Agent 077 - Mission Bloody Mary

Agent 077 - Mission Bloody Mary (1965)

  • Wide Release
  • Director: Sergio Grieco
  • Written by: Sandro Continenza , Marcello Coscia, Sergio Grieco, Leonardo Martín
  • Running Time: 101 minutes
  • Language: Italian
  • MPAA Rating: PG - Parental Guidance Suggested
  • Cast: Ken Clark, Helga Liné, Philippe Hersent, Mitsouko, Umberto Raho, Silvana Jachino, Antonio Gradoli, Andrea Scotti, Brand Lyonell, Peter Blades, Peter Bach, Franca Polesello, Pulla Coy, Mirko Ellis, Dario Michaelis, Erika Blanc, Alfredo Mayo, Ignazio Leone, Tomás Blanco, John Jordan, Félix Fernández, Paul Mercey

 

Sergio Grieco‘s “Agent 077 - Mission Bloody Mary” is the kind of harmless entertainment we’ve come to expect from the EuroSpy genre -- a genre that rarely took itself seriously, and where pilfering (spoofing) the American SpyFilm genre for ideas and characters, seemed to be the chief goal. This film is no different, if you couldn‘t tell by its 'too-obvious' title. “Agent 077 - Mission Bloody Mary” takes its creative cue from the James Bond series, including featuring a globe-trotting super agent, in this case Dick Malloy (Ken Clark), who matches wits with an array of international baddies and hot to trot gals, while showing off a seemingly endless supply of scientifically enhanced gadgets. Moving away from Ian Fleming’s creation slightly, Dick Malloy seems more Nick Carter than James Bond, as his penchant for violence seems to eat away at the polish a bit.

In the opening minutes of the film, a stranded female motorist shanks a good Samaritan with flashlight in the middle of a storm and proceeds to snake away into the night with the Samaritan’s things. Later, the film’s protagonist, super-spy 077 Dick Malloy, leaves his Elke Sommer look-alike high and dry in bed as he rushes off to meet with Q… er… his contact. Getting caught up on the situation, the stranded motorist was actually an accomplice to a terrorist organization and the device she took just happened to be of the nuclear variety. Of course it’s up to Malloy to find it and get it back to Washington before any international baddies can get their hands on it and put it to use (aka nuke an American city). Hop-scotching his way from France to Spain to Greece, Malloy discovers he’s not the only one looking for the device, as Chinese spies, Russian mobsters and even a Osama-like terrorist known as The Black Lily, have waded into the fray, each searching for the device and each offering up their own piece of a much larger conspiracy. Elsa Freeman (Helga Line), Malloy‘s inflexible female partner, manages to keep Malloy one step ahead of the baddies, that is until about the moment when he starts questioning just what side she‘s actually working for. As Malloy journey’s through the labyrinth of crooked hat spooks, his sense of paranoia escalates -- which seems almost appropriate considering that not even the cabbies can be trusted here.

For what it is, and for what it’s worth, “Agent 077 - Mission Bloody Mary” isn’t a bad film, rather, it‘s actually quite pleasant and never over-the-top as so many other EuroSpy affairs tended to be. It offers plenty by way of thrilling action, as Malloy is a man’s man kind of hero; as quick with his fists as he is with a smooth pick-up line. He engages in a half-dozen fistfights throughout, including one balls-to-the-wall bust-up inside a tiny compartment, as a knife-wielding brute looks to make mincemeat of Malloy aboard a speeding train. Possibly the only real downside to it all, outside of the sometimes tedious dialogue and endless menagerie of newly introduced characters, is the way Malloy seems to meander out of situations that he possibly couldn’t get out of. For example; in a half dozen scenes Malloy finds himself surrounded by a bunch of gun-toting goons, or is outright taken hostage, but somehow, unbelievably, on each occasion, he is able to sneak away unharmed. The first time it’s okay, but by the sixth or seventh time it gets to be a little much. It takes a grand suspension of common sense to consent to what you are seeing. At one point, Malloy manages to smack down a boat load of gun-waving baddies, grab a suitcase carrying the nuclear device, run up a hill, jump into a car, and slowly back out onto a bustling city street and take off, with little resistance offered. Huh? I mean, yeah!

Italian born Sergio Grieco directed roughly 39 films before his death in 1982, the majority of which were of the crime-drama/spy variety. “Agent 077 - Mission Bloody Mary”, fit the mould perfectly and seemed to be the launch of an intended Eurospy series similar to that of the James Bond franchise. Sadly, only two more films were produced including “Agent 077: From the Orient with Fury“ in 1965 and “Special Mission: Lady Chaplin” in 1966, both starring Ken Clark and both directed by Sergio Grieco under his Terence Hathaway pseudonym. It is believed that Sergio was merely a consultant on the latter film, with Alberto De Martino doing much of the actual directing. As a whole. Sergio Grieco’s contribution to the spy genre and Italian cinema is to be applauded, even if this particular film is more or less a run of the mill entry into his filmography.

American born bodybuilder Ken Clark (1989’s “Arena”) plays the titular super-agent and he actually comes pretty close to the Daniel Craig-Bond (my favourite Bond), even down to his stubborn swagger and suave coolness. Christ, he even looks a bit like Craig. In my opinion, he was a fantastic choice to play the lead, as he carries himself like he‘s done the spy thing all his life. Also of note is Helga Line, star of such cult classics as “Horror Rises from the Tomb”, “The Vampires' Night Orgy”, “Santa vs. Doctor Death” and “Black Candles". Here she's playing Malloy’s saucy spy-contact in the field. Clark and Line have a wonderful comic rapport and it would have been a treat to see them sharing more time on-screen together. Constantly shooting down Malloy’s sexual advances, while filling in details of the plot to the protagonist (and the audience alike), she offers the film some of its more funnier and note-worthy flashes.

All in all, an enjoyable EuroSpy romp that isn’t likely to remain with you much after the initial screening.

To see more images from this film, follow this link.