The Second Best Secret Agent in the Whole Wide World (1965)

aka Licensed to Kill
Article 2602 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 5-20-2008
Posting Date: 9-27-2008
Directed by Lindsay Shonteff
Featuring Tom Adams, Karel Stepanek, Peter Bull
Country: UK

A secret agent is assigned to guard a scientist who is on the verge of creating an invention that will be called a Regrav, a device that will bend the laws of gravity. However, enemy agents are also after the scientist…

I’m not entirely sure what this is; it’s either a parody of the James Bond movies, or a rather self-conscious low-budget imitation of them. The title certainly seems to indicate the former, and some of the plot developments (particularly the head-swimming series of double-crosses and plot revelations that take up the last fifteen minutes of the movie) also do as well. However, if it is a parody, it mostly works on such a subtle level that it becomes rather indistinguishable from what it’s parodying, and it’s good to remember that the James Bond movies themselves are parodies to begin with. As a result, the movie often plays like an imitation, though one with a significantly lower budget and, at times, a sense of tiredness. If you go in expecting it to flip back and forth between the two extremes, you’ll have a good idea of what this one like. It’s still worth catching for that ending, though; you might even want to give the movie a second watching just to sort out the whole twisted affair. And as for the Gizmo Maguffin science fiction content of the Regrav device…, well, let’s just say that the degree to which this element contributes to the science fiction content of the movie is one of the punch lines at the end of the movie. To say more would give far too much away.



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