‘Take this and knit yourself a new car.’
Joe Walker is called in by a family in Pakistan to investigate a mysterious tiger attack, which has left a prominent man dead. At the same time, his old partner Captain Rowland is brought in by the authorities to investigate the local dope trade which may be run by an exiled Mafia kingpin.
By the time of this, the seventh and ﬁnal entry, the ‘Kommissar X’ series had moved a long way from its origins as a ‘Bond on a Budget’ franchise, and had firmly entered the arena of the straightforward crime drama. There are no spies or gadgets here, although we do get some guns, and a couple of girls for star Tony Kendall to smarm over in the best ‘Bond’ tradition.
The formula was well established by now; Kendall and police captain Brad Harris would fetch up in an exotic locale for different reasons, and then reluctantly combine to take on a local secret society involved in organised crime. The main villain was always a mysterious figure to be unmasked at the climax, and the gang would have a name with an animal motif based on a dangerous piece of local wildlife; a serpent, a panther, etc. Here we get the Red Tiger gang, whose main area of activity is smuggling drugs across the border into Pakistan. ln the film’s only nod to creativity, their mules of choice are actually goats!
Other familiar elements of the series are present and correct; the plot is muddled and choppy, there is some unspectacular gunplay, and a lot of local colour crowbarred in on behalf of the appropriate national tourist board. Some of the hand to hand combat is actually speeded up a little in the later stages here, although it’s unclear as to whether this is for comedic purposes or because it was so unexciting at normal speed. Even Kendall and Harris seem flat and lifeless, and their banter is half hearted at best. The villains also must have been tired, taking 25 minutes to make an attempt on the lives of our heroes, instead of the usual five or ten, although they do get points for originality as they try it with an exploding barrel.
The film wears out its welcome long before the credit roll, and, given that the first 6 films were made in a four year period ending in 1969, it does seem to be very much an afterthought. The only real surprise is that the director was Harald Reinl, who was the men behind the second wave of Dr. Mabuse films that came out of Germany in the early 1960s. Given the thematic similarities, it probably seemed that he was a good fit for this picture, but that certainly isn’t reflected in the final release.
At best a routine crime drama of little interest. A somewhat ignoble conclusion to a series that was entertaining on occasion if not regarded too critically.