Thursday, April 2, 2015

Rare Flix: Shatter

An idea this weird and random couldn't possibly go wrong.  This is hard to explain, so stay with me.  In their latter days, Hammer made a 3-Picture Deal with Shaw Brothers, another famous Studio.  They made...2 Films and this was the 2nd.  Why no 3rd Film?  Good question.  I'm guessing it had to do with money.  The first was The Legend of the 7 Golden Vampires, an odd mix of Horror and Kung-Fu.  The Film is notable for a mostly Chinese Cast, save for a British Dracula and Peter Cushing in his final portrayal of Van Helsing.  Unfortunately, it is not that great, unless the idea of Dracula recoiling from a Golden Buddha makes a good Film for you.  So that leads us to today's Film- Shatter.  This 1974 Film also features Cushing and a mostly-Chinese Cast.  In addition, we have Stuart 'Remember When I Fought Giant Bunnies' Whitman playing the titular Spy.  In this Film, the Spy does a job, but then all things go to hell.  Will he live to kill another day?  To find out, read on...
Mr. Shatter kills an African Warlord and all goes pretty smoothly.  Kudos for the Camera Gun.
He goes to China (where he totally wasn't before!) and awaits payment for his mission.
The problem: he was tricked.  He was actually hired by a Mobster to do it.  Now he's stuck.

Why does this sound familiar?
He has to get the people behind the trick and he must turn to a decent Bruce Lee stand-in for that.
They get to Cushing (in one of his 3 Scenes) and set up a trap for the real culprits.
Sadly, not everyone makes it there.  To be fair, she was a sibling to one and a love interest to Shatter.
We get a decent kung-fu fight mixed with Whitman...not doing kung-fu (yea!) to wrap things up.
The real culprits (and their dummies) are taken care of in a pretty satisfactory way.
Whitman is paid off by Cushing (in his final Hammer Scene ever!) and leaves.  Okay.  The End.
An odd end for one of Hammer's finest.  The Film is honestly not that bad, despite its reputation.  It was once a hard-to-find Film, apparently skipping a VHS Release.  It is available now- obviously- and turned out to be pretty good.  There is some dispute over the Film's Credits as well.  Basically, they hired a guy to Direct it...and then eventually fired him before it was done.  Thankfully, the President of Hammer was there to finish the job...and take the sole Directing Credit.  According the original Director on Commentary, most of what he shot still ended up in the final Film, so...weird.  The good and bad parts here are the mix of Genres.  It is mostly-Kung-Fu, with a dash of Spy thrown in.  You don't get any cool gadgets after the Camera Gun, so just enjoy that one.  As a Kung-Fu Film, it works quite well.  As a Spy Film, it is a bit lacking.  Although it is *amazingly* similar to the basic Plot of Burn Notice.  Coincidence?  Maybe.  It is such an exact Plot I don't know.  Regardless, this is a forgotten little Film that you would never guess was Produced by Hammer.  They were better at Horror though.  Right, Japanese Hitler?
Next up, let's jump to the 00s and see some crap.  When in doubt, go Bigfoot.  Stay tuned...

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