Retro-review: New on BluRay from Kino Lorber; help me out and pick it up on DVD/BluRay here on Amazon!
DIMENSION 5 (1966)
Directed by Franklin Adreon
Written by Arthur C. Pierce
Starring Jeffrey Hunter, France Nuyen, Harold Sakata, Donald Woods, Linda Ho, Robert Ito, David Chow, Jon Lormer, Bill Walker, Virginia Ann Lee, Lee Kolima, Tad Horino, Kam Tong, Gerald Jann, Carol Byron, Maggie Thrett, Kay Michaels, Marianna Case, Deanna Lund, Ken Spalding, Robert Phillips, Allen Jung, Paul Frees, John McKee, Ruth Foster, R.L. Armstrong, Ed Parker, Tita Marsell
This spy thriller with sci fi elements is a corny, misogynistic, slightly racist example of the era it was made in. But despite all of that, fans of Bond films are going to get a kick out of DIMENSION 5 as it really does embrace a lot of the clichés that makes that series so much fun, especially the older installments.
Dapper spy Justin Power (no relation to Max and played by Jeffrey Hunter) uses his mojo, his wits, and his space/time travelling belt to thwart a plot by evil nogoodnik Big Buddha (Harold Sakata) to assemble and detonate an atom bomb in Los Angeles. Teaming up with Double Agent Kitty (France Nuyen), Power karate chops and punches his way to Big Buddha’s stronghold–in between flirtations with every woman who crosses his path.
For the spy fan who is sick of hearing about appropriate interoffice relationships, DIMENSION 5 is one film that seems to aim at pissing off just about everyone. When Power isn’t dropping innuendo and double entendre on his sassy new Chinese-American partner, he’s flirting with other female coworkers at the reception desk and board room. While that is something that made me laugh at how different the era this film was made is to the one we live in now, it was rough to see the way Asians are stereotypically portrayed here as either evil or double agents or both. A visit to a Chinese restaurant where the restaurant owners bow dotingly to Power and spout lines with horrible accents seals the deal that there is a definite low level of respect towards Asians.
The hokey science behind the teleportation belts Power and Kitty use is a lot of fun. As is the forced yet, goofy events that thrust Kitty and Power together and most likely into bed by the time the credits roll. France Nuyen as Kitty does a great job of keeping you guessing whether she is on the side of the angels or not even though it doesn’t seem like Power cares either way, as long as she will eventually sleep with him. Jeffery Hunter is a rather bland lead, but he plays well off of Nuyen as the glass jawed straight man who isn’t used to a woman who stands up to him—or at least won’t let him get the upper hand.
DIMENSION 5 is a dinosaur of a film, but it is a breezy and goofily entertaining one. There is oddball science and a wonky villain who is buff and shirtless, yet wheelchair bound (and may not be by the way the final conflict resolves). If you taker life too seriously, there’s a lot to get angry about while watching this film, but if you take it as a product of its time, as many of the Bond films are, then you’re bound to have some fun with it.
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