The review below is my modest contribution to The Camp & Cult Blogathon
, hosted by the fabulous Stacia of She Blogged By Night
. And in the event someone unfamiliar with our methods
happens to wander by, I should point that it's nothin' but spoilers from here on out.
Dimension 5 (1966)
Directed by Franklin Adreon.
Written by Arthur C. Pierce.
Our story opens somewhere in Europe, where Chitty Chitty Bang
Bang, driven by fading heartthrob Jeffrey Hunter, is being chased by a Jeep
full of trigger-happy “Policia Militar.”
Things look bad for our hero, but at the last instant he foils his
pursuers by abruptly leaving Europe at the first exit and pulling into Bronson
Suddenly, a helicopter appears, just like that
scene in From Russia With Love, except in this case it’s just Channel 9’s
traffic chopper which happened to pass overhead while the bored Second Unit was
trying to shoot footage of a raccoon eating a pinecone. Undaunted, Secret Agent Double-O Jeff
lustily smooches the busty brunette in the passenger seat, then coldcocks her
with a brutal backhand, presumably because she had garlic for lunch.
He takes off running and the Policia start to give chase; then
suddenly realize that if they just shoot Jeff dead, the director will probably
call Lunch. But Jeff puts a ring
on his finger and vanishes! So our
hero has cool spy gadgets just like James Bond, the only difference being that
007’s are built by Q Branch, while Jeff’s equipment is supplied by tricksy
Cut to stock footage of Pan Am jets taking off from Los
Angeles International Airport, pulling up their landing gear, then lowering
their gear and landing at Los Angeles International Airport. The implied seat belt and oxygen mask
safety demonstration is the most breathtaking action sequence so far.
Jeff’s stunt double climbs into the traffic chopper and
takes a scenic tour of Inglewood.
If you were planning to make some microwave popcorn or heat up a Hot
Pocket, this might be a good time.
Ah, I see the helicopter has finally landed – on LA’s
ugliest skyscraper, the California Federal building. Inside, Agent Double-Naught Jeff meets his boss, Cane, who
apparently took his character’s name as a stage direction, since he affects
an exaggerated limp and uses a cane.
Cane runs a private intelligence agency called “Espionage,
Incorporated.” Originally he’d
planned on hiring someone to devise a less obvious brand name, but he wound up spending the money on a fancy espresso machine for
the break room. He also apparently
can’t afford an office, since he and Jeff deliver all their exposition in the
elevator (although, judging by the top of the frame he does own a boom mic, and it’s
a very gifted photo-bomber).
Anyway, it turns out Jeff’s gadget isn’t a magic ring after
all, but a “time converter,” and he must use it to foil “the Dragons,” who are
planning to destroy Los Angeles unless “all Allied forces get out of Southeast
So, our choices are:
1.) Get out of Vietnam two years before the Tet Offensive, or 2.) Watch
another 79 minutes of this movie.
I kinda gotta go with the Dragons on this one.
Cane’s organization has captured a Dragon, and is bringing
him to LA for interrogation (pro-tip: if you work for an international
organization of supervillains, and someone knocks on your door and says,
“Espionage, Incorporated” -- pretend you’re not home. Chances are, it’s either a counter-spy or a
land-shark). Cane is also giving
Jeff a sexy young partner, because we’re 14 minutes into the movie and our hero
(whose name is “Justin Power” – did I mention that yet?) hasn’t boned anyone. Hard to believe for a Sixties spy film, but so far it’s all been
elevators, promotional consideration provided by Pan Am, and exposition
delivered by the Minister of Silly Walks.
But things potentially heat up when Jeff asks Cane to run away with him
to a South Sea paradise.
Cut to Manilla.
