Friday, August 31, 2012
So, I'm back to Italian actionsploitation (complete with Japanese VHS subtitles, which always add to the charm of movies like these!), this time with a Christopher Mitchum movie, Raiders of the Magic Ivory...
After opening credits over a dull, minute-and-a-half static shot of a grate, with only the sound of clinking chains-no opening music or anything!-the movie starts off at a jail. Mercenary, Mark (Chris Ahrens) breaks Rogers [nicknamed Sugar] (Christopher Mitchum) out of the jail, and the two fight their way out to safety.
The next day, the two are talking about stuff. It's revealed that Sugar was in the jail because he tried to overthrow the country's government, and that his rescue from his two month stint in the jail was funded and organized by Li Chang, a rich Chinese businessman. Chang calls on the two mercenaries and tells them of the mission he wants them for. He want them to go to Vietnam and get ahold of a certain ivory tablet. He claims that if he doesn't get the tablet before he dies, his family will be cursed. Sugar is reluctant, but Mark convinces him to agree.
The tablet is located in a region known as 'hell from which no-one returns', where it is in the possession of a religious sect. The duo are sent into Vietnam along with Tau, one of Chang's bodyguards, and they trek through the country's forest until they come across a boatman. The three need to get to the other side of the river, and they pay their way across. When they get to the other side, they are ambushed by Vietnamese soldiers. Mark and Sugar fight, but are betrayed by Tau.
Mark and Sugar are tied up and beaten, but when the Vietnamese colonel tries to question them, he and his men are all gunned down by Tau. He only sold Park and Sugar out so they wouldn't all die in a gunfight.
After another gun battle, the trio venture into the 'hell from which no-one returns', which has no life at all-no animals, no birds chirping, no sound at all. They find a boat, with a skeleton onboard. They pull it off, take the boat, and sail deeper into the jungle. Tau tells them about the sect that inhabit 'hell', who are practicians of black magic. All the while, the group are being watched by a masked phantom...
The group eventually find a mysterious masked person, who they shoot...and he gets back up... After a bunch more shots, the person just walks away...then blows up somehow (um...yeah). A day later of trekking, the trio see a mass of the same masked people, who have a woman with them. They follow the people, leading them into a large cave system.
They eventually find a congregation of the 'monks' and their leader, who are about to sacrifice the woman. Mark, Sugar and Tau attack the monks, killing several, and they save the woman. As they try to leave, the sinister head monk summons fire and demon-heads to stop them!...And Sugar just assumes that they're illusions, saying "it's some kind of bullshit, man", and the group just walk straight though them no problem!
They escape the caves with the sacred ivory, and the woman introduces herself as Meli, last of the keepers of the celestial peace. The group head off to escape the forest, and the monks are hot on their trail. But the monks may not be the biggest problem anymore...
Raiders of the Magic Ivory (or Raiders of the Lost Ivory, as I keep mistakenly calling it!) is one fun movie! It has cool actng, it's full of fun, goofy action, and the best thing about it is the buddy team of Chris Mitchum's Sugar and Chris Ahren's Mark!
There are only two real problems with the movie. One is the dull-as-hell opening credits, and the second is that the evil head monk guy from the caves is never seen again when the guys leave there. There is what could be seen as a problem, which is how lax the heroes (and Meli) are to everything, but I find that as part of the film's charm!
The actress (and probably dub actress too) who plays Meli does a terrible job, not because she's bad, but because she's never fazed by anything, like, nearly being brutally sacrificed! Her performance doesn't add to the film's charm.
One huge positive the film has is the ending. With a film like this, you'd think that after killing the main villain, the heroes would walk off and the film would immediately end, but no, it doesn't! After they walk away, the film cuts to later, and Raiders of the Magic Ivory gets an actual ending!
The film has heaps of great dialogue, all from Mark and Sugar. I would write some down, but I only just saw the movie, and I can't be bothered to go through it again looking for the fun quotes. They are present though, and they are cool!
So in closing, Magic of the Lost Ivory is a very entertaining movie, and I definitely recommend it!
