After the misstep in the morning for the DailyView review of The Maltese Falcon, I wanted to make sure that I watch a film that I absolutely knew that I had never seen before. So I went to the film that I had heard discussed on John Rocha’s Outlaw Nation podcast from the excellent critic, William Bibbiani. He claimed it was one of his favorite comic book movies of all time. While, for me, that was a hugely hyperbolic comment, it was a fun film.
Diabolik (John Phillip Law) was a master criminal who, along with his girlfriend Eva (Marisa Mell), planned and executed comic book type robberies while being pursued from law enforcement Inspector Ginko (Michel Piccoli).
Diabolik has a James Bond vibe to him, if mixed with the Phantom, Adam West’s Batman and Moriarty. He is a strange protagonist for the film since he was clearly a villain and one who did not care about anyone else but Eva and himself. His actions lead to the deaths of several of the innocent police officers chasing him. Yes, he was, at times, looking to save Eva, but he did not seem to have any other positive characteristics.
Yes, there have been other movies with protagonists who were villainous characters, but not too many who were displayed in such a way to make them look like the cool agent/spy character.
The film was really more of a group of stories hooked together by the attempts of Ginko to catch Diabolik. The different sections of the film did not have an actual throughline outside of that.
There is a lot of camp in the film which helps with the overall tone and feel of the film and allows us to not take the deaths of these law enforcement officers as seriously as we might in a more realistic manner.
Danger: Diabolik has a lot of fun in it and provides viewers with some silly adventure. The acting is average, but the corniness is above the line.