Let's face it. I love Eddie Constantine. Ever since I saw Alphaville in my teens I've wanted more of this character. Lemmy Caution is a legend, and much to my surprise there's a whole slew of movies starring this boozing gumshoe. It would be these classic spy movies that inspired Jean-Luc Godard to make Alphaville. There's a total of 15 I believe. Most are out of print and nearly impossible to find. Thankfully that's one of the many problems that Something Weird Video has solved for us. When I finally was able to dive into Eddie Constantine's body of work it lead me to some interesting discoveries. Aside from the unconventional Alphaville, he did another offbeat sci-fi spy flick directed by none other than Mr. Jesus Franco!
Ahh...is it possible? Two of my favorite people could come together in such an unexpected way? Yes it is possible. It is Attack of the Robots.
Constantine doesn't play Lemmy Caution, but if you've seen a few of his Euro-spy flicks you know it doesn't really matter. He's always basically the same, even if the name is different. He's always a witty, misogynistic, drunken, gambling, sarcastic, frog faced, eye rolling Ladies Man. Isn't that what we love about him? Godard toned his punchy humor down a bit for his puzzling masterpiece, which works perfectly. The style he originally became famous for was slightly more sardonic . In that respect it almost seems like Franco made a strange conglomeration of an Alphaville-like fantasy and a tongue-in-cheek espionage film.
Constantine plays Al Pereira, a retired agent of Interpol. When an assassination takes place and they discover that an android robot is the culprit, they track down Pereira and force him out of retirement. The thing is, they don't tell him his mission. They find out that the people being brainwashed and turned into robots all have type 0 blood. Pereira happened to be the only agent they have with type 0 blood so they give him a false mission and place him in the middle of the action to be a prime target for who ever is responsible. Ideally, he'll get taken and lead them to the suspects.
There are a lot of nice little touches that make this better than a lot of the cut and dry euro-spy flicks that were made in enormous numbers in the 50's and 60's. With Jess Franco in the driver's seat you can be sure he's going to get away with as much as possible. Although this could be considered a family film next to the average Franco movie, it's still has a unique presence. He manages to make it normal enough to be passable but strange enough for the inevitable cult status. My favorite part about this movie is how weird the robots look.
Almost like they're in black face.
I really enjoyed the music by Paul Misraki who not only did the Alphaville score, but most of the other Eddie Constantine spy flicks. The theme was an obvious rip-off of the Richard Diamond theme (one of my favorites). The rest of the score was playful and very lounge-y like Bruno Nicolai. If I could ever find the soundtrack I'd definitely invest in a copy.
Unfortunately this isn't one you can get from Something Weird, though they have a lovely selection of Eddie Constantine movies I recommend browsing through. I had a heck of a time tracking this one down, but it was worth it. I should have it up for sale on my Ioffer site within the week. Alphaville still reigns supreme but It's definitely one of the most interesting in the series, and worth a look for any fans of the Constanine or Franco.