Park and Sugar-I wouldn't ask for anyone else to be the sacred keepers of the celestial peace!...
So, I've reviewed all thirteen episodes of The Adventures of Fu Manchu. Now to go over my final thoughts on the series as a whole.
The episodes are almost always a lot of fun! They have Fu Manchu trying to take over the world, with a new scheme in each episode. And the twenty-five minute running time only affects the plots sometimes, which is a huge plus!
As for Fu Manchu himself, I've mentioned many times that Glen Gordon is terrible, yet entertaining as the 'Devil Doctor'. His attempt at a Chinese accent is laughable, and full of pauses and 'ah''s, plus, he can't do his silly accent without smiling-not because it's entertaining to him, but because it's the only way to do keep the accent going, I think. He smiles constantly during moments where he shouldn't be smiling!
Lester Matthews and Clark Howat are good as Nayland Smith and Dr. Petrie, although they sometimes have to say really stupid things, thanks to the sometimes nonsensical plots! They've got the characters down ok, although poor Nayland Smith! In the books, he was a young, spry super fly! He was in his thirty's, yet in every single film, or tv show he's been in, he's always been portrayed as a guy in his middle ages! And of course, Adventures is no exception.
One of my favourite things about Adventures was definitely the supporting characters! Laurette Luez and Joh George as Karamenah and Kolb are cool main henchmen for Fu Manchu, but they tend to get underused sometimes, and they are rarely given dialogue. Whenever Laurette Luez talks, she does sound a bit stilted at times, but I think that's more due to her attempting something along the lines of a Chinese accent, rather than bad acting.
As for Carla Balenda as Betty Leonard, she's cool! She's a good actress, and Betty's usually with the guys in their efforts to stop Fu Manchu-she goes with them to other countries, she acts as a getaway driver, she helps them salvage an old ship etc.. She's a well-written female character-She doesn't just sit around and make coffee for the men (err, well, most of the time!), yet she isn't ridiculously over-the-top macho to try and show how 'not feminine' she is. She's just a real person (figuratively, anyway, what with her being fictional). Betty may not get any character development, but she was still a likable character.
I highly recommend The Adventures of Fu Manchu to fans of the criminal mastermind, as well as to random genre fans. It's so worth a watch!...
Well here we are, up to the final episode of The Adventures of Fu Manchu ever made-Fu Manchu's Raid...
The episode opens with mass chaos across America. Atomic bombs have hit Seattle, Los Angeles, Aferend (I don't know the spelling), and Milwaukee (NNNOOOOOOOO, not the Happy Days gang!)! The Panama canal has been destroyed! Sixty-one American cities are under attack! Traffice is being diverted east, but is meant to be going south-sabotage is at play!
The episode cuts to Fu Manchu's evil lair, just as Karamenah arrives. "You're late!" Fu glares at her. Karamenah apologizes, saying she was caught up in a massive traffic jam ("Rasberry! I'd recogize this jam anywhere! Lone Starr!"). Contrary to Fu Manchu's plans, the city has not been completely evacuated already. It was here in the episode where I thought 'oh, so that's it! This nuclear attack panic was a hysteria trick orchestrated by Fu Manchu!'...and I think I was wrong-this is one confusing episode!
Fu instructs Kolb to get Fu's associate in his current diabolical plan for world domination. Then Fu unveils his plan...which is SSOOO stupid! He thinks that this invasion scare will make everyone sell their homes, thus making the stock market crash... Um, Fu, if America is invaded-nuclearly at that-people aren't going to go to the trouble of selling their homes! They're just going to get the hell out of dodge before a nuke turns them into glass! And even if they do try and sell their homes, who'd they sell them to? People who want to live in a nuclear warzone? And I know real-estate agents are sharks (to quote Lionel Hutz-"There's the truth!"*nods yes*"and the truth."*nods no*), but there's no way they'd stay to help the houses get sold!
The episode cuts to Dr. Petrie's office. Thanks to the traffic congestion, Betty, just like Karamenah, is late for her job. But Dr. Petrie isn't a villain like Fu Manchu, so he's going to greet his secretary and friend warmly..."You're late!"...Or, maybe he's as bad as Fu Manchu! Ah, 50's, how nobody misses you!
