DIMENSION 5 (1966)
Article #1501 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 4-24-2005
Posting Date: 9-21-2005
Directed by Franklin Adreon
Featuring Jeffrey Hunter, France Nuyen, Harold Sakata
Spies use a time-traveling belt to help prevent an attempt by communists to blow up the city of Los Angeles.
If you haven’t figured it out from the plot description, the gimmick in this movie is the time-traveling belt. I really am disappointed that they found nothing better to do with the idea than make it part of a James Bond style spy thriller, but this being the mid-sixties, I guess I shouldn’t be surprised. At least I think it’s supposed to be a James Bond style spy thriller; actually, it comes across as if someone had been told about James Bond style thrillers, and decided to make one of his own without the benefit of having seen any of the originals. Yes, there are pretty girls and suave spies who specialize in witty repartee. However, the story would easily fit into thirty minutes of a real James Bond thriller, the pacing is non-existent, the repartee painful, the music anonymous and without any of the brassy charm of a real James Bond soundtrack. About the only thing that really comes across as Bondian is the presence of Harold ‘Oddjob’ Sakata as the main villain, and even he’s been dubbed by Paul Frees. The time-traveling belt gimmick remains little more than such; the movie could have been easily rewritten to remove it. In short, this is a dull, cheap, tired little spy thriller; it is a James Bond movie devoid of all the style that goes into that type of movie, and since I consider James Bond movies to be example of “style over substance”, I would say that if you take the style away, you have very little left. In this context, the best thing about it is France Nuyen, who plays her part with a bored sultriness, a decision that would be fatal in most movies but somehow manages to be somewhat interesting here. Jeffrey Hunter is mostly remembered nowadays for having almost been the captain of the Enterprise in ‘Star Trek’, but passed on the opportunity to appear in a second pilot for the series, the role going to William Shatner.
Incidentally, in the U.K., this movie was called DIMENSION FOUR. I take this to mean that they realized that there was less dimension here than originally promised.