Monday, March 12, 2018

Bond Lite - Dead On Target!


If you didn't know it, and I'm one of those folks who didn't know it, there's actually a third Derek Flint movie. Flint, the charismatic hero of the Our Man Flint and In Like Flint, is the star of a 1975 television movie titled Dead on Target...sort of. The movie ain't a super-spy effort and sadly it doesn't star James Coburn. Actually this is a surprisingly awful movie, a semi-professional feeling outing which is a major snooze.


Derek Flint is played by an actor named Ray Danton, and in this story Flint is a humdrum private dick in the Sam Spade tradition. About the only connection to the two Coburn movies that I can detect is the odd haircut and the penchant of the hero to wear turtlenecks. Beyond that, there is almost no sense that we are dealing with the same guy. The movie appears to have a microscopic budget and there's a dreariness to the entire enterprise which is the very opposite of what one expects from the sleek flights of fancy from the 60's. The action is lame, the acting is often painful to experience and the plot is at once obvious and vague. A businessman is kidnapped by a contingent of Arab terrorists who want a change of government in an oil-rich distant land. They are helped by the attractive Sharon Acker, who is as close to a gorgeous chick as this flick gets. Flint has a rookie helper played by Gay Rowan, but her role seems mostly to wander into danger and get captured. Flint does employ a masseuse/lover but it feels weirdly tacky, not cool.


If I didn't already own this movie on the Flint collection I bought many years ago, I'd never buy it now and cannot recommend anyone else do so either. I've owned this set for many moons, but never got around to fully checking it out until recently and found this movie nesting in the special features. As a curiosity it's interesting, but what it mostly did was remind how dreary it could be back in the 70's when the world suffered mightily from oil price shocks and run-down streets.

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6 comments:

  1. The Flynn movies seem closer in spirit to the exuberant, psychedelic Eurospy films of the sixties. In Like Flint, in particular, is very close thematcally to the wonderfully bizarre "Girl from Rio"(1968) in which Shirley Eaton (of Goldfinger fame) plays Sax Rohmer's enticing Sumaru, whose island of Amazons are preparing to wrest control of the world from the men, who admittedly haven't done a good job at it.

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    1. I've never heard of Girl from Rio but looking it up makes me want to see it immediately. I'll have to check it out. Thanks.

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  2. Ray Danton was the husband of actress Julie Adams, the girl in the white bathing suit in Creature from the Black Lagoon

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    1. Didn't realize that. Just enjoyed seeing the lovely Julie Adams in Creature the other day just before going to see The Shape of Water.

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  3. Danton had played spies before in Secret Agent SuperDragon and Code Name: Jaguar (where he played tht title heroes) and Man from U.N.C.L.E. "Discotheque Affair" as a THRUSH commander running a discotheque!
    Unfortunately, in the mid-70s, Matt Helm, Modesty Blaise and Flint were all re-imagined as gumshoes instead of spies.
    Only Helm went to series, and only lasted one year!
    Ray was a decent choice for the role, but the script sucked badly!
    Danton was already moving from acting to directing tv spisodes, where he made a comfortable living until he passed away.

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    1. The difference between the Flint universe in this detective show and the lithe and shiny world of the movies is amazingly striking. The allure of the fantasy of Flint is all but ground into the dust into the dust in the third movie. Sad.

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