By which I mean, splice in more footage of Pan Am jets landing at LAX,
then cut to an empty terminal at Burbank Airport, where Sam from Quincy is
waiting to board a flight to LA with the Dragon agent, which is confusing,
since his flight just landed at LA, so who knows where the hell his luggage
is. Meanwhile, as Sam watches the
Dragon, France Nuyen (whom MST3K fans will remember as the disinterested love
interest from the failed TV pilot Code Name: Diamond Head),
watches Sam. Suddenly, a middle
aged Asian man appears and threatens to blow up his briefcase unless Sam and
the Dragon each swallow a pink capsule, which will either 1.) kill them, 2.) expand their minds, because no one can be told what the Matrix is, or 3.) relieve sniffling, sneezing, and watery eyes for
up to 12 hours. But France
effortlessly kills the terrorist with her ballpoint pen, then goes back to
making out her grocery list, because she’s a badass.
Back at Espionage, Inc., resident egghead “The Professor”
subjects the Dragon agent to a lie-detecting beauty salon hair dryer, while
Jeff asks Sam if he’d like to run away with him to a South Sea paradise. Meanwhile, the torture thing really
pays off: the agent reveals that Dragon has brought a hydrogen bomb into LA. But it’s in pieces, some assembly is
required, and since the H-bomb only came with those confusing diagrams you get
from IKEA, it won’t be completed until Christmas Day. Unfortunately, even though Cane turns the hair dryer up to
11, the agent doesn’t know what kind of delivery system they’ll use (ship,
aircraft, missile), but given the timing of the attack it seems obvious the bomb
will be delivered by Santa.
"Let's have a lip-pursing contest. Go!"
Jeff goes home to meet his new partner, and we see that like
most secret agents, he lives in a spacious, split-level rambler in a modest
suburban housing tract. Also, his mailbox
contains a huge closed circuit TV camera, which is cool, but probably makes it
tough at the end of the month for the mailman to cram in the utility bills and
Jeff is surprised to discover that his partner is France – a
girl! -- and that she’s moved in and strewn her feminine products all over his
guest bathroom. Also, she’s
half-naked and refuses to put pants on, telling him to “check my I.D.” Then she slowly pulls up the hem of her
crotch-length sweater. I can only
assume there was a jump cut, and she actually told him to “check my
After he fingerprints her vagina, Jeff takes her to a chop
suey house in Chinatown, because “I figured you were homesick.” But then he orders steak and mashed
potatoes, so instead of an after dinner mint, the proprietor hands him a
time-bomb. His Pontiac Catalina
blows up, but Jeff cheats death by suddenly stopping at a liquor
store to buy cigarettes in a weirdly hesitant manner (“Oh! Yeah, gimme a package of…those. Uh! On second thought…gimme the
whole carton!), even though he never smokes in the film (maybe they were candy
cigarettes; I know they made me feel extremely suave in 1966 – at least when I
wasn’t wetting the bed).
France is clearly the smartest person in the film (she
escapes the explosion by the clever tactic of climbing out of the car
for no apparent reason) and quickly deduces that the Chinese hostess at the
chop suey restaurant planted the bomb.
Jeff snaps into action and goes to the girl’s apartment; but just because he's demanding to know why she
tried to kill him, that's no reason not to guzzle every glass of mysterious
liquid she hands him. Then he
tries to torture the information out of her by twisting her arm behind her
back, but she wriggles around and Jeff has such a hard time
holding on to her that it looks less like a brutal interrogation and more like
someone trying to put a snowsuit on a three-year old. In fact, our hero gets so flustered that he doesn’t notice
she’s pressing a stiletto to the back of his neck and is about to pierce his
cerebellum. Fortunately (for him -- it’s a bit of a blow for us), France suddenly appears and kills the Dragon lady
with her ballpoint pen, then resumes her journaling (“Dear Diary: You won’t
believe what a useless puckerhole they partnered me with…").
The Dragons capture our hero, and France waits patiently around for
Jeff to do something, which he finally does – he gets tied up – but that’s not
good enough for her (Women! What
do they want?), so she secretly alerts headquarters to their predicament,
karate-chops all the bad guys, then wearily cuts Jeff loose.
“You don’t mind if I’m a little confused,” he says,
attempting to recover his dignity.
“About which side of the fence you’re prowling on?”
one side,” she sighs, then saunters out of the room, leaving him sitting there
with his metaphorical dick in his hand.
