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Dark Mission (Operación Cocaína)

Dark Mission: Flowers of Evil
Dark Mission (Les Fleurs du Mal) / Columbian Connection / Dark Mission: Evil Flowers

Spain/France 1988
produced by
Daniel Lesoeur, Marius Lesoeur, Jess Franco, Tako Pezonaga for Eurociné
directed by Jess Franco
starring Christopher Mitchum, Cristina Higueras, Christopher Lee, Alicia Moro, Daniel Katz, Richard Harrison, Brigitte Lahaie, Antonio Mayans, Henri Lambert, José Miguel García, Frank Desmet, Trino Trives, Carmen Carrión
story by H.L. Rostaine, screenplay by David Khune (= Jess Franco), music by Daniel J. White

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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A certain Luis Morel Stuart seems to be the only survivor of Che Guevara's gang of rebels, and now he seems to have relocated to Colombia and gone into bigtime drugrunning - but unfortunately, nobody knows what he looks like these days. So the CIA sends down its top agent Carpenter (Christopher Mitchum) to track him down, and the only clue he has is that Morel has a scar on his neck.

In Colombia, Carpenter meets with a drugrunning couple that wants to help him take down Morel's operations to move in on his turf, at the same time promising the CIA to not deliver drugs to the USA anymore - and the local CIA contact Myra (Brigitte Lahaie), a former girlfriend of his, even tells Carpenter to accept. At the same time, Carpenter has also met and fallen in love with Elena (Alicia Moro), daughter of local rich man Montana (Christopher Lee) - who is eventually revealed to be Luis Morel Stuart, the very man Carpenter is to bring down, himself.

Of course, eventually Carpenter helps Elena to find out her father is an evil man, all the baddies get their just desserts (often at the hands of one another), Myra is allowed to die a heroine's death, and in the end Elena flies off with Carpenter to God-knows-where.

Action veteran Richard Harrison plays Carpenter's boss, but he really doesn't have all that much to do besides from constantly insulting Carpenter.

 

If given the chance, Jess Franco can be an amazingly stylish, inventive and simply unusual director - but his strengths are the erotic and horror genres. When it comes to action on the other hand, Franco tends to underperform. In that respect, Dark Mission is actually quite good, by far less disappointing than some of Franco's other action flicks, and even quite coherent for the film of a man who has never paid much attention to actual storytelling (and in his best films, he doesn't have to). In fact, Dark Mission has the look and feel of your typical made-for-television movie: It was made on a low budget but at least features a few recognizable faces, the action is no better than functional, the direction impersonal to the point of blandness, there are no memorable setpieces - plus (and that's unusual for a Jess Franco flick) there is no nudity involved.

In all, if you want to see how Jess Franco handles an action flick, this is probably one of the better examples, but don't make the mistake and think this film is in any way representing his oeuvre as a whole in any way.

 

review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

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Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
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a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
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Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner

 

Out now from
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On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide
WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
starring
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD