British secret agent Charles Vine is called back into action to retrieve a Russian defector when he is kidnapped. Rather than leading back to Moscow, the trail leads to Tirana, courtesy of an alliance between the Albanians and the Chinese…
After painful second outing ‘Where The Bullets Fly’ (1966), it’s quite a surprise to be back in the company of Tom Adams as super spy Charles Vine, albeit for a final performance. This time, however, it’s a production that originates from Spain, rather than from the UK. Also returning is Tim Barrett, although in a different villainous role on this occasion. He’s a face familiar to generations of UK TV audiences as ‘posh but dim straight man’ in countless sitcoms, including ‘Home to Roost’, ‘Terry and June’ and ‘That’s My Boy.’
This time around the feeble attempts at satire and comedy have largely been jettisoned, leaving a run of the mill, non-league ‘Bond on a Budget’ enlivened by Adams’ nice delivery of the occasionally witty line of smart talk. Sadly, the film runs out of plot fairly quickly, and degenerates into a long-winded chase, featuring not so fast cars and a tank. Before that it’s the usual procession of changing loyalties, double crosses, and tepid gun play. About the only evidence of creativity is a sequence where the inside of a truck is disguised as a submarine.
One pleasing element is heroine Diana Lorys, best remembered now for her leading’ role in cult Euro-Horror ‘The Awful Dr Orloff’ (1962). She certainly attempts to inject some life into her character, but is inevitably defeated by the general banality of the proceedings.
The Spanish production company couldn’t save the situation either; going bust before the film even got released. As a result, the film sat on a shelf for several years before finally crawling out onto television sometime in the next decade.
Charles Vine did not return for further adventures. I don’t think anybody noticed.