Harry Palmer Double Bill - Midnight In St.Petersburg/Bullet To Beijing  [DVD]
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Double bill of thrillers based on the novels by Len Deighton and starring Michael Caine as Secret Service agent Harry Palmer. In 'Bullet to Beijing' (1995), Harry travels to post-Soviet Moscow to track down a stolen biological weapon known as The Red Death. He soon finds himself engaged in a lethal game of cross and double-cross on the night train to China. In 'Midnight in St Petersburg' (1995), Harry and his partner Nick (Jason Connery) discover a conspiracy involving the Russian Mafia - and enough stolen plutonium to fuel three atomic bombs - while investigating the disappearance of Nick's girlfriend.
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Top Customer Reviews
If you have then you probably will not like these two 1990's T.V. films as much. However, provided you can look past the lower budget production values and lack of 60's style there is enjoyment to be had in these two films - particularly ''Bullet to Beijing''
Michael Caine was having a definite career slump in the early 1990's - it seemed like his 60's and 70's glory days were by then a distant memory. But in Britain with the introduction of Lad-mags such as ''FHM'' which projected the 1960's Caine image as somewhat of a role-model for the everyman and refreshed peoples memories of ''Ipcress File'' as well as ''Get Carter'', Caine started to get asked a lot if he would ever return to his signature Harry Palmer role. These two films are the result of all those questions and a lack of better options at the time for Caine.
Filmed back to back mainly in Russia - the first film in this set ''Bullet to Beijing'' was originally intended for a theatrical release with ''Midnight in St. Petersburg'' to follow several months later on cable t.v. - In the end both would end up going the t.v. route.
''Bullet'' has visibly more money and thought put into it and Michael Caine does a good job here - I think it's his best performance as Palmer outside of the Ipcress File, here we see an older and lonelier Harry Palmer and overall the film is a tight enough spy film with some good moments.Read more ›
Bullet to Beijing is by far the better of the two movies and the reason I awarded 3 stars not 2. It evolves into a reasonable road (well train/plane/automobile/train) movie though the plot is very thin and characters are brought in with the briefest connection and little back story. A fair bit of humour too.
Midnight In St Petersburg is a different story. The plot is thin as cheap broth with very little to hold the attention.
Michael Caine seems to be going through the motions and never really re-lives the true style of Harry Palmer, neither film really holds a candle to the original trilogy. Both movies needed tighter direction and storyline to grasp and hold the attention.
Worth a rental (for B to B) or maybe buy and sell on, but they are not really true Harry Palmer films.
( Hi Harry; Hello Mister Palmer etc.) every five minutes, just so we don't forget who he is supposed to be. A deliberate, direct quote from `IPCRESS' by Palmer's boss, made me wince out loud but, presumably, this was a further attempt to establish some sort of continuity with the original films. Caine comes across as a favourite uncle, relaxed and genial, full of cheeky grins and laughter. I like Michael Caine as an actor - even when he is playing himself - so, having read other reviews and been duly warned not to set my expectations above zero, I bought this DVD set, quite prepared to be disappointed. Maybe that made all the difference, as I didn't feel I had wasted my money (I only paid a few quid), or my time by watching them, and will even watch them again, sometime. They are the sort of thing to put on if you just want to slump and be entertained - but little more. There is an appalling attempt to make Palmer into Bond, in `Bullet', with chases and shoot-outs, that doesn't ring true but I overcame all objections by activating my "Suspend Incredulity" circuit. The editing is not good, committing the cardinal sin of cutting the music before the reverberation has died. And, speaking of music, I had a pleasant surprise when I saw, on the box, that Rick Wakeman was responsible for the soundtrack. However, like some of the actors, Rick appeared to be on autopilot.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
These are fine but not as good as the earlier Harry Palmer films. For Spy fans.Published 19 months ago by Brian
Harry Palmer, played by Michael Caine... He looks like an ordinary guy doing all the spy things. It's all less over the top as James Bond or The Bourne Supremacies. Read morePublished on 26 May 2014 by Jan Verhoeven
Should have given 5 stars. I receved item in good condition and also on time, so why 4 stars. I got it wrong the movies were rubbish "really rubish" Oh not the quality or the sound... Read morePublished on 13 Aug. 2011 by John1
Although Michael Caine is again great to watch in this two DVD set, neither of the stories picks up speed. Set in Moscow and St. Read morePublished on 7 Jan. 2011 by Robert P. Duvalle
I have no idea, what could have provoked some of the positive commentary about these two movies, other than a high degree of sentimentality about the old Harry Palmer from 'The... Read morePublished on 26 Aug. 2010 by Bacchus