Review by Nick Frame Directed by Fernando Cerchio Starring: Glenn Saxson, Helga Line, Andrea Bosic, Armando Francioli, Tomas Pico Source: Pulp Video (Italy) (PAL Region 0 DVD / 86mins / 2002)
Well he’s back! Kriminal has somehow escaped jail and is running a high class rest home in London. As usual there is more than meets the eye, and it turns out that Kriminal and his young female accomplice are causing certain guests to check out quicker than they hoped and then reaping the rewards from the insurance. However, they come across a statue of a blue Buddha that contains the first part of a map that seems to lead to some hidden treasure. This is all Kriminal needs to spring into action and he is off round the globe in search of the other Buddha’s that contain the other parts of the map. Inspector Milton believes Kriminal is still in an Istanbul prison, how long will it take him to link the rest home, the Buddha’s, the treasure and Kriminal? Long enough; and our skeleton costumed friend has begun another adventure.
Many of the original cast have returned for this new adventure, Glenn Saxson of course as Kriminal, Andrea Bosic as the long suffering Inspector Milton and Helga Line too, but this time as Mara Gitan the partner of another adventurer chasing the treasure. Saxson is great here again, playing our (anti) hero to a tee, suave, sophisticated but with an evil glint in his eye. This is confirmed in the matter of fact way he disposes of his business partner in the rest home venture. Fernando Cerchio (who helmed many of the Toto’ films earlier in his career) is directing this time round and proceedings are a lot lighter this time round compared to Umberto Lenzi’s vision of the first film. No complaints from me however as it’s a cracking and fun adventure movie, with more great locations (60’s London, Lebanon and Istanbul), more of Kriminal in the outfit, black humour, red herrings, double crosses, disguises and of course sexy broads for him to love and leave.
There is a nice touch throughout whereby that action freezes and film turns to fumetto and we see some speech and thought bubbles coming from our protagonists, which is turn a very cool way of moving the proceedings along and acknowledging the original fumetti. Another catchy score second time around, this time from Manuel Parada, which I found myself humming to myself for days afterwards.
The disc from Pulp Video is again very similar to that of the original Kriminal, although I would say that the 2:35:1 image is slightly less spectacular this time around, with more print damage evident and image becoming very soft at around the 15 minute mark. However this does not last long and it’s hard to criticise the job they have done on these obscure movies. Unless the original negatives are found, I can’t see them looking any better for the time being. Audio is pretty good again, with both an Italian re-mastered 5.1 track and the original mono track available. Italian subs are available as well. Again no English options at all.
Extras once again are disappointing, just a bio and list of films for Fernando Cerchio and an outline of the cast and plot for the movie. Even a trailer would have been nice. Overall though, if you enjoyed the first film then you have to pick this up as well, its great fun, a joy to look at and has many decent touches. It’s also clear from the surprising ending that perhaps another film was planned and I for one would have loved to know what Kriminal did next. I recommend getting that Italian dictionary, and tracking down a few reprints of the original fumetti and finding out for yourselves!
Story/Film-3.5/5 Bitch Slaps Picture–3/5 Bitch Slaps Sound-4/5 Bitch Slaps Extras-1/5 Bitch Slaps Overall DVD-3.5/5 Bitch Slaps
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