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Shadow Island is an island in the Pacific, circa half way between the
US and China, and it is privately owned by one crooked (but not too evil)
American, Lucky Kamber (Cy Kendall). Shadow Island has managed to stay
neutral in the Second World War so far, but as the war is progressing, it
has increasingly become a meeting place for spies ... and Lucky Kamber is
happy to accept everyone on his island who is able to pay enough ...
On Shadow Island, the Japanese, led by dragon lady Nabura (Victoria
Horne) conduct experiments to create a scientific airplane fuel, which
would decide the war in the Japanese' favour, and eventually, scientist
Hakahima (Benson Fong) has come up with something, 7-22, an explosive that
turned out to be a failure (as an explosive) but makes perfect airplane
fuel ... too bad (for the Japanese) that 7-22 was developed by an American
scientist, Professor Raymond (Mauritz Hugo), and the formula is still
safely tucked away in his office in America, without him even knowing what
it's worth. So Nabura, Hakahima and German bnattleship officer Captain Grut
(Arno Frey) are looking for ways to get that formula from America ... and
eventually decide to bring in a doppelganger ...
But the American secret service hasn't been idle neither, and they have
sent their top agent X-9 (Lloyd Bridges) to Shadow Island to investigate
the whoel affair ... even if the Americans don't have the slightest idea
what those cryptic numbers, 7-22 could stand for ...
Anyways, X-9 soon teams up with two employees of Lucky Chamber's
casino, the House of Shadows, who are really American agents, Chinaman Ah
Fong (Keye Luke) and Australian Lynn (Jan Wiley) - who even runs an
anti-American radioshow with the help of the Japanese to actually radio
encoded messages to the Allied Forces ... ghardly ever was there a better
Soon the usual series of chases, fights, death-traps, bluffs and double
bluffs ensues while our hero and his helpers try to thwart the plans of
those evil Japanese (and their German allies, of course), and all the
while, X-9 doesn't have the faintest idea what it's all about or what 7-22
could actually stand for (he thinks it's some secret attack plan) ...
Eventually, Lucky Kamber gets tired of both X-9 and company and Nabura
and her gang, so he lures all of them into an abandoned mine and has it
blown up ... but only manages to kill Hakahima - which in turn makes
Nabura so mad that she has Shadow Island invaded.by the Japanese. Somehow
however, X-9, Ah Fong and Lynn escape arrest, and make it onto the German
battleship Lorelei. Nabura meanwhile has retreated to a Japanese submarine
and ordered Shadow Island bombed while she plans to make her getaway ...
but X-9 and Ah Fong find a radio on board the Lorelei and give fake orders
to the leader of the Japanese bomberplanes to bomb Nabura's submarine
instead of the island ... and that't the end of Nabura and her evil plans
and the free world is saved once more.
Samuel S.Hinds plays a man who does not much more than stand at the bar
of the local casino (even after that casino is bombed) and comment on the
goings-on, only to the end turn out to be a British Secret Service agent -
and his role works out surprisingly well.
Obviously, this film is a piece of American World War
2-propaganda, and as such it should be viewed as a mirror of its
times rather than a prime example of action cinema. That said though, Secret
Agent X-9 still remains rather dull where other serials would come
into their own despite their limitations (e.g. Adventures
of Smilin' Jack). The main reason might be that Secret Agent
X-9 seems to be content with an unimaginative and repetitive
succession of standard situations instead of telling an even moderately
inventive story. And Lloyd Bridges as the hero rather fails to convince.
That said, it's not all bad, it's standard serial fare and if you're
into serials, you might even like it ... but don't have too high hopes,
it's not really good, either.