Dr. Petrie mentions how another whole ambulance of doctors was meant to have arrived by now as well. Then he makes the episode fall into a confusing mess, all by saying- "Lucky this is just a drill, and not the real thing!".Ok, what was that whole invasion opening? Was it a mass hysteria plan of Fu Manchu, or was it a drill orchestrated by the government! If it was by the government, then Fu's real eastate plan is screwed, as no-one is actually in danger. But, if this is a government drill, then why is everyone outside acting so hysterical?! They're causing so much damage and traffic jams that surely something is going to get screwed up! And that's already present without Fu having sabotaged traffic!
Outside Petrie's office, a car crashes, and someone gets out of the wreck and runs off after distracting his helpers, telling them that someone else is inside the car. Petrie and Betty help get the other man out of the car, and he is hauled into an ambulance...An ambulance that was never called...
Back at Fu's lair, the guy who ran off is back, and explains what happened. Just as Fu's about to lose his temper, Kolb comes in with Captain Jalmer (Otto Reichow), the injured man in the car, who Kolb managed to spirit away with a fake ambulance.
There's a newspaper montage of 'the stock market crashing', which makes no sense, since the whole invasion was just a drill..Or was it Fu Manchu? TELL ME PROPERLY, EPISODE!. Then, seven minutes into the episode, Nayland Smith finally appears! He is being asked by a government guy if he ever encountered any traffic sabotage during the war, and Nayland answers the guy's stupid question (To paraphrase-Guy: "How could saboteurs divert traffic?"-Smith: "By posing as traffic wardens and making traffic go in a different direction."-Guy's mind is BLOWN). Petrie and Betty arrive at the meeting, and the government guy asks them for a description of the man from the car crash. They give a description, and Nayland Smith, with a ridiculously small amount of information to go on, immediately knows that the man is Captain Hans Jalmer, formerly a nazi, and now a mercenary-a mercenary who, last time he encountered Nayland Smith, was in the employ of Fu Manchu...
Back at Fu Manchu's lair, he orders a henchman, Rudick (Mel Welles-Gravis Mushnik!) to plant false stories in Russian newspapers, as the West are always reading them. The stories he wants planted are-1: A leading Russian scientist has been awarded the highest hnour someone can get in radar science; 2: A Russian pilot has just been given an award for his 'extraordinary aerial reconaissance'; and 3: Have a photo of an American landmark be published in a Stockholm newspaper.
Sometime later, the news is reporting that the radar system of the northern hemisphere has been breached. This (falsified) information 'proves' that Russia has a superior radar system, which means that billions of taxpayer dollars have been wasted in developing the West's current, supposedly now obselete radar system. Nayland Smith refuses to believe the claims, and goes off investigating.
Meanwhile, Fu Manchu is gloating evilly, and acts like a moron! He says that since everyone in America thinks that their country's radar system is useless, this will make the stock market crash... GO BACK TO SCHOOL, FU MANCHU! If America's radar becomes obsolete, the entire country will NOT become bankrupt! Fu starts acting out his evil plan even further...
Will Fu Manchu shatter America with bankruptcy and a nuclear war?
Will Karamenah and Kolb tell their delusional master how the stock market really works?
Will the episode get more sexist than a Folgers Coffee ad?
Fu Manchu's Raid is one hell of a confusing story! Out of all episode of The Adventures of Fu Manchu, Raid's plot is probably the weakest. The story is simultaneously complex, and very dumb. There's also a disconnect between the first and second halves of the episode. There's all the poorly-explained/written stuff about the drill, and real estate, then, about halfway through the episode, neither the drill, nor real estate are ever mentioned again, and Fu's plane/radar scheme.
All of the regular supporting characters get little to nothing to do. In fact, neither Nayland Smith or Dr. Petrie contribute anything to the plot until the end.
While not too bad, Raid is probably the worst episode of Adventures.
