As I mentioned in last week’s Casino Royale post, my Bond films book also includes the 1967 Operation Kid Brother, AKA OK Connery AKA The New Spy Vs. Divided Evil. Normally I wouldn’t include an Italian Bond knockoff in a list of Bond films — Italy made well over 100 “spaghetti spy” films — but this one has M and Moneypenny recruiting Bond’s brother (played by Sean Connery’s brother Neil) to fight against SPECTRE’s Number Two, so it belongs.Wait, wait, that would violate copyright wouldn’t it? So instead it’s about how British intelligence’s Col. Cunningham (Bernard Lee, the original M) and his secretary Miss Maxwell (Lois Maxwell, the original Moneypenny) recruit “the brother of that agent Zero Zero Something” to fight Mr. Thai (Adolfo Celi, SPECTRE’s Number Two in Thunderball), second in command of the Thanatos crime cartel. And Daniela Bianchi, the From Russia With Love Bond girl, is the Bond — er, Connery girl here.
In the opening, Thai’s remote-controlled car smashes into a plane carrying key information for Miss Maxwell (Maxwell gets a much active role here than in the real Eon films). Then we cut to Neil Connery playing Dr. Neil Connery, whose brilliant surgical and hypnotherapeutic techniques have restored a Japanese burn victim, Yashuko (Yachuco Yama), to normal. When Thanatos agents try to kidnap Yashuko, Connery proves he can fight as well as his brother, and has Jedi mind tricks that can freeze someone motionless with a few seconds concentration. I’m going to take a wild guess this has nothing whatsoever to do with the real Neil Connery’s skill set.
Before long, Maxwell and Cunningham have recruited Dr. Connery to the fight against Thanatos. It turns out a British agent implanted a message in Yachuko’s subconscious warning that Thanatos plans to seize “the atomic nucleus.” In this movie, that refers to a nuclear power source that can charge up what we’d now call an EMP device, with which the crime syndicate can shut down power all over Europe. Fortunately the evil really is divided: Thai has no intention of staying Number Two so there’s lots of backstabbing gumming up Thanatos’ operations. Also fortunately, Thanatos agent Maya (Bianchi) finds Dr. Connery a lot more interesting than furthering her employer’s big and evil plan. There are the requisite number of booby traps, makeout sessions, and (supposed) thrills before Connery saves the world. When he and Maya prepare to ride off into the sunset, Cunningham tries to talk him into taking more missions. Connery uses his hypnotic powers to freeze the colonel until the lovers depart.
The movie is competently made but Neil Connery’s skill set definitely doesn’t include acting. He’s also ludicrously over-the-top in his other abilities, which might work in some films — but not in this one. But hey, it’s still better than Casino Royale.