The only thing that could possibly make her seem like more of a badass
would be if she was walking in slo-mo, while the whole building exploded behind
Jeff puts on a red and white sweater set that looks like
something Andy Williams would wear for a
mid-Sixties Christmas special, and decides to thwart the Dragons’ scheme
by jumping into the future to meet a freighter bringing toys from Japan. I’m
not sure how that’s going to help, since the bomb components are already in Los
Angeles, but I assume Jeff is misusing government resources to make sure he
gets that Special Edition Beanie Baby he wants for Christmas.
Cut to Oddjob from Goldfinger, who is sitting topless in a
wheelchair, covered in corn oil and verbally abusing his minions with Boris
Badenov’s voice. Cut back to Jeff – who I’m actually glad to see for once – who
has broken into Oddjob’s warehouse of the FUTURE! He wanders around, determined to find that Beanie Baby,
while France rolls up her sleeves and locates the H-bomb.
I’m sure glad she’s doing the same job he is, for only 50% less money,
and 100% less pants.
Suddenly, Oddjob appears, brandishing a pistol and Paul Frees’
larynx. Jeff and France activate their
“time converters” and leap 30 seconds into the future, precious time that France uses to disarm Oddjob and Jeff uses to cower behind some barrels. So, it seems our plucky, pantless heroine has saved the day! Unfortunately, screenwriter Arthur C.
Pierce has loaded her down with about a page and a half of lachrymose back
story, and by the time she’s finished delivering it, Oddjob’s henchmen have
gathered round like they're all having some sort of group therapy session.
Finally, Jeff has a chance to save France for once! But then he spots a Buffalo nickel, and
by the time he manages to pick it up (it wasn't easy, there was a little gum stuck to the bottom)
Oddjob and a henchman who resembles the Poor Man’s Tor Johnson
have escaped with an unconscious France.
(She wasn’t knocked out or anything, I think she just happened to glance
at her watch, realized the movie still had 11 minutes to go, and bit down on
that cyanide capsule in her hollow tooth.)
Jeff follows them back to Oddjob’s apartment, and promptly
gets his ass kicked by Poor Tor.
(You remember that scene in Blazing Saddles, where the overwrought
chorus boy bangs his fists on the cowboy’s chest, screaming, “you brute, you
brute, you brute!”? That’s pretty
much the fight choreography here.)
Naturally, France, who is bound and gagged, still manages to
get one of the villain’s guns and toss it to Jeff, who shoots his unarmed
opponent point blank in the face, because he’s a hero. But then Oddjob somehow gets the drop on
Jeff with his own gun, and things look grim; Jeff and France will be shot, and Los
Angeles vaporized by an H-bomb.
Fortunately, the producers can’t afford to show that, so a nameless
Chinese extra wanders into the shot and abruptly stabs Oddjob in the cerebellum (apparently that’s a
thing in China). And even though
he’s been using a wheelchair throughout the movie, Oddjob jumps to his feet and
suddenly it’s Heidi (“Grandfather!
I can walk!”), then he drops dead.
The world is saved! Jeff tries to kiss France, but she uses
her time-converter to quantum leap six months into the future, when this piece of
crap is already playing the bottom third of drive-in triple features, and she’s
moved on to a series of guest starring roles on I Spy, where she doesn’t have
to hand-hold Robert Culp and Bill Cosby through every frigging assignment.
So…What have we learned from Dimension 5? Well, we’ve learned that while Jeffrey
Hunter wasn’t the worst actor in Hollywood (after all, John Agar was still
alive), this really isn’t his best work; if I had to choose, I much prefer his
performance as Captain Christopher Pike in the first, failed pilot for Star
Trek, especially the part where he was paralyzed, mute, and played by another
We’ve learned that France Nuyen could beat Oddjob with both
hands tied behind her back. And
we’ve learned – or at least had our suspicions confirmed by the Internet --
that Jeff’s character name, “Justin Power” was the inspiration for “Austin
Powers” (which becomes obvious every time Jeff walks through Espionage, Inc.
and the all-girl staff coos in unison, “Hel-lo, Mr. Power.”
Oh, and always carry your I.D. in your vagina. It’ll come in handy if you’re ever
challenged by counter-intelligence agents, or the Pennsylvania Board of