And, that's all, folks! I killed procrastination with a zyat kiss (massive dacoit points if you get that!) and pumped out six reviews for this show's episodes in only a few days, and I've finally finished reviewing all episodes of The Adventures of Fu Manchu!...I will be back later with a final post on this fun series...
Thursday, August 30, 2012
The Adventures of Fu Manchu has always been realistic(ish), and never absurdly goofy or ridiculous. Well that track record can be thrown right out the window, because this episode is about Fu teaming up with Hitler!
The Master Plan of Fu Manchu opens wth the 'Devil Doctor' watching stock footage of Nazi Germany. He talks nefariously to Karamenah and Kolb about 'a great periods in history-perhaps the greatest!'. Karamenah mourns the fact that Hitler's master plan for world domination died with him and 'was lost to the world'-(um, no it didn't, genocide wasn't original to the 1940's, lady!). Fu cryptically says that the plan did not die, and he will be ready to resurrect it. He then instructs Karamenah to kidnap Dr. Henderson, a famed plastic surgeon.
Karamenah and some dacoit henchmen kidnap Henderson and bring him to Fu Manchu, who wants Henderson to do an operation on a certain friend of his...
The episode cuts to Dr. Petrie and Betty. Petrie narrates about how Henderson, his friend, had gone missing, and he and Betty started searching for clues. They find one, and Petrie goes alone (dumbass! What about backup?!) to the address they found via pencil impression. He arrives at the address and buzzes the doorbell. Opening the door is Kolb, who Petrie DOES NOT RECOGNIZE! Kolb lets Petrie in, and he unwitingly walks in on Fu Manchu and his compatriots-Karamenah and a guy named Coco, as well as Henderson, who's finished his operation. Before Henderson can reveal who the patient is to Petrie, he is silenced, and Petrie is taken to another room. Petrie pleads with Fu to not kill Henderson, as he may still be needed if infection sets in on 'the patient's' face-job. Fu declines, claiming that Petrie can serve that purpose. In the other room, Henderson is killed by Coco...Thanks to stupidity from Henderson, who never fights back!
Next comes the point in this episode where anyone watching will yell 'DR. PETRIE, YOU MORON!'. Petrie says that his assistant knows where he is. Are you really so stupid to reveal that to your enemy, Petrie? That could have been a gambit up your sleeve, but now, you have to call Betty and say that the address was a dead-end. You're lucky Betty didn't get a bullet in the face!
Petrie is forced to call Betty and tell her that he found Henderson, who was fine, and the two of them will be gone for a few days on a secret mission for the government. Betty, as well as Nayland Smith buy it (would it be mean to call them stupid for that?), and everything is going fine for Fu until Kolb reports back from dispatching Henderson's body. The police showed up while he was dumping the body in a river, and have autopsied the body.
Betty reads a coroners report on Henderson and realizes that Petrie is in danger, so she calls Nayland Smith.
They, and a policeman, go to the address and find nothing but a copy of Mein Kampf, some Nazi propaganda footage, and equipment for plastic surgery. After finding out that Henderson was killed by the 'tarantula magna', a rare, extremely venomous species of spider (no, it doesn't exist in real life), Smith recognizes it as a common execution tool of Fu Manchu. Smith also deduces that the patient must be Hitler...
The episode switches to Dr. Petrie, who narrates that he was hauled onto a World War II submarine, helmed by a German crew, headed into the pacific ocean. Petrie unwraps 'the patient's' bandages, and instinctively senses that the man is evil. When the man goes into an 'I-will-rule-ze-vorld' speech, Petrie recognizes the voice, and knows who the patient is.
Over a week later, a 'field operator' in Singapore has spotted a submarine, and noticed 'one Eurasian female, one Eurasian dwarf and one Oriental male'. Nayland Smith arranges for an immediate flight to Singapore. Meanwhile, the submarine has been taken from Singapore to a South Pacific island, which has an underground base (please tell me it's in a volcano!). In his base, Hitler unveils his secret weapon to Fu-an atomic device that, if placed within a mile of a nuke, it will make the nuke explode. With their plan in hand, Hitler and Fu Manchu are ready to take over the world!...
With only a single submarine crew worth of soldiers. Um, guys, I don't think you quite thought this plan through!
