James Band 007 (Review)

James Band 007

Directed by ???

James Bond ripoffs seem to exists in every culture’s movie repartee. Some countries churn out dozens of them, especially during the boom years of the 1960s and 1970s. So it is only fitting the comedians get in on the act. Spy spoof films also seem to show up in every country. Spy films are a genre ripe for spoofing, because they are usually freaking ridiculous on their lonesome. James Bond even approached self-parody with cheesy ridiculous entries like Moonraker. So it comes to no surprise that we have a Thai James Bond spoof. The surprise is the film has survived to the point of hitting VCD, which pretty much means we will have at least a low-res version of it forever. Hooray for low-grade film archiving.

Now, I originally got this film off the eThaicd website as a whim, looking for something to fill the order up enough. I didn’t expect this to be anything special, I didn’t even expect it to be a comedy. I was surprised when I opened the package and looked through my vcds, just to notice that the cover to this one included a tiny C-3PO and R2-D2 at the bottom of the film poster. I expected that I would scan in the VCD cover, make a joke about how I liked those droids and couldn’t wait to see them, then get all mad when they never showed up. But the movie punked me. Because…C-3PO and R2-D2 are in this movie! Seriously! Sure, generic Thai knockoffs, but it is them and that is who they are supposed to be! It is one of the most awesome movie discovery I have made. Of course, I included clips of the droids in action. Just stay put. I did some research on the cast, since the only thing written in English about James Band 007 is the order page on the eThaicd website.

James Band (Thep Tienchai) – A bike cabbie who takes over the mantle of James Bond when he is killed in his taxi. Thep Tienchai gained fame in the 1970s using his bad looks and missing teeth in his comedy act, but he has since passed on. He can also be seen in the films Pher Jorm Pern, Tah Tien, and Yod Manood Computer (where snot flows from his nose.)
The Villain (Lor Tok) – The Villain of the piece (I never caught his name) is evil and wants to destroy the world. He has robot goons, and lots of henchmen. Lor Tok was born Sawong Supsamruay, and eventually became one of the greatest comedic actors in Thai cinema. His film debut was in 1933 in Wan Chakayan. Among his over 1000 films roles he starred in the comedy horror Dracula Tok, which had a cartoon series based on it after his 2002 death. He established his own production company in 1969 called Tok Boom Parpayon.
Contact (???) – The contact James Bond was supposed to meet and James Band now meets instead. She may be named Pani Ka. Incredibly thin. Not afraid to tromp around in a bikini.
Thai Moneypenny (???) – James Bond means lots of hot chicks, so of course one of them will work for the secret agency that James Bond works for. Thus we dub her Thai Moneypenny because we didn’t catch her real name. The actress seems very prolific, I have spotted her on several posters.
Thai M (???) – The Thai M heads the secret agency that the James Bond of Thailand works for. His agency is so powerful that some random rickshaw guy saves the day.
James Bond (???) – Thailand has their own James Bond, except he isn’t very good at dodging assassin’s bullets and ends up becoming 00Dead. Luckily, James Band takes over!
A2B (???) – The C-3Po droid of our evil Villain. Gold skin, evil laugh, short temper, he is every bit the C-3PO we all know and love.
A2A (???) – The R2-D2 droid of our evil Villain. I believe his name is A2A, but I am not sure so don’t yell at me for my less than fluent Thai. A2A likes to peep, and argues with A2B about everything. Their battles can get violent. A2A is made out of a bunch of vents, filters, and gauges.

We also have one more actor I recognized, this time from those terrible Catman films! (Catman in Lethal Track and Catman in Boxers Blow) Yes, the Bald Guy who was in both of them as thugs (the movies that were Thai action films before they were cut up and redubbed to be Catman films) also shows up in James Band 007 as a thug! I have searched all over for this guy’s name, and I found it. In Thai. With no English translation. And the webpage I found it on I bookmarked on a computer now in storage, and try as I might I can’t find it again. So, shine on, cool Bald Guy. Maybe one day I will learn your name in English. He may show up again on this site, as I think he is also in H-Bomb, a Eurospy movie filmed partially in Thailand. Again, playing a thug. If anyