Lightning Bolt (Gemini 13) (1966)

Lightning Bolt (1966)‘One of those agents had a multiple spine fracture after that doll got through with him.’

A mysterious supervillain is sabotaging the U.S. moon project by trashing the rocket launches at Cape Kennedy. A top secret government agency sends its best operatives to investigate and foil the saboteur’s dastardly schemes by any means necessary.

Opening with some scratchy stock footage of a rocket launch, this lame Eurospy cheapie is a ragbag of tired cliché and reheated elements. Most of the time we’re in the company of this week’s ‘Bond on a Budget’ Anthony Eisley, who is working with the lovely Diana Lorys, who plays hardass Captain Flanagan. She’s the head of the mission but, if you think that sounds like a pleasing role reversal, then I’m afraid you’re going to be sorely disappointed.

Our crazed super villain (Folco Lulli) is the head of a brewing empire, and uses his beer trucks to further his nefarious schemes. Unfortunately, he’s also built his secret headquarters on top of an active volcano, which might turn out to be a serious tactical error – it usually is. Eisley’s go-to gadgets include a watch that doubles as a Geiger counter and… well, the watch is about it, really. He also fires off his gun in a cramped grain silo because ricochets don’t matter, and tries to give the picture some pizzazz with his ‘witty’ voiceover.

Lightning Bolt (1966)

‘I really think you should stick to making toys. Mr. Lucas.’

Lorys’ Captain Flanagan is codenamed Agent 36-22-36 (a-ha ha ha!) and, for a supposed ruthless assassin, she spends an awful lot of time acting like a right girlie and waiting for Eisley to sort things out. And, of course, after putting up the usual token resistance, she’s only too willing to succumb to Eisley and his smarmy advances, which include a subtle smack on the rear end. The FSIC — Federal Scrutiny Investigation Commission — are obviously not too bothered about sexual harassment at work.

The tiny budget shows up most obviously in the shoddy model work and awful process shots, which are employed in a supposedly exciting race against time to stop a bombing. All the hallmarks of a tired and formulaic Eurospy outing are present and correct, but on an even smaller scale than usual. Entertainment value is low, and really it’s for hard core fans of the genre only.

And I couldn’t help but wonder why Lulli goes to the bother of sabotaging the rockets anyway. Surely, all he had to do was stop NASA renting the TV studio?

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