Dvd let­ter­box

The Weekend Australian - Review - - Film - Michael Bodey

IF SBS TV is won­der­ing what di­rec­tion it should take, it could do worse than back tal­ents such as Dario Russo and David Ashby, cre­ators of the re­cent SBS se­ries Dan­ger 5, which is re­leased on DVD this week (MA15+, Road­show, 150min, $29.99).

Now don’t get me wrong. I don’t be­lieve SBS is won­der­ing too much about di­rec­tion; rather, it’s won­der­ing where the next dol­lar will come from. And Dan­ger 5 is by no means a per­fect se­ries. But it is an­other step for promis­ing tal­ents.

The duo (and friends) came to promi­nence with their daffy on­line par­ody of spaghetti westerns and Ital­ian ac­tion films, Ital­ian Spi­der-man, which Russo up­loaded to Youtube dur­ing his final year of univer­sity. The thing, rightly, took off and he se­cured fund­ing for 10 more episodes that were just as suc­cess­ful on­line as the first had been.

SBS and the South Aus­tralian Film Com­mis­sion wanted more but Ital­ian Spi­der­Man was done.

So Russo and Ashby were backed to cre­ate Dan­ger 5, a par­ody of Thun­der­birds, 1960s spy shows such as Mis­sion: Im­pos­si­ble, Mod Squad and The Man From U.N.C.L.E. and any num­ber of in­ept Euro­pean knock-offs.

In Dan­ger 5’ s 60s, Hitler is still wreak­ing havoc. Only a group of in­ter­na­tional spies can stop him tak­ing over the world or de­duce why, for in­stance, Ja­pan has gone miss­ing. In­evitably, the Nazis are at fault and Dan­ger 5’s task is to ‘‘kill Hitler’’.

There are a few spoofs fea­tur­ing Hitler float­ing around, in­clud­ing the Aus­tralian co­pro­duc­tion Iron Sky. Maybe a new gen­er­a­tion of film­mak­ers has emerged whose fam­i­lies were un­touched by World War II.

Any­way, I’ve al­ways been sus­pi­cious of par­ody, which Dan­ger 5 re­lies heav­ily on. But it’s done fan­tas­ti­cally well on a mea­gre bud­get. I was primed to dis­miss Dan­ger 5 as pif­fle but I couldn’t. When­ever it looked like rest­ing too heav­ily on its own smug­ness, it made me laugh.

Russo as a di­rec­tor has a light touch and a keen eye. I look for­ward to his next achieve­ment, now that he’s milked ev­ery­thing pos­si­ble from the world of par­ody.

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