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  Amazing Mr. No Legs, The UndefeetedBuy this film here.
Year: 1979
Director: Ricou Browning
Stars: Richard Jaeckel, Ron Slinker, Lloyd Bochner, Joie Chitwood, John Agar, Ted Vollrath, Rance Howard, Courtney Brown, Joan Murphy, Luke Halpin, Suhaila, Billy Blueriver, Templeton Fox, Jack Belt, Beverley Shade
Genre: Action, Thriller, Trash
Rating:  4 (from 1 vote)
Review: Heroin dealers these days are growing ever more devious - the latest scheme this Mob boss has dreamed up is to hide the smack inside cigars, and the police are none the wiser. The corrupt D'Angelo (Lloyd Bochner) behind this is doing very well out of it, but his partner in crime is rather more pugnacious when it comes to controlling the empire of illegality - that's Lou (Ted Vollrath) and he has a notable physical characteristic that makes him a most unlikely tough guy. For Lou is known as Mr. No Legs, and you don't want to mess with him...

That's right, the Amazing Mr. No Legs here not only lived up to his name by having, er, no legs, but he was also the bad guy in this ultra-low budget action thriller. The title character was ideal for Mr Vollrath, almost as if it had been written for him, which it had, by the creators of the Flipper television show - director Ricou Browning was something of an expert in underwater photography, and had played the Creature from the Black Lagoon in the swimming sequences of that movie. What precisely attracted him and his team to this is rather more obscure, as there's only one scene in the water, and that's D'Angelo's swimming pool.

Vollrath was actually a truly inspiring fellow, a war veteran who had lost his legs at age eighteen and proceeded to not allow this to hold him back, earning black belts in martial arts and encouraging other disabled people to follow his example. Which begs the question, why make him the bad guy when in real life he was a hero? Maybe he fancied playing the villain because it meant he got the chance to put throwing stars and shotguns on his wheelchair and blow people away accordingly, which indeed he does, and the fact that there aren't many acting police officers lacking their lower limbs could explain why he wasn't joining the cops who are the good guys here.

Well, sort of, as there's a police corruption subplot which gradually takes over the narrative as the bent copper is flushed out by our heroes, Richard Jaeckel as Chuck and the considerably less well known Ron Slinker (this was pretty much his sole acting role) as Andy. Poor old Andy has seen his sister fall victim to a drugs overdose, or so the law thinks but actually she was accidentally killed in an argument with her dealer boyfriend and injected with the heroin in an attempt to cover up the incident. Chuck is possessed of a keen mind, and begins to see the flaws in the case which will lead him and Andy to the top of the organisation, which includes Lou who D'Angelo thinks is becoming a liability.

In truth, there's surprisingly little kung fu action featuring Vollrath considering it was what he was best known for if he was known at all, although one setpiece sees him beat up a selection of goons around that pool so we do get to see some of his skills in combat. But that's almost overshadowed by two sequences: first, a completely gratuitous barroom brawl which starts out as a racist dispute between two women and then sees everyone else in the establishment pile in, including bloody broken bottle injuries for reasons best known to the filmmakers. Second, the grand finale, which doesn't even feature Mr. No Legs but does take the form of a car chase so drawn out that it could only have been included to pad this out for as long as possible because it has very little to do with the rest of the movie. With a strange cast of slumming it celebs such as Jaeckel and fifties sci-fi star John Agar mixing with anonymous mustachioed men, this had the production values of seventies porn but none of the sex, and not even the fighting you might have hoped for. Back to the drawing board, Mr. No Legs.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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