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CIA agent Shatter (Stuart Whitman) kills some dictator (Yemi Ajibade) of
some African republic, but when he comes to Hong Kong to collect his
paycheck for it, he finds banker Leber (Anton Diffring) less than willing to
hand out the money, in fact he threatens Shatter. & when Shatter makes a
few investigaotins about the African hit on his own, he finds out he wasn't
even hired by his organisation, the CIA, neither by the British Secret Service,
& not only that, his hotel room is blown up, & sinister Hong Kong
security officer Rattwood (Peter Cushing) leaves little doubt that he wants
Shatter out of Hong Kong ASAP ... or sooner - & to emphasize on that, he
has Shatter beaten up.
But Shatter finds finds unexpected allies in Tai Pa
(Ti Lung), a waiter in a massage salon, & masseuse Mei Ling
(Lily Li), & since this is Hong Kong, naturally Tai Pa also turns out to be
a martial arts teacher on the side, & Shatter soon hires him as a bodyguard
... while he keeps Mei Ling for pleasure ...
& armed with his Kung Fu
champ, Shatter can get some relevant information out of Rattwood: that he was
actually hired by the mob to wipe out the African dictator, since they had a
neat weapons-for-drugs program running until the deceased opposed them, &
now they needed someone naive enough to do the job & at the same time
entangeld wit secret services enough to divert attention from them. & the
man behind it all is of course Leber. But now the only way to get out of the
mess he's in, Shatter has to bring down Leber's organisation, & bring in
Leber, preferably dead.
Shatter & Tai Pa however make up a nice extortion
scheme that, provided it works, would make them a cool million in Dollars ...
but of course it doesn't & only ends in Mei Ling being shot dead.
Shatter's & Tai Pa's way leads to Macao, where they (rightly) assume Leber
to be, to beat the living shit out of him, but when Shatter wants to face him
alone, face to face, he has to realize he has walked into a trap, as Leber
& his goons have already been expecting him, & not only that, also the
brother of our African dictator (again Yemi Ajibade) is with Leber, eagerly
wanting to take the killer of his brother home & take over power (as it was
actually him who ordered the hit in the first place). & to keep Shatter
from talking, Leber even wants to cut out his vocal cords ... which is when Tai
Pa steps in, beats up everyone in sight & throws Leber & our dictator's
brother out of a window. All's well that ends well ...
In the early
to mid 1970's, when Hammer-studios had somehow lost the ability to draw
reasonable audiences with their house-products of Gothic horror movies, they
tried to branch out in many a then contemporary direction ... with little
success though, as before the end of the decade, Hammer (despite some
half-assecd tv-series in the 80's) was virtually gone. Also in the early to
mid-70's, Shaw Brothers experienced unexpected success in the West with
their house-product, martial arts films, & they were looking for Western
co-producers to broaden their appeal (though their choice of partners was often
more than questionable). Havign said this, it only seemed naturaly that Hammer
& Shaw Brothers would eventually team up, for Legend
of the 7 Golden Vampires, & for Shatter ...
In the case of
Shatter though, the outcome is questionable at best, as it turns out to
be little more than a chep James Bond rip-off - as they were
produced by the dozen in the mid- to late 1960's - with some sloppily staged
martial arts thrown it (even though Ti Lung once more proves to be a great
fighter), all hung up upon an incredibly thin plot (even for a movie of this
genre). Only competent performances fro Peter Cushing & Anton Diffring
(& would you expect anything else from them), & Stuart Whitman, who
always looks as if he has just woken up from a bad night's sleep, keep this
from being a total failure.