Will Fu Manchu and his sinister ally carve their murderous impression across the world?
Will Hitler's flimsy army be destroyed immediately?
Will Fu Manchu realize that Hitler hated Asians too?
The Master Plan of Fu Manchu is an entertaining episode, although it's plot has two crippling problems. One is Hitler's super-device, that can blow up nukes when it's placed near them. I suppose you think that sounds like a great plan-if several nuclear bomb stockpiles detonate all over America, it'd be screwed!...But that is not what the device does! It just blows the nukes up non-nuclearly. All the device will do is get rid of America's nukes. Fu Manchu claims that this will leave America defenseless to an attack...even though Nazi- Germany was defeated without the use of nukes! And a single submarine crew isn't gonna cut it against the ENTIRE AMERICAN ARMY!
The second problem is the usage of Hitler himself. As the episode is only twenty-five minutes long, Hitler first appears nearly five minutes in, only properly appears several minutes later, gloats about his evil plan for five minutes, then his base is attacked and he, and his forces, are destroyed. So, yeah, the episode is just a little bit abrupt!
The acting is all good (barring (the still entertaining) Glen Gordon, of course). The guy who plays Hitler is ok, but doesn't get to do much.
Speaking of characters who don't get to do much in this episode, the same can be said for Karamenah and Kolb, unfortunately. Betty doesn't get as much screentime as usual, but still quite a bit, which is good.
So, in closing, Fu Manchu and Hitler: Best Buds is a fun episode, with a strange thing at the end...
Why would the government reveal that? Haven't they ever heard of confidentiality?...
This review of The Adventures of Fu Manchu is brought to you by...Hewson Cigarettes! Cigarettes that aid you in your day to day life, and always make you healthier...
Yeah, this episode of Adventures has part of a sponsors message that was never cut out from the DVD-R! That is to say, only the words, 'sponsors message' are shown, but it's shown three times in the episode. Though, if memory serves me correctly, a later episode of Adventures actually does still have an ad in! It's not for Folgers Coffee though ("That's pretty harsh!"-"Yeah, well so's your coffee!").
The episode starts off in Washington D.C., in one of Fu Manchu's many, many lairs. Fu calls in Arden, a henchman from Hong Kong who has just killed 'a whole plane-load' of Fu Manchu's enemies, and is ready for his second mission-destroy the reputation of Nayland Smith (or, Fu, you could just KILL him!)...
Nayland Smith is in hospital with Malaria when he hears a news report about his alleged cowardice on a plane (the one mentioned before), which resulted in the deaths of the nine passengers. As Smith is complaining about the charges (and being paranoid about Fu Manchu again, all while acting very active for someone who has malaria!), Richard Kingsley of the British Embassy arrives. Kingsley believes that Smith is innocent, and has launched a full investigation of the plane incident. Then Smith asks to be part of the investigation down in Hong Kong...even though he has malaria! I'm no expert on malaria, but shouldn't you be in extreme pain right now, Smith?! I'm surprised you can even talk properly! Stranger still, Kingsley accepts Smith's request, which would be weird enough if Smith was only sick, but he's the SUSPECT in this case! Dr. Petrie won't allow Smith to leave because of his condition, then he decides that he and Betty will accompany Smith to HK.
Smith and co. go to a small inquest, where a pilot named Johnson (Mark Dana) is testifying against Smith. Johnson claims that Smith approached him and used his government credentials to get a place on Johnson's charter plane, even though the plane was full-as a result, Johnson had to leave behind his co-pilot. The plane was soon headed for a typhoon, and Johnson says that he wanted to turn back, but Smith held him at gunpoint and demanded that he keep going. When they got by the typhoon, Johnson wanted to make a landing, but Smith made him fly up above the storm, and he put the only two oxygen masks on Johnson and himself. When the plane landed at HK, all passengers were dead.
Smith denies the charges, claiming he was unconscious with Malaria when the plane was in the air. The inquest is adjourned for the day, and after Johnson leaves, Petrie says that Johnson looked like a desperate junkie.
