October 24th, 2003


Quentin Tarantino's Man from U.N.C.L.E film turns out better than expected

There's an old Man from U.N.C.L.E film called The Karate Killers which must be dirt cheap because it's always being repeated on Bravo or UK Gold, often split into two to fit into the episode schedule. It's quite fun -- it's got Terry Thomas playing a lechy policeman, a swinging London nightclub where Illya gets punched into a duckpond, Telly Savalas playing an impoverished Italian count, Jill Ireland ... but what it doesn't have (and this becomes apparent as the film goes on) is any karate killers. The action moves to Japan. Are there any karate killers? No, just a crowd chase and a rather odd scene in a geisha house. They go visit a old priest in his shrine on the mountain. Surely, we get the karate killers now? No, just half-a-dozen thugs wearing black. They discover T.H.R.U.S.H.'s headquarters, and surely it must be protected by karate killers, but no, it's just hordes of badly-dressed (honey, nobody looks good in grey nylon) T.H.R.U.S.H. goons who clutch their chests and fall over as soon as you wave a U.N.C.L.E special in their direction. No karate killers.

But I know where they went now. Quentin Tarantino travelled through space, time and the fact/fiction barrier, and made them a better offer.

QT: It's a multiple-genre, highly-stylised martial arts melée that cuts between B/W and color, combining ultraviolent action with spiritual motifs while being referential (geddit?) to every great fight scene from Rashomon to Frank Miller's Daredevil.
KKs: Hm, er, sounds a bit intellectual.
QT: It's also solid kick-ass action.
KKs: Do we win?
QT: You get to wear hand-tooled leather masks, and smart suits, just like Napolean Solo's!
KKs: Do we have to die?
QT: Of course you have to die, you're bad guys, aren't you? But I guarantee you, yours will be a glorious death. No-one's going to forget it. Really. They won't. (He does his best shark-smile.)
KKs: Can we have motorbikes?
QT: Boys, you can have motorbikes with scabbards for samurai swords !
(He smiles expansively and shakes every one of them vigourously by the hand.)
QT: (aside) Yeah, this'll work.
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