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特警零零九 (1967)

Reviewed by: cal42
Date: 05/18/2008

There’s an international money counterfeiting gang in town, and Interpol agent 009, Chen Tianhong (Tang Ching) is sent to investigate.

Like Lo Wei’s GOLDEN BUDDHA from 1966, INTER-POL attempts to bring a Chinese James Bond to the screen, although the two films are otherwise unrelated.

Agent 009 has much in common with his more famous counterpart – he’s a suave womaniser, heavy drinker (although he prefers brandy to a vodka martini) and is deadly with any form of weapon you can to give him. He’s also got an arsenal of gadgets to get him out of scrapes, such as a watch with several uses (including a listening device), a lighter that can turn into a smoke bomb and chewing gum that can open locked doors. However, that’s pretty much where the similarities end, as Chen Tianhong has the charisma of a housebrick. Perhaps sensing this, he is given a sidekick in the shape of Huang Mao (Lee Kwan – best known for his appearance as Ah Kun in Bruce Lee’s THE BIG BOSS) who runs around Hong Kong in a Beatle suit and provides comic relief.

Chen Tianhong (who proclaims, and I swear to God this is true: “Danger? That’s my middle name”) woos the ladies despite some stinky chat up lines (he even comes out with “do you come here often?” to one lady). This is perhaps the sauciest Chinese film from the 60’s I’ve seen as Agent 009 canoodles with just about every lady he comes into contact with and there’s even a bare bottom at one point. This is a far cry from the previous year’s GOLDEN BUDDHA, which is extremely coy in comparison.

The story concerns a money counterfeiting gang headed by a beautiful mysterious lady (the tragic Margaret Tu Chuan, who would commit suicide before the decade came to an end at the age of 27) and it’s here that another problem becomes apparent – the villains are all a bit pedestrian and the locations are very domestic, with the action all taking place in Hong Kong. Part of the appeal of the Bond movies is the exotic locations and the overblown villains, and this film is a letdown on both points.

There is some enjoyment to be had from the film, despite its drawbacks. However, I’m not sure all the fun is intentional. There’s a scene where the bad guys are beating up some guy, who manages to get away in an unguarded car. He gets away and then drives his car straight off the nearest quay and into the water. One of the perusing villains just mutters “silly man” and shakes his head – which I found hilariously funny. The final reel mercifully turns up the action a couple of notches, and another Bond device comes into play – the age-old ploy of the bad guys tying up the hero (with sidekick in this case), planning a grisly fate for them and then scooting off and assuming the hero gets splattered across a large area. In this case, the villains leave 009 to stew until the bomb they’ve planted goes off and turns Chen Tianhong into a disgusting red mess.

So how long do the villains give Chen Tianhong to ponder his fate while they make a speedy getaway? Two minutes? Five minutes? Surely no more than ten minutes? Actually, they give him two hours. In that time, Bond would have got out, killed an army of henchmen, downed a couple of vodka martinis, shagged the villainess, killed her and quipped about it to his leading lady while making a witty quip over the radio to an exasperated M. Chen Tianhong barely gets out with his skin intact, and this sums up the film in a nutshell.

INTER-POL is just too dull most of the time to be enjoyable and suffers from some illogical plot problems to boot. It’s not a complete write-off, and the 60’s fashions and sensibilities are always fun to watch, but this is not even on par with the more cringeworthy Roger Moore-era Bonds.

Reviewer Score: 4

Reviewed by: sharkeysbar
Date: 05/15/2005
Summary: look carefully, there's Lily Ho

A late 1960s James Bondish movie, light, entertaining but not to be taken too seriously. Lots of car chases, beautiful women, fights, smoking, snappy suits, dodgey nightclubs; this movie has the lot!
009 has great weapons at his disposal, including chewing gum that turns into keys to open any lock! Superb!
There is even a cameo from Ho Li Li at Kai Tak airport. The story moves along at a fast pace but with plenty of flaws, but those aside, this film is great. This film can be watched over and over, and how many films have such a cute bad boss? Definitely worth a viewing (or two).

Reviewed by: mrblue
Date: 04/20/2005

After the success of Dr. No, there was a dearth of Ian Fleming/James Bond clones produced in all corners of the world, and Hong Kong was certainly no exception. Interpol is another in the long list of Bond wannabes that manage to create an entertaining picture, but yet it's still nothing extraordinary, and somehow feels more than a bit hollow. However, despite its' problems, Interpol will still satisfy fans of 60's spy flicks.

The plot here is pretty simple. An Interpol agent is killed in Hong Kong, so the organization calls in its' top agent, who is code-named (wait for it) 009. 009 (played by Tang Ching) heads to Hong Kong, picks up his mandatory cowardly/comedic sidekick (a pickpocket played by Sam Yi), and soon discovers a conspiracy by a crime conglomerate (led by Margaret Tu Chuan) using legitimate businesses as a front to create and transport counterfeit money. So the story isn't exactly the deepest thing going, but really, it's just an excuse to get to the next action or love scene.

Interpol's main problem, though, is that the action and love scenes aren't all that exciting. I realize that this film was made almost forty years ago, and the Shaw Brothers were never really known for lavishing large budgets on their movies, but the matters here just feel half-hearted. Sure, 009 has some gadgets, but it's boring stuff like "magic" gum that unlocks doors. And there's certainly some good-looking women on display here, but the sex scenes are so chaste, that when a couple of bare bottoms are shown near the end of the picture, it feels almost X-rated. On the surface, Interpol has all of the elements of a good Bond "homage" (there's even an extended casino/gambling scene), but the film-makers never seem to be able to pull of the elements together.

Still, as someone who is a fan of this genre, I will admit there is a nice bit of style which helps elevate Interpol into something at least a little more enjoyable than many of the Bond copycats that came out during this period. Being someone that is a fan of "red-blooded" action flicks, it's nice to see something once in a while that's not concerned with political correctness in any way. Interpol puffs cigarettes like their smoke was full of vitamins, chugs brandy like it was Gatorade, and jumps into more beds than a Sealy Posturepedic salesman. It might not be a great movie by any stretch of the imagination, but Interpol's unabashed immersion into the 60's mindset makes it a worthy diversion for viewers who are growing tired of the growing number of over-glamorized spy "thrillers" being churned out nowadays.

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