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Bullet To Beijing  [DVD]
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When the Cold War ends, the British Secret Service decides it no longer has a use for top agent Harry Palmer. There are others, however, who still have a need for a man of Harry Palmer s skills. He is promptly approached by Alex, a Russian businessman. In St. Petersburg, Alex tells Harry of his plan for Russia's future, which is threatened because a deadly bio-chemical weapon called the Red Death has been stolen from him. Alex is prepared to pay Harry handsomely to locate and recover the renegade weapon. An ex-spy friend tips Harry off that the weapon is being sent to Beijing by train, aboard which we begin to learn just whose side everyone is really on...
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Top Customer Reviews
People often complain that Palmer has lost much of his wit from the 60s, and I give the film-makers credit that they didn't try and imitate it. Palmer is now getting on, even before he loses his job at the beginning, he is clearly close to retirement anyway. What wit he does come up with is funny in its own sense - watch for the comment about the milk for instance. Caine is his usual superb self, and there are good performances all round. I would put Jason Connery's apparent 'woodeness' down to the fact that he plays a very serious and solemn character. As he opens up more and more, he becomes less 'wooden'.
The film is extremely fast-paced, and not just because it's on a train - all the crosses and double-crosses happen in the context of racing towards a deadly conclusion, whereas The Ipcress File for instance, often stood still until Palmer discovered something new.
Excluding Billion Dollar Brain (which I haven't seen) I would say this is the second best in the Harry Palmer series. Certainly it is much better than the awful Funeral in Berlin, and the sequel to this, Midnight in St. Petersburg, didn't offer the same level of excitement.
You might have to watch it more than once to fully understand it, if you're not concentrating. But is that something to complain about?
Incidentally, Jason Connery's non-Russian accent is explained within the film.
Aside from Michael Caine as Harry Palmer, the cast boasts Jason Connery as Nikolai Federov, Michael Sarrazin as ex-CIA agent Mike Craig and (Sir) Michael Gambon as Russian crime boss, Alex.
Connery, to his credit, does not attempt a Russian accent, instead opting to go down the Van Damme route of retaining his own accent and offering an implausible explanation for this. ...
The film begins with Harry Palmer getting the sack fromt he British Secret Service due to budget cuts. Almost immediately, he is contacted by Russian gangster Alex to work for him in a freelance capacity.
The plot is a contrived mess surrounding a deal between Alex and the North Koreans over weapons and drugs. Everyone double crosses everyone else and all sense gets lost in the confusion.
Connery's real-life spouse, Mia Sara, makes an appearance as Natasha, who may or may not be working on the same side as everyone else.
While this film is certainly not without its charms, but, for vintage Harry Palmer, you should buy The Ipcress File or Billion Dollar Brain instead.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
OK, so it's not The IPCRESS File, but what is? This is a decent story, with some good scenes, and good acting - Caine is believable as the superannuated, recently pensioned-off,... Read morePublished 5 months ago by R. ARMSTRONG-FINNERTY
good film throughly enjoyed it there was a dry sense of humour in the filmPublished 7 months ago by John Bedford
A good spy film starring Michael Caine as secret agent Harry Palmer. Good storyline and well acted.Published 9 months ago by colinc