The episode cuts to Fu Manchu's secondary lair (it's a different set than the usual one), where Johnson yells at Fu Manchu for getting him hooked on drugs, which Johnson started using to dull the pain from a war wound. Johnson, disgusted with what he's been doing, refuses to help Fu Manchu anymore, and he storms off. Fu stops Arden from going after Johnson and killing him, as he's got a better way of doing things. Seven months prior, Fu had one of his henchmen steal Nayland Smith's gun, and it will incriminate Smith as Johnson's killer if he is shot with it. Man, Fu, do you plan ahead or what!
A little while later, Arden guns Johnson down. The plan is bungled though, as not only did Johnson survive, but Nayland Smith was in a hotel room for the whole day, knocked out by sleeping pills and watched over by Betty. Fu, angry, demands that Arden kidnap the witness to Smith's whereabouts-Betty Leonard...
Will Fu Manchu's plan to incriminate Nayland Smith succeed?
Will Betty die?
If so, Will Nayland Smith and Dr. Petrie be able to find someone else to make their coffee?
The Slave of Fu Manchu is a good episode of Adventures, although its plot desn't have a lot of meat on its bones. It does handle character developement for Captain Johnson quite well though, for a twenty-five minute long episode.
One big problem the episode has is a HUGE lack of Fu Manchu! As for side characters, Karamenah and Kolb both get to do a bit, which is good, and Betty has quite a bit of screentime, and she is integral to the plot near the end. The acting is all good, as usual, and Glen Gordon is awful, yet entertaining, as usual.
The episode has one fun moment in particular near its climax. An attempt is made on Johnson's life by Kolb with a sniper rifle! It is awesome!
Another funny thing is that, at the end of the episode, Johnson names names, and pretty much destroys Fu Manchu's entire drug organization. The Adventures-Smashing Fu Manchu's drug empire in twenty-five minutes or less!
In closing, The Slave of Fu Manchu, like all ten episodes that preceded it, is a fun addition to the series...
Wednesday, August 29, 2012
I'm back, with Episode 10 of The Adventures of Fu Manchu, where the insidious mastercriminal plots to destroy America...
The episode opens with Petrie narrating about Walter Stafford, 'the happiest man in the world'. Stafford (Howard Wright) is about to go on a cruise with his wife when he's kidnapped by Karamenah and a dacoit lackey. Stafford is taken to Fu Manchu's evil lair (Mark 33637879) where Karamenah forces him to take a pill. Hey! Two minutes in, and not only has Karamenah actually had a line of dialogue, but she's actually doing something! Nice! Stafford asks (clunkily) "what's in that pill you forced me to take?", and Fu Manchu comes into the room. Stafford used to be part of the 'bureau of ingraving' as the creator of a special ink used in American currency, and Fu wants to use his services. When Stafford refuses to aid Fu, the effects of the pill start, wracking Stafford's body with pain. Fu gives him the antidote to the previous pill (which was set to cause unimaginable pain and death), and Stafford agrees to help the 'devil doctor', on the condition that he can contact his wife each day.
Sometime later, Stafford's wife, Martha (Dorothy Bernard), goes to see her and her husband's old friend, Dr. Petrie, due to his connections with the police. She tells him that Walter is missing, and he calls the police. Later, Petrie and Nayland Smith are with Martha, and while talking, a letter is delivered to her house. It's from Walter, and Martha reads it and realizes that it's a coded message (Walter and Martha used to be codebreakers during World War II). She deciphers a set of coordinates, then her phone rings. The call is for Nayland Smith, and the person on the other end of the line tells Smith to turn the TV on.
On the TV is the news, reporting on an event in New Mexico, where a plane dropped a million dollars worth of money onto the city, all of which was declared legit by banks. "I wonder why someone wanted us to see it?" Nayland Smith thinks. WHAT DO YOU THINK, YOU MORON?! A person responsible for working on the main thing that makes money legal tender rather than worthless paper has been kidnapped, and a mysterious phone call directs you, the investigator to said person's possible kidnapping, to a news report of an unexplained money drop! I guess you must have left your thinking cap at home, Nayland Smith!
