Dimension 5 (1966)

Rating: **
Review Date: 1/14/19
Cast: Jeffrey Hunter, France Nuyen, Harold Sakata, Linda Ho, Virginia Lee

Communist China threatens to bomb Los Angeles if America doesn't pull its troops out of Southeast Asia. In order to learn more about the bomb they intend to use, intelligence agents Justin Powers (Jeffrey Hunter) and Ki Ti Tsu (France Nuyen) are assigned to investigate. Powers doesn't like working with a woman, but she proves her worth many times over. A man named Big Buddha (Harold Sakata) is a key player in the Chinese operation, and he tries to stop the American agents at every turn. Fortunately, Powers is equipped with a time travel gadget that lets him see the future and get out of seemingly impossible situations. As long as the Reds don't develop similar technology, the security of the Free World should be just fine...

It's a typically goofy 1960's spy adventure, overflowing with communist paranoia, hedonistic behavior, and pretty women. I love 60's glamour, but the sexist and chauvinistic attitudes that accompany it are difficult to tolerate. Likewise, the dialog is appalling and riddled with lascivious innuendo. Jeffrey Hunter gives an ineffective performance and the whole time travel gimmick only exists because Justin Powers has no special skills or training. He's little more than a glorified playboy who's not capable of anything. If this is America's so-called best agent, then we're all doomed. On the other hand, France Nuyen is fantastic. Not only is she drop-dead gorgeous, but her character is smart, cunning, resourceful, charming, confident, defiant, independent, highly motivated, and a skilled fighter. She consistently outmaneuvers Powers, which leaves him in a constant state of bewilderment. He desperately tries to exercise his masculine authority over her, but Kitty only acquiesces enough to give him the illusion of being in control. It's too bad the film doesn't revolve around her instead of the silly and inadequate Powers. Harold Sakata (Oddjob from "Goldfinger" (1964) ) gives a ridiculous non-performance as the villain in the film, and is unconvincingly dubbed by Paul Frees. He spends the entire film in a wheelchair, casting menacing glances and awkwardly reading from cue cards. Linda Ho and Virginia Lee add some additional eye candy as Big Buddha's subordinates.

It's a terrible film, but it still manages to be mildly entertaining. Apart from the stunning Ms. Nuyen, what impressed me most was the international flavor of the film, and how many Asian-American actors were represented in non-stereotypical roles, which was very forward thinking for the time.