Tony Mastroianni Review Collection

"The Corrupt Ones" Runs Out of Steam

Cleveland Press February 24, 1967

"The Corrupt Ones" is a pot-boiler of an adventure story, but it merits some praise for its breakneck pace and rough-and-tumble fight scenes.

On the debit side it also has some unnecessarily sadistic torture sequences. How do you choose to go? This movie offers a choice -- acetylene torch or dripping acid.

Robert Stack is tough and manly in the stock role of an American adventurer in an exotic setting.

The familiar twist is that of having a stranger hand him a package to keep as pursuers close in. Stack hangs on to it although rival gangs make it clear they will turn him into mincemeat if he doesn't give it up.

A third party after the package is Elke Sommer, who tries other methods of persuasion.

THE PACKAGE contains a medallion which is the key to the hiding place of an ancient Oriental treasure. Also seeking it is the local police chief (Werner Peters) who is fat, bearded, amiable and corrupt.

Other standard-type people for this sort of thing is the mysterious, evil but beautiful woman (Nancy Kwan) who heads a gang of Oriental thugs, and the tough, nasty gambler (Christian Marquand) who heads a group of Occidental thugs.

Stack gets bounced around from one group to the other, fights with the strength of 10, always manages to escape.

"THE CORRUPT ONES" has been handsomely photographed in Macao and Hong Kong plus the reconstruction of a Macao street in West Berlin.

James Hill, who directed "Born Free" and "A Study in Terror," handles this movie in whiz-bang style.

He keeps it up for nine-tenths of the way, runs out of steam at the end. With so many ways of ending this, the writer conceived a silly, anti-climactic conclusion dragged in from left field.