Friday, 24 November 2017

No. 129 : The Destructors




 The Destructors @ the IMDb

 This film is also known as ‘The Marseilles Contract’ which might be a better and more relevant title but until we start doing a French cities movie blog ‘The Destructors’ it is. Hmmm ‘Dunkirk’, ‘Paris, Texas’, ’Bergerac’.. that idea has potential!

Anyway a side project of watching a lot of Michael Caine films drew me to this effort that has rightly been forgotten. It was made in 1974 in the middle of Caine’s ‘Paycheque first, script second’ phase, and it shows through the mercifully short 89 minutes run time.

The film opens with a man being crushed to death by a big Citroen. The man must have eaten too many croissants as the car is hardly moving before it pins him to a wall and crushes the life from him. Alas the script must have been in his pocket as any signs of life in that are extinguished too - and we‘ve not had the credits yet!.

We learn that the flattened citizen is in fact a U.S. D.E.A. agent who was on the trail of James Mason’s drug baron, Brizard. Mason has protection from on high and beleaguered policeman Anthony Quinn decides to hire an assassin to take him down. He is somewhat surprised when the assassin turns out to be Michael Caine - well wouldn’t you be?

We have already met Caine who was bedecked in double denim and shown to be a man of culture - we know this as he fixes his hi-fi so he can play Beethoven’s 5th while a tarty lady lies in his bed. Caine takes on the hit and proceeds to seduce Mason’s daughter so he can get into the inner sanctum - and into Mason’s house too.

The two men get on well and Caine does the odd job for Mason such as tossing an enemy off a half constructed building - just like he did to Alf Roberts in ‘Get Carter’! News of a big drugs shipment heading to Marseilles brings things to the boil and we have to wonder who Caine’s loyalties lie with and why are two Englishmen and a Greek causing al this bother to the poor old French.

This was a terrible, forgettable film with only a couple of minor, unintended, laughs to save it from being a complete washout. Caine plays himself, as usual, and sports some hideous outfits including shades at night and a red and black leather jacket that looks like a refugee from the ‘Thriller ‘ video. He’s not in the best of shape and puffs his way through the ‘action’ sequences - except when the stuntman takes over. Indeed, one of the highlights was a totally pointless motorcycle scene where the least convincing stuntman double since ‘The Omega Man’ does wheelies about some Parisian streets.

The plot is unnecessarily complex with Caine’s infiltration angle totally pointless - never heard of a sniper rifle Mike? Given the ending, a ticket to the dancing would have served just as well too! There is a half decent car chase cum seduction scene that was later replicated in ‘Goldeneye’ but it was telling of the budget that the only car that was destroyed was an old Citroen that the Luftwaffe missed.

From the title down this film is a baffling mess and totally merits James Mason’s constant disparaging look of ‘Oh I’ve just stepping in a turd’ - starred in one more like!

THE Tag Line : Hit Man Misses the Mark 35%

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