as the story rushes along. Gadgets, guns, and girls is the name of the game in this entry, and 009 has an abundance of said items at his disposal. The gadgets range from a lighter that doubles as a smoke bomb, a watch that serves as a listening device among other things, and chewing gum that can change into metal when combined with perfume. Strange to say the least, but 009 uses each of these devices with great effect, including the chewing gum when placed inside a key hole and then hardened to forge a make-shift key. Now that's unusual, but ridiculously fun to see in action.

Speaking of action, the film isn't particularly catered to displaying much, but when it does kick in it ignites to absurd levels. For instance, when cornered by an army of henchmen after infiltrating their mansion, 009 decides the best course of action in confronting these goons is to jump onto a chandelier and proceed to firing wildly at the surrounding attackers. The scene is without a doubt beyond logical, but it makes for a sequence that is so damn fun to watch and infinitely unpredictable. The photography of Interpol 009 is also a great asset of the production, giving a great deal of eye-pleasing moments in most every scene the film throws at you. From lavish mansions, to colorful nightclubs, to sun covered beaches, to bustling streets, the film works wonders with the locations that it covers. All in all, the movie may not be the best example of the Asiaspy genre, but it is one hell of a fun time.

Interpol 009 is a fantastically silly Asiaspy entry which seems to have a blast playing in the 60's espionage playground. Cinematically robust and colorfully presented, this grand Shaw Brothers production is without a doubt an interesting experience and one you're not likely to forget. The wild nature of the film and the unrestrained absurdity that it possesses is sure to please even the most critical of the genre.

Tang Ching as the lead hero, Agent 009, is an absolute gem and his witty banter and promiscuous hijinks are what make the film so enjoyable and appealing. Filmed in visually pleasing splendor by director Ko Nakahira, the vibrant colors and picturesque locales match perfectly against the lively characters and spirited atmosphere. This delightful combination adds up to a highly enjoyable entry in the Asiaspy cannon and one that is sure to tap into the interests of all of you out there that enjoy this type of wild, wild cinematic ride. Interpol 009 is a.....

Badass Staring Contest..... GO!

Roger that... I think someone stole my pants!

Agent 009 is just too cool for school.

Eyes on the road asshole!

Have you seen this pervert?

This movie is A OK.

Cold as ice girl!

If these walls could talk.... then this would probably make more sense.

Pull my finger you little shit.

I can't believe you made him pull your finger. You make me sick.

I'm sorry I made you pull my finger.... But do it again.

Worst wake-up call ever!

You're not going to shoot me in the ass with that are you?

Get down from there you little monkey!

I think I crapped my pants! You sure did Mao... you sure did.

Cool shades bro!

What time is it? It's time to get ill!

Oh 009... You smooth operator!

No comments:

Post a Comment