"One bite and he'll make you flat chested!"
cookieman108 | Inside the jar... | 06/09/2006
(3 out of 5 stars)
"In the annuls of bad career moves, George Lazenby has to rank pretty high on the list...after appearing in the James Bond film On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1969), he turned down an extensive deal from producers to appear in a number of subsequent Bond films as he thought the contract too demanding, the character would soon be out of vogue, and he would surely get other film roles...well, he was right, but I doubt Death Dimension (1978) was the type of feature he had in mind. Directed by Al Adamson (Satan's Sadists, Dracula vs. Frankenstein), the film features 1970s martial arts star Jim Kelly (Enter the Dragon, Black Belt Jones) in one of his lesser films. Also appearing is, as I've mentioned, George Lazenby (On Her Majesty's Secret Service, Saint Jack), Aldo Ray (The Green Berets, Psychic Killer), Patch Mackenzie (Graduation Day, Fighting Back), Bob Minor (Coffy, Foxy Brown), and Harold Sakata (Mako: The Jaws of Death, The Happy Hooker Goes to Washington), known best as the bowler wearing henchman 'Odd Job' from the James Bond film Goldfinger (1964).
As the movie begins we see a man inserting a microdot into an obviously fake patch of skin on a woman's forehead. Seems the man, named Dr. Mason, is a scientist who has developed a weather control formula for The Pig (Sakata), a master criminal type who intends to use the formula to develop a freeze bomb that he can then sell to the highest bidder. Mason, who developed the formula for altruistic purposes, has encoded all the plans onto a microdot, and now with the aid of his assistant Felicia (Mackenzie), hopes to get the information in the hands of the proper authorities. After a successful demonstration of the freeze bomb (we see some hapless schlubs tied to posts in the desert froze solid after the bomb is detonated), Felicia skips town, and Mason takes his own life. Oh yeah, the demonstration was witnessed by a gooberment agent who looks a lot like Gabe Kaplan, who subsequently gets wasted by The Pig's main henchman, a muscled, facially disfigured black man who likes to spit loogies, played by Bob Minor. Word of the agent's death gets to Captain Gallagher (Lazenby), who assigns Lt. Detective John Ash (Kelly) to the case. Before heading off to Reno (The Pig's home base), we get this wonderful bit of dialog right before John throws one into his old lady...
John's girlfriend: Baby, I love you so much.
John: I love you, too.
John's girlfriend: You will be careful, won't you?
John: I got to...
John's girlfriend: I don't think I can make it without you.
John: Well let's see if you can make it with me now.
Smooooth...anyway, after numerous assassination attempts (all failed ridiculously), John hooks up with a Asian named Lee (who couldn't act to save his life), and the pair set out to take down The Pig. Meanwhile The Pig and his men are searching out Felicia, desperately trying to recover the information so they can sell it to Aldo Ray, who's supposedly the representative of some foreign power, for fifty million dollars. What ensues is a series of car chases, gunfights, hand-to-hand combat sequences, and a helicopter chase, all leading up to a final, climatic showdown in the desert.
Well, I feel I must give this film, which has gone by a number of different titles over the years including Black Eliminator, Freeze Bomb, Dead Dimension, Icy Death, and The Kill Factor, some credit as the plot was so stoopid and wacky it was actually entertaining. Another plus for the movie is Al Adamson managed to keep things together reasonably well (for Al Adamson), spreading enough action throughout to keep me interested. The result isn't a great film, but better than what I would have expected. This wasn't Jim Kelly's, who did his own stunts here, shining moment, but I sure did enjoy watching him fight, and generally, when he did fight, it was usually against multiple opponents, none of whom could stand up to the power of his black kung fu. I did learn a number of things while watching this film, including the following...
1. White guys with afros look supremely idiotic.
2. Drinking malt liquor on a daily basis keeps you healthy and prolongs your life.
3. Harold `Odd Job' Sakata should never, ever be allowed speaking parts in films.
4. When in a fight Jim Kelly has no problem going for the crotch.
5. Giving someone the `thumbs up' sign over the telephone isn't as effective as doing it in person.
6. The Mustang Ranch, The Pig's headquarters in Reno, has some of the most unappealing and downright repellant working girls I've ever seen.
7. Aldo Ray would appear in just about anything to pick up a check.
8. When you're up against an arch villain named The Pig, it's funny to make numerous comments about his hygiene. Below is an example, as John rolls into town and contacts Lee...
John: How's our friend The Pig?
Lee: He stinks!
9. You can actually use a handgun to shoot a small plane out of the sky, despite the fact it's a couple of hundred feet in the air.
10. If you're a henchman, hucking dynamite from a small plane at the hero while he's chasing your boss, both men being on foot, might not be the best idea.
11. Harold `Odd Job' Sakata, despite his enormous, bulky physique, could actually outrun a lean, mean, and physically fit Jim Kelly.
12. Jim Kelly really likes hitting guys in the nads.
As I said, I thought the film was pretty entertaining, but in typical Adamson fashion, there's a whole lot that doesn't jibe. One minute we see our hero involved in a car chase and the next he's on a boat, chasing some thugs who just tried to cap his ash. Harold Sakata plays what has to be the most ridiculous villain I've seen this side of Mike Myers and his role of Dr. Evil in the Austin Powers movies. Given how difficult it was for him to keep his stuff together, I found it very difficult to buy off on him being the head of an expansive, criminal organization. One really funny aspect was, in a page taken from the James Bond villain handbook, was to give Sakata's character some sort of pet. Where Ernst Stavro Blofeld had his feline, The Pig has his turtle...oh geez...there was just something really unsettling about watching Harold Sakata gleefully stroking a little turtle. The upside of this is it gives him an opportunity to employ a giant, snapping turtle (you know, because turtles are his `thing') during an interrogation.
The picture, presented in widescreen format (sort of) on this Mondo Crash DVD release looks pretty shabby, as the transfer source appears to have been a well worn VHS tape. The aspect ratio looks forced, especially during the opening credits as some of them are cut off on the right side of the screen. As far as the audio, it's about as good as the picture, which is to say not all that great, but it is passable. There are no extras included on the DVD, but there are chapter stops, for what it's worth. All in all this is a fairly cruddy film, but it was also a lot of fun, earning it three out of five stars, even if it only deserves about one and a half.
Adamson, Oddjob and Lazenby
NoWireHangers | Sweden | 08/15/2008
(3 out of 5 stars)
"You never know what you'll get when you watch an Al Adamson film. Some of them are entertaining (Brain of Blood) and some are just unwatchable (Blood of Ghastly Horror). Death Dimension is certainly watchable, though a bit slow at times, but it has at least one scene that deserves to be a classic. Harold "Oddjob" Sakata plays a bad guy here, and he certainly was a better actor in Goldfinger, where he didn't speak. He's joined here by one time James Bond George Lazenby. I suppose "Death Dimension" is a good example at what happened to his career after his one James Bond movie.
Recommended to Adamson fans and fans of 70s B movies."