THREE GOLDEN SERPENTS
The sad passing of actor Tony Kendall – aka Luciano Stella – back in November inspired me to get back on board with the project of reviewing the Kommissar X films for Teleport City. Not that I can say with authority that the Kommissar X films represent the best of Mr. Stella’s work, mind you – I haven’t, for instance, seen Yeti: Giant of the 20th Century, or Hate Is My God, to name just a couple of his many non-Eurospy efforts. It’s just that it’s those movies, and Kendall’s portrayal within them of dick-both-public-and-private Joe Walker, that won him permanent residence in a very special secret space-age lair located deep within my heart.
With the somewhat low-key, Montreal Expo-based antics of the Kommissar X series’ fifth entry, Kill, Panther, Kill!, it might have seemed safe to assume that the franchise had settled into what was, compared to the settings of the earlier films, fairly pedestrian territory. But with Serpents’ Thailand setting we happily see a return to the emphasis on exotic locales that we saw in the initial four movies. Unfortunately, our introduction to that setting is conducted in about the most unexciting manner possible, by way of some uninspired travelogue footage that sees what appears to be a middle-aged Midwestern couple making their leisurely way around Bangkok as the male half of the couple drones on affectlessly about various sights and local customs. This goes on for quite a while, and marks an unflattering departure from the opening sequences of pretty much every earlier Kommissar X, which typically took us right into the middle of the action without pause for preface or scene setting.