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  Commando Mengele South American Getaway
Year: 1987
Director: Andrea Bianchi
Stars: Christopher Mitchum, Suzan Andrews, Fernando Rey, Howard Vernon, Dora Doll, Jack Taylor, Jean-Claude Lerner, Shirley Knight, Anthony Parker, Marc Otting, Antonio Mayans, Draky Stainer, Carlos Spitzer, Emilio Linder, Annick Laine
Genre: Action, Trash, AdventureBuy from Amazon
Rating:  3 (from 1 vote)
Review: Aaron Horner (Jack Taylor) is a Nazi-hunter in Paraguay who is seeking the infamous Angel of Death, Dr Josef Mengele (Howard Vernon), yet the mad butcher is proving difficult to track down. But Aaron has a lead, which takes him to a mansion in the city where he believes the killer is hiding out, though when he and his cohorts follow a car they think he is travelling in, on forcing it to stop he requests to them that they take their man alive. Alas, they were not listening, and when the men emerge from their car they are gunned down - and Mengele wasn't even among them.

Liked The Boys from Brazil and wanted more of the same? Then best not to give Commando Mengele a go, a blatant attempt to turn the theme of that seventies adventure into an action thriller. Filmed in Uruguay rather than Paraguay, it took the premise of the Jewish Nazi seekers and placed them in a crass set of endless discussions in rooms as they tried to work out what to do about their quarry, intercut with him going about his nasty business of both continuing his experiments and trying to turn the entire continent of South America into his dream of the Fourth Reich, thereby exhibiting the shakiest grasp of history.

Or instead, pin the blame on the double threat of director Andrea Bianchi, a notorious Italian scholckmeister, who teamed up with the even more notorious Spanish schlockmeister Jess Franco, who saw about the script. Oddly, this did not sound dubbed, so you got to hear those voices echoing off the walls as they continued their punishingly dull conversations about what was going to happen in the final fifteen minutes of the movie, basically the assault on Mengele's stronghold which included Robert Mitchum's son Christopher Mitchum among the Nazis, here with mullet and cane combo. Although Horner would seem to be the lead, quite often he gave way to a Spanish actor renamed Robert Foster here, (no, not Robert Forster), who was really Antonio Mayans.

Which is an appropriate name for a South American set plot, though his Marc character bustles around drawing up plans and making alliances, including with a portly, grey bearded, middle aged gentleman called Garcia who performs more activity in bringing down the menace than the rest of the good guys put together, as well as the incredible feat of destroying a helicopter (which is in flight) with a bow and arrow. Sadly, although this was a deeply silly movie, business such as that was few and far between, as if Bianchi was intent on keeping his powder dry, though he did have a spot of espionage with a female Steve Guttenberg equivalent, if you can conceive of such a thing.

Talking of conception, this poor woman - Eva (Suzan Andrews) - is given hormones by Mengele (who, looking very little like the actual Mengele, comes across as a bumbler for most of the movie, irate speeches notwithstanding) which make her pregnant (huh?), possibly with a hybrid child. A hybrid of what, you may well ask? There's a ward containing four people who will answer that: the evil doctor has created person-chimp combinations, which in practice means a few blokes with big eyebrows or beards overrunning their phizogs. Oh, and an actual chimp. In a bed. Quite what the intention of they were and how they fit into his schemes is never explained, but this is not a work which rewards logical scrutiny; you could argue that neither did the behaviour of the real villain, but then this is supposed to be entertainment. Certainly you could accuse this of horrendous bad taste, which oddly The Boys from Brazil rarely was, but this was exploitation through and through and made barely any sense anyway. Music (the same synth bit repeated ad nauseam) by Norbert Verrone.

Aka: Angel of Death
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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