Rudy Schwartz's Reviews

Boy, did some great shit come out of Italy in the 1960s or am I just whistling Buona Sera? On the surface, there's little to recommend this sort of crap, since it relies so heavily on stock footage of wild animals and time stopping interludes of people driving around in a jeep and saying things like "Hey look, there are some birds over there," followed by reaction shots of people smiling while pretending to look at birds. And I have to say, I fell asleep during the film's flabby center, where any semblance of plot melted like butter into a boring mess. But those complaints notwithstanding, this thing is redeemed to some extent by its groovy Euro lounge soundtrack, scantily clad jungle women, and a solidly idiotic conclusion.

Generally, I prefer my 60s Italian crap more firmly planted in the sci-fi pigeonhole, along the lines of Planet of the Vampires. This one has more of a jungle adventure aroma to it for the first hour or so, which may be why I fell asleep. Jungle movies are right in there with sword and sandal epics for me, but this one at least has cheesy exotica and fuzz tone guitars to temper its tedium. Women or gay men who are into body builders might also enjoy Brad Harris (later from Falcon Crest and Dallas) who spends a lot of time not wearing a shirt, but for me his greatest contribution to this mess is a dance scene in a bar, when he claps his hands and wiggles around like Tucker Carlson at a legalization fundraiser for waterboarding.

Not getting as much screen time, but more entertaining in my view, is Marc Lawrence, the blacklisted character actor who specialized in playing heavies in more substantive films like Key Largo and Dragnet. Lawrence plays Albert Muller, who double crosses Brad Harris after a robbery and leaves him for dead before the opening credits. Albert takes the $300,000 from the robbery and parlays it into gorilla experiments, implanting radio controllers in their brains so that he can control their actions, and inevitably control the entire human race. Had this moronic premise been more central to the movie, it's likely I would have stayed conscious throughout. Unfortunately way too much time is spent on plot shifts that seem to have been dictated by a talkative seven year old boy, prattling through a mouthful of half eaten turkey at a Thanksgiving dinner, his parents too oblivious to their scant universal relevance to tell their child when to shut up.

But eventually, if you're persistent, there's a decent payoff at the end. The great thing about Albert's gorilla mind control system is that there's a six foot tall 3-D cross section of a human head with a flashing red light in the center of the brain, and the entire system can be knocked out of service just by shooting out the light. Just think if iron lungs or commercial airliners used the same fault tolerance principles. Anyway, as you might have guessed, after Brad Harris shoots out the red light, a jungle priestess regains control over her gorillas, tells them to kill Albert, and the world is saved from mass mind control experiments, at least until Rupert Murdoch buys Fox.

Appropriately, there's no island shown or mentioned at anytime during the movie. If you pick this one up, I'd recommend using it for background music during the first hour. Maybe cook some spaghetti and fix a tossed green salad and garlic bread. Then settle in for the last half hour of heart stopping gorilla suit drama.

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