Monday, June 28, 2010

'Shatter': Peter Cushing's Worst?

Peter Cushing reportedly stated that "Blood Beast Terror" was the worst movie he ever did. I beg to differ. While I haven't seen every film he has made--but I'm working to rectify that!--I doubt any can be as bad as "Shatter," one of two co-productions that Hammer Films made with Hong Kong-based Shaw Bros.

I believe this is the only film with Cushing in it that I have ever assigned a One Rating to.

Shatter (aka "Call Him Mr. Shatter") (1974)
Starring: Stuart Whitman, Lung Ti, Lily Li, Anton Diffring, and Peter Cushing
Directors: Michael Carreras and Monte Hellman
Rating: One of Ten Stars

Shatter (Whitman) is one of the world's top assassins. After killing an African dictator, he travels to Hong Kong to collect his fee, but instead finds himself a hunted man. Shatter hates being screwed out of his hard-earned cash, so he sets about getting revenge against the crimelord who crossed him (Diffring). Along the way, he gains a young martial artist as an ally (Ti), hooks up with a sexy Chinese mama (Li), and annoys a British Intelligence officer (Cushing). Everything basically unfolds at random, puntuated with gun-battles, explosions, and car chases.

From beginning to end, this movie makes no sense. I fancy myself pretty smart, but, despite the fact that the movie is populated with characters who are clearly just taking actions dictated by the plot, I can't figure out what the plot is. Why does Shatter go to Hong Kong, other than the fact that the company that co-produced this travesty with a failing Hammer Films, is based there? Since those who contracted his services were planning on killing him, why wait until he was in their backyard? Why didn't Shatter arrange to be paid in a way of his choosing--it can't be surprising that criminals would want to weasel out of paying him, now could it? What is Peter Cushing's character doing in the film anyway?

"Shatter" attempts to be a poor man's James Bond, but it comes across as the DT-riddled bum's James Bond. Even Peter Cushing's being featured doesn't make this one worth the time you'd spend opening the DVD case, let alone watching it.