When Smith leaves Martha's house, he's attacked by a henchgoon, who Smith dispatches. He questions the thug, who says that Fu Manchu wants to see him, and tells him that it'll be 'the most important thing you'll ever do'. When convinced that he's not walking into a trap, Smith is blindfolded and taken to Fu Manchu's lair. Fu tells Smith of a top secret American power plant in development, that plans on using 'anti-proton' power. Fu demands that he be given the plans, or else he will drop millions of dollars in every city in America, shattering the economy with a flood of money.
Later, Smith and Petrie are talking with a board of...people...who talk about...stuff, etc...
After the conference, Smith is taken again to Fu's lair, where he asks about Walter Stafford, and Fu gets a cool villain line!-Nayland Smith: "Are you holding Walter Stafford prisoner?"-Fu Manchu: "That is a simple deduction not worthy of you. Besides, what difference does it make?"-Smith: "It makes a great deal of difference to his wife. She's old and sick."-Fu: "Then that should make even less difference!". Smith spins a story to Fu, telling him that the power plant plans were scrapped due to dangerous over-radioactivity, but Fu doesn't believe him and think's he's stalling.
A massive search is done for any clues on Fu Manchu's whereabouts, but with only two hours left until Fu's deadline, the economic future of America is in extreme question...
Will the Devil Doctor's counterfeiting plan suceed?
Will Fu Manchu finally realize that he can just kill Nayland Smith?
Will Fu's background monkey ever get more to do?
The Counterfeiters of Fu Manchu is a fun episode of Adventures, though, it unfortunately makes little use of Kolb or Betty. Karamenah gets to do a bit more than usual, so that's cool!
The episode has a really unintentionally funny moment at the end. Smith and Petrie have located where Fu was keeping his counterfeited money, and after taking care of the henchmen there, the phone rings. Smith answers it, and the caller is Fu Manchu. Fu asks how everything's going, and Smith says, "oh, Dr. Fu Manchu! This is a most amazing coincidence!", and then, Fu Manchu says the stupidest thing he's ever said in any iteration of his character!-"Who is speaking, please?". Are you kidding me, Fu?! You seriously don't recognize Nayland Smith's voice?! After your constant battles with your arch-nemesis, and the long talks you had with each-other you had not even a day ago, and YOU DON'T RECOGNIZE HIS VOICE?!
Another thing the episode has a bit of is a monkey in Fu's lair. For one, it is cute, secondly, it's on the DVD cover! (Not my DVD-R copy of the entire series, but the public domain tv DVD). Yeah, I'm probably making too big of a deal of the fact that the episode contains a cute monkey, but...IT'S CUTE!
Another positive the episode has is a couple of cool-ly framed shots! (Or at least, they'd loook properly cool if the film quality was better)
Am I the only one who's reminded of the poster to Demons 2 (as well as that particular scene in the movie) when I see that second picture?
A problem with Counterfeiters' plot is that Smith and Petrie never find Fu Manchu's money cache, as well as the kidnapped Stafford through any inteligence or hard-work of their own, but only because of the coded message Stafford sent.
In closing, The Counterfeiters of Fu Manchu is an entertaing episode of Adventures, even if it does have a couple of problems...
The Secret of Fu Manchu proves itself to be one of the first episodes of Adventures made, as it opens with the same horrible opening voice-over that was in the opening of Prisoner...
The episode opens with a newspaper. The news-a US government guy, Franklin Arnold (John Bryant) has been appointed to the European defense alliance. The ep then cuts to Fu Manchu's lair, where Arnold has been kidnapped and taken to. Fu tells Arnold that he has been abducted because with his position on the European defense alliance, he 'will know the exact position of every man, every gun, every plane' on the defense line, which Fu wants to know before the American government does. Arnold refuses, but Fu blackmails him, saying that he has information on his father proving he was a double agent against America. Arnold doesn't believe Fu, claiming that his father was a patriot, but Fu plays a (hilariously clunky!) tape recording proving his claim.
