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THE 10th VICTIM,
This review is from: The 10th Victim (DVD)
An early forerunner in the futuristic "legalized-killing-as-TV-entertainment" genre, The 10th Victim lays the groundwork for many subsequent films including Roller Ball, The Running Man, and most recently Daniel Minahan's Series 7: The Contenders. Briefly summarized: in the 21st Century Marcello Mastroianni and Ursula Andress are two all-star assassins pitted against each other in "The Big Hunt," an international game of legalized murder in which a score of 10-kills awards the victor a prize of one million dollars. What sets this film apart from the others is not so much the plot (as while it may be the original in concept, its followers certainly succeed better in overall craft and more pointed satire) as the permanent aesthetic time/date-stamp of 1960's camp. The 10th Victim is a 60's version of the future, in the very best sense. It's a future full of awesome color schemes, ultra-cool music, great furniture, swanky pads, and characters that just ooze with sexual energy. The gem of this film is an opening sequence in which Andress dances around her ninth victim in a hipster club, fashionably slapping the men in the audience with cool and choreographed abandon before mowing down her adversary with bullets fired from a gun hidden in her bra (a gimmick later ripped for the Fembots in Austin Powers). And while the film offers a couple of other moments that approach the brilliance of this opening, its full potential is never realized -- things are not pushed nearly far enough. My biggest complaint: the alligator death chair catapult gizmo is never put to full effect, though perhaps I'm just yearning for the very thing this film means to comment on - more bloody spectacle. All in all it's definitely worth seeing, though you might supplement it with a healthy dose of Mario Bava's Danger Diabolik for good measure.