Newest Reviews
American Fiction
Poor Things
Legend of the Bat
Party Line
Night Fright
Pacha, Le
Assemble Insert
Venus Tear Diamond, The
Beauty's Evil Roses, The
Free Guy
Huck and Tom's Mississippi Adventure
Rejuvenator, The
Who Fears the Devil?
Guignolo, Le
Batman, The
Land of Many Perfumes
Cat vs. Rat
Tom & Jerry: The Movie
Naked Violence
Joyeuses Pacques
Strangeness, The
How I Became a Superhero
Golden Nun
Incident at Phantom Hill
Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City
Maigret Sets a Trap
Hell's Wind Staff, The
Topo Gigio and the Missile War
Battant, Le
Penguin Highway
Cazadore de Demonios
Imperial Swordsman
Newest Articles
3 From Arrow Player: Sweet Sugar, Girls Nite Out and Manhattan Baby
Little Cat Feat: Stephen King's Cat's Eye on 4K UHD
La Violence: Dobermann at 25
Serious Comedy: The Wrong Arm of the Law on Blu-ray
DC Showcase: Constantine - The House of Mystery and More on Blu-ray
Monster Fun: Three Monster Tales of Sci-Fi Terror on Blu-ray
State of the 70s: Play for Today Volume 3 on Blu-ray
The Movie Damned: Cursed Films II on Shudder
The Dead of Night: In Cold Blood on Blu-ray
Suave and Sophisticated: The Persuaders! Take 50 on Blu-ray
Your Rules are Really Beginning to Annoy Me: Escape from L.A. on 4K UHD
A Woman's Viewfinder: The Camera is Ours on DVD
Chaplin's Silent Pursuit: Modern Times on Blu-ray
The Ecstasy of Cosmic Boredom: Dark Star on Arrow
A Frosty Reception: South and The Great White Silence on Blu-ray
You'll Never Guess Which is Sammo: Skinny Tiger and Fatty Dragon on Blu-ray
Two Christopher Miles Shorts: The Six-Sided Triangle/Rhythm 'n' Greens on Blu-ray
Not So Permissive: The Lovers! on Blu-ray
Uncomfortable Truths: Three Shorts by Andrea Arnold on MUBI
The Call of Nostalgia: Ghostbusters Afterlife on Blu-ray
Moon Night - Space 1999: Super Space Theater on Blu-ray
Super Sammo: Warriors Two and The Prodigal Son on Blu-ray
Sex vs Violence: In the Realm of the Senses on Blu-ray
What's So Funny About Brit Horror? Vampira and Bloodbath at the House of Death on Arrow
Keeping the Beatles Alive: Get Back
  Covert Action No way C.I.A.
Year: 1978
Director: Romolo Guerriri
Stars: David Janssen, Corinne Cléry, Maurizio Merli, Ivan Rassimov, Arthur Kennedy, Philippe Leroy, Carla Romanelli, Giacomo Rossi Stuart, Faidon Georgitsis, Dimitris Ioakeimidis, Tom Felleghy, Alberto Martelli
Genre: Drama, Action, ThrillerBuy from Amazon
Rating:  4 (from 1 vote)
Review: Retired agent Lester Horton (David Janssen) is now the author of a bestselling exposé about the C.I.A. Something that does not sit well with his former colleagues at the agency. While in Athens, Greece chasing a lead for his next book, Horton is waylaid by operatives working for the ruthless Maxwell (Arthur Kennedy). He wants Horton to reveal the whereabouts of a valuable piece of Intel. The resourceful Horton gives them the slip. He then reaches out to another old colleague: John Florio (Maurizio Merli). Now married to Horton's old flame, Anna (Corinne Cléry), the similarly disillusioned Florio’s efforts to expose the agency’s dirty tricks are being hampered by Maxwell's hired thugs. Working together the two agents and Anna try to fight their way out of a murky moral maze with the full force of the C.I.A. pitted against them.

Italian action star Maurizio Merli here plays third banana behind future Bond girl Corinne Cléry (who interestingly stepped in to replace Dukes of Hazzard star Catherine Bach!) and imported American lead David Janssen, star of the original TV incarnation of The Fugitive. Sadly looking about twenty years older than his actual age. Inspired by the experiences of real life C.I.A. agent-turned-whistleblower Philip Agee (who briefly served as technical advisor then sued the producers over his fees), Sono stato un agente C.I.A. clearly wants to come across as a "Serious Political Thriller" in the style of the many paranoid exposés then emerging from Hollywood in the Seventies. After all Agee's memoir dished the dirt on the agency's disturbing legacy of upholding authoritarian regimes, subverting democratically elected governments and sabotaging movements for social justice around the world. Doubtless at this late stage in his career David Janssen must have jumped at the chance to tackle such meaty material.

Alas, the film lacks any serious political edge. The plot, co-authored by director Romolo Guerriri with writers John Crowther, Nico Ducci, Mino Roli and Vittorio Schiraldi, is really no different from any spaghetti western or standard Euro-crime outing about a gunslinger or gangster trying to escape his past. Its moral outrage takes a backseat to sleazy sensationalist antics spotlighting moments of graphic violence, leering nudity (including a scene where an embarrassed-looking Janssen fidgets through a pornographic cartoon) and tacky melodrama. Including a subplot with Horton imprisoned and tortured at an insane asylum surrounded by ranting crazy people that threatens to go full One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975). The plot splinters all over the place, taking too long to establish just who Horton is and what he is up to before entangling itself with a sub-Casablanca love triangle (if you doubt grey-haired, frail-looking David Janssen could steal Corinne Cléry away from virile, moustachioed Maurizio Merli; the film disagrees), stock Euro-crime car chases and the semi-comedic antics of a catchphrase spouting Greek police inspector played by French actor Philippe Leroy. Though the budget was evidently more generous than in most Italian action thrillers from the Seventies, with attractive Greek locals well shot by Guerriri and D.P. Erico Menczer, Covert Action still has the same scrappy, thrown-together quality of a more typical Maurizio Merli outing. Much more subdued than in his poliziotteschi vehicles, Merli proves he could cut it in an atypical, more challenging role as a surprise plot twist lends a new dimension to his character. Of course he still lands one scene where he gets to kick the crap out of some people. Similarly Janssen flexes some of his old Fugitive muscles, staying one step ahead of frizzy-haired Euro thugs, but the constant of agents harassing Lester grow wearying and repetitive. Music by the always-reliable Stelvio Cipriani (a very Seventies mix of pan pipes, folk guitar and disco synth) helps enliven an otherwise lethargic effort that ambles along to a downbeat denouement undercut by its leading man's obvious boredom.

Reviewer: Andrew Pragasam


This review has been viewed 1622 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

Review Comments (0)

Untitled 1

Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside

Recent Visitors
Enoch Sneed
Darren Jones
  Louise Hackett
Mark Le Surf-hall
Andrew Pragasam
Mary Sibley
Graeme Clark
  Desbris M


Last Updated: