The Films (3/5,3/5)
As a James Bond fan, I quickly fell in love with the Eurospy genre. Italy, Germany, France, and the U.K. made a huge amount of them in a quick ten-year period, with cookie cutter plots, and plenty of wooden actors ready to play James Bond clones. The good folks at Blue Underground have brought two of these lesser known spy movies to Blu-ray with beautiful new transfers. Both made in 1964 by director Robert Lynn. So strap in and get ready for terrible pick-up lines, henchman who can’t aim, and an ostrich stampede!
Code 7 begins with a butler of an eccentric millionaire, who is murdered by the docks. Private investigator and all around tough guy Steve Martin (Lex Barker), is sent in to solve the case. Martin soon discovers that Cape Town is filled with crime, sexy women, strange looking English police, and henchmen dressed up in Mardi Gras masks. Can he solve the case before he is run over by ostriches?
Code 7 Victim 5 is a highly entertaining spy/crime movie. The movie is simply gorgeous to look at with cinematography by Nicolas Roeg. The locations are eye popping and make up for the limited budget. The movie is definitely a b movie that doesn’t quite reach the levels of Bond movies of the time. The action scenes are basic for this kind of movie. Where the film shines are some of the more minor moments. One fun scene that I already hinted at is the hilarious ostrich stampede. The scene kind of comes out of nowhere and it’s only in to fill an action beat.
The writing and performances are wooden in an enjoyable way. Lex Barker (Return of Dr. Mabuse), is definitely not the most charming man, but his delivery and action chops make him a fine 007 clone. Ann Smyrner is a fun love interest whose accent seems to change scene to scene. Walter Rilla (Jess Franco’s Girl from Rio, Scotland Yard Vs Dr. Mabuse) plays the millionaire Wexler with a colorful level of sleaze. But by far the most bizarre member of the cast is Ronald Fraser (Fathom) who plays the English police inspector. The inspector is not really what you would call, Cary Grant handsome, yet most of the comedy comes from just how lucky he is with the ladies.
Mozambique tells the story of washed up ex pilot Brad Webster (Steve Cochran), who is desperate for work. He soon lands a job working for the police when his would be employer is found murdered. While trying to solve the case, he falls in love with a lounge singer (Vivi Bach). Can they both escape the cat and mouse game of murder and drug smuggling?
Mozambique is a very strange spy movie that is stuffed with comic bits. Instead of a typical spy movie hero, here where given a troubled pilot that would be laughed out of any normal action movie. Steve Cochran is given almost nothing to do in this movie, and when he does he usually drops the ball. So his break in formula is actually what makes this movie so much fun. If it would’ve been Richard Harrison or Lex Barker this would definitely be a boring movie, average at best. But Cochran’s cranky performance gives this an unusual touch.
The rest of the movie is very by the numbers with very little in the way of action. The comic touches and game cast make it a very cozy experience. While not for everyone, Mozambique may fit the bill for a Saturday afternoon viewing. The Basic plot and bizarre character choices make it perfect for spy movie lite.
Both movies are in English with a DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack. The audio is clear and leveled almost all the way through. Some drops in sound levels can be heard during middle section of Code 7, and near the end of Mozambique. Other than this, both are mostly crystal clear with almost no pops and zero hiss.
Both movie are presented in full high def in 1080p. The colors pop and sparkle, especially in the mountain scenes. The black levels are great and there’s minor film grain. Mozambique is a little darker, but looks great especially during the end of the movie.
Extras are limited to Trailers for both films.
This a fun release for any spy fans out there. Blue Underground releases two spy movies with gorgeous transfers. If you’re in the mood for some 60’s spy charm, this is Highly Recommended.