Diabolik (John Phillip Law) is a mischievous Robin Hood-type bank robber. Assisting him with his robberies is his lover Eva (Marisa Mell). Diabolik will do anything for Eva and anything he robs he generally gives to her. The two also take great joy in sharing heists as if it is a sport or a game they can share together. Diabolik lives in a massive, underground lair where he also stores all his valuables such as money, gold, jewellery, and his stunning collection of Jaguar cars.
But after Diabolik is successful in a recent heist, scoring a large sum of cash, European police officers including a man known as Inspector Ginko (Michael Piccoli) start to put several clues together and attempt to capture the duo. Also hot on Diabolik’s tail is a dangerous and powerful mobster named Ralph (Adolfo Celi). Can Diabolik outsmart them all and avoid being captured? Can Diabolik walk away with the stolen money without having to return any of it?
Performances for the most part are pleasing to see, and I was surprised to find Diabolik as a character has little to no back story. The character is also incredibly light-on when it comes to dialogue. Within the film, it will be more up to the viewers to decide why he does what he does. Is it the thrills? Or because the man is just out of control and having a good time? While Diabolik is not necessarily a hero, the character has so much fun outsmarting people that I could not help but cheer him on within the story. It is kind of an odd risk as a film, but it certainly works that the lead character takes joy in stealing and attempts to get away with it. The plot is also unpredictable, and I found the film’s third act and final moments rather pleasing and unexpected.
I enjoyed the film’s effects, including car explosions and the general creativity when it comes to backdrops. The soundtrack might seem slightly repetitive, but I still found it pleasing to hear. The film’s costumes (which might be questionable in the present day) are also unique and creative for its time. Thanks to Imprint Films, this cult classic from the ’60s has been re-released on Blu-ray for the first time. The film also includes a stack of features along with a LCPM 2.0 Mono track. I was also grateful to discover the option of subtitles which seems rare on classic releases such as this.
Overall, this film is quite entertaining for movie lovers who enjoy the James Bond franchise or dare I say even Austin Powers. This is a cult film which is extremely creative, fun and generally left me quite impressed considering it was filmed in the late ’60s. Thanks to Imprint Films I’m also impressed by the quality of Blu-ray release as it once again doesn’t disappoint.
Danger: Diabolik (1968) is Now Available on Blu-ray!
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Review Written by Peter Walkden