Lightning Bolt (1966)

Article #981 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 11-21-2003
Posting Date: 4-19-2004
Directed by Antonio Margheriti
Featuring Anthony Eisley, Wandisa Guida, Folco Lulli

When rocket launches are repeatedly sabotaged at Cape Kennedy, superspy Harry Sennet from the FSIC is called onto the case.

You know, it’s a good thing for the Italian film industry that the whole superspy/supervillain craze came about when it did; otherwise, what would they have had to churn out after the sword and sandal craze died down? (Answer: Spaghetti westerns). In short, this is another Italian Bond ripoff, with a title (LIGHTNING BOLT) designed to make you think of another Bond opus, and if that isn’t enough of a clue, consider that the ad tagline that appears on my copy of the movie reads “…strikes like a ball of thunder!” Furthermore, the Italian title itself is designed to make you think of GOLDFINGER, which is further emphasized by the fact that our main villain is a short-haired overweight man who reminds you more than a little of Gert Frobe. At the beginning of the movie, we’re informed that our hero likes to use money to accomplish his goals, because he doesn’t believe in violence; considering the number of times he beats up people in this movie, I’d have to say they really didn’t develop that theme very well. All in all, it’s business as usual for this sort of thing; bad dubbing, lots of fistfights, lots of beautiful women, a few clever moments, and a number of science-fictional gadgets and concepts (including the fact that the villain places his foes in suspended animation rather than killing them outright) are all to be found. What it lacks is the slickness (and the budget) of the Bond movies and a hero as charismatic as the ones who have played Bond.

Oddly enough, though I’m not a particular fan of the Bond movies, somehow I’m a little taken with these cheap Italian rip-offs. Go figure.

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