Arnold is drugged and thrown out onto the streets, where he is picked up and examined by Dr. Petrie. Also in the room is Nayland Smith (who was dragged out of bed at midnight, not for the first time-"I'm used to it by now, Mr. Daniels. This isn't the first time the infamous Fu Manchu has disturbed my sleep or cut short my holiday. Of course, I'm always hoping it'll be the last time!"), and a secret agent, Daniels (Stuart Randall), who question Arnold about his father. Arnold mentions how his father was a secret agent back during World War II. Arnold considers resigning, but Smith implores him not to let Fu Manchu win.
Arnold's father was onto something involving Fu Manchu before his convoy was bombed at 'Manila Harbour' (an event Petrie was present at) and his papers and everything were sunk with the ship. Smith suggest going down into the ocean by Manila Harbour to find the papers, hoping they can prove Arnold's father innocent
The group decide to perform an undercover salvage operation, and Arnold's disappearance from government is explained by him being ill (which is something that has 'an air of mystery' according to news reporters, who are apparently stupid enough to think it odd for people to be in the best of health before getting sick! HOW DO YOU MORONS STILL HAVE A JOB?!). Smith, Petrie and Arnolds are by an airport, waiting for Betty, who's late, which is making Petrie hilariously sexist! "Women!" Petrie sighs when she's late, and when she arrives, "Oh well it's about time. I suppose you went to the beauty shop, got yourself a manicure and a permanent wave...". Probably the only reason Betty hasn't killed Petrie by now is because she has the most action-packed secreterial job one could ask for!
Just as the group leave for the plane, Arnold is given a paper by a 'certain little person' under the employ of Fu Manchu-Kolb...
the episode cuts to Fu Manchu, who gloats evilly...and really needs to work on his analogies! "And now...the little mice...will lead the cat...to the cheese...and the cat will watch...and the little mice...will nibble themselves...to death!" And yes, Glen Gordon really does make that many pauses whenever he talks! And I didn't even mention the constant stream of 'ah''s! Here's a made-up line of something Fu'd be wont to say, and here's how Glen Gordon would say it!-'I-ah will...destroy-ah Sir-ah Dennis...and-ah he will-ah see...his-ah country-ah crumble!'-what an actor!
Our heroes are taken to Manila, and go out on a boat to the rough position where the ship convoy was sunk. One of the group goes down to investigate, but encounters trouble, courtesy of Fu Manchu...
Will our heroes get the documents on time?
Will the sunken ship blow up with Petrie onboard?
Will all this stress evenually make Betty snap and murder Dr. Petrie?
The Secret of Fu Manchu is an entertaining episode of Adventures, and it doesn't share the same problem plotwise that Prisoner did-Secret has more than enough time in its twenty-five minute running time to develop and play out its plot.
As for the episode's acting, most of it's good, and the only bad actor is, of course, Glen Gordon (who still churns out an entertaining performance).
The episode's attempt at special-effects is kinda laughable, as it looks like an obvious doll whenever someone is being lowered down underwater, but it's understandable, considering the trouble it'd take to actually film those underwater scenes in the 1950's.
The episode has a few unintentionally hilarious moments, from Dr. Petrie's kinda sexism to one scene near the end, when our heroes are on their boat, by the sunken ship's coordinates. The guy who dives down starts choking, and is brought back up, and found in his breathing tube are steel shavings. Everyone realizes that there is a traitor aboard, and that it's Mr. X (I'm calling him that because he's never named) and X takes Betty hostage. He demands that Nayland Smith drop his gun and throw it to him, which Smith does. Then, Mr. X, in a huge moment of stupidity, completely lets Betty go and leans down to get the gun (which iskinda far away from him), turning his back to the people trying to capture him! With stupidity like that, you don't need to be a rocket surgeon to guess that Mr. X is gonna end up a meal for the sharks!...Yeah, as soon as he falls into the water, he's immedately found and devoured by a random shark!
The episode features plenty of Kolb, but Karamenah again only acts as background. Betty also gets her usual amount of screentime, rather than being offscreen making coffee for the whole episode, which is good.
So, to finish up, Secret of Fu Manchu is a fun as usual episode of The Adventures of Fu Manchu...