Review – Shatter (1974)

May 3, 2010

An exploitation film from the 70s, made by Hammer Films? I guess all things are possible…

Shatter (Stuart Whitman) is a man with a mission.  It’s alluded to that he works as a Washington operative, and we see him carrying out a hit on an African dictator in the most interesting of disguises…

…a paparazzi wearing a mask made of car soundproofing material.

Shatter’s assassination weapon is cleverly disguised as the flash unit of his camera…

Oh for the halcyon days of pre-TSA flight

Once the job is done, Shatter flies back to Hong Kong to collect his fee, where he finds his contacts don’t want to pay him, and Peter Cushing (probably thrilled to be working at the time) telling him to get out of Hong Kong.

He also makes the acquaintance of a friendly martial arts expert (Lung Ti) who reminds us just how feeble Whitman was as an action star and to add a little Kung Fu to make the film more bankable in the states.

In between ducking attempts on  his life (including an RPG being launched off of an Uzi(! – no screen grab for that unfortunately – the audio commentary  on the DVD says this was a troubled production, and this particular plot point  was probably made up on the fly), Shatter finds out that he had really been employed by a drug syndicate rather than the US, and the Africans, the US, and the syndicate want him dead.   Will he survive, I asked myself. I replied myself I didn’t care.

While I was watching this, I kept thinking how familiar this was, but I couldn’t place where it was familiar from.  Then, when Shatter was ordering his trademark drink – white Bacardi rum –

I pegged it: this felt just like a Roger Moore James Bond film! It had the “action” scenes with the male lead that weren’t so action-filled, long digressions with the co-stars where nothing much happens to push the plot along, but we get a good chunk of filler to make the contractual run time – yowza!

Makes me wonder what Peter Cushing would have been like if he had gotten a part as a Bond villain – well, I guess he got into Star Wars, so that’s some consolation.

Recommendation – don’t bother.

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