Here’s day 2 of my mini Ernest Borgnine season, catching up on some of his flicks that I have missed over the years. There will be more of these popping up here and there as the year goes on.
Technically bad, but still lovable.
Rookie Miami cop Dave Speed is accidentally caught in the explosive result of a NASA experiment and winds up with a range of new superpowers. These come in handy when he goes up against local big-time counterfeiter Tommy Torpedo and his goons.
Also known as Super Fuzz, this Italian-made comedy from 1980 is a low-budget, knockabout affair co-written and directed by Spaghetti Western legend Sergio Corbucci (of Django fame), starring Terence Hill as Speed and Ernest Borgnine as his skeptical sergeant Willy Dunlop. The DVD is part of the Bud Spencer/Terence Hill Collection, but this is one of Hill’s solo gigs.
Hill – born Mario Girotti – does a Connery when it comes to his character’s accent but makes up for it with some of the greatest facial expressions ever committed to celluloid. He has an almost childish naïveté about being a superhero as well that actually makes the character kind of endearing. Ernest Borgnine is his grumpy father-figure who consistently refuses to believe in the powers that Speed makes no attempt to hide or lie about. Nobody did exasperated quite like Borgnine and this role suits him down to a T. The supporting cast features a range of old-time character actors such as Marc Lawrence and Joanne Dru, all of whom seem to be in it just for the fun.
I get the feeling Corbucci took a “throw it in” approach to the script, so there is no point even trying to get it to make sense. Dave’s weakness is the colour red, for example, yet it only seems to affect his powers when required by the story. Anything that can be played for laughs, is, with internal logic coming a distant second. Normally that would annoy me, but with this flick I was just enjoying myself too much to care. [Mild spoilers ahead] One scene near the end, for example, features Dave swimming out to sea to find the ship where the bad guys have been making the dodgy cash. The ship has been sunk to hide the evidence, so Dave stops a passing fish to ask for directions – I wish I was making this up – while the ladder on the wall of the pool is clearly visible in the background. [Spoilers over; come on back]. As endearing as Dave Speed is, the film itself is even more so. On top of everything else, it has one of the coolest title songs in cinema history, as performed by The Oceans.