Battle Beneath the Earth (1967)

Article #1232 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 7-29-2004
Posting Date: 12-26-2004
Directed by Montgomery Tully
Featuring Kerwin Mathews, Vivienne Ventura, Robert Ayres

The military discovers that a Chinese war lord is planning to destroy the United States via an invasion involving a vast network of underground tunnels.

“Yellow Peril” movies made a bit of comeback in the late sixties, what with the resurrection of the Fu Manchu series and movies like this one. Though I suspect that this movie aspired to be something more, it really is no more serious than your average James Bond movie, and despite the absence of spies, it plays off like a low-budget variation of one. In fact, the whole movie is pretty silly. The first person to realize the danger behaves so incoherently bizarre that it’s no wonder he was locked up, yet he somehow remains perfectly coherent once someone believes him and he is released. We also have a scene of people setting off an atomic bomb to explode in ten minutes, and then hoping that they can outrun the blast on foot. It’s also been a long time since I’ve seen a movie with so many Caucasians in oriental makeup. Still, despite all the silliness (or maybe even because of it), the movie does manage to be sporadically entertaining; it’s just not to be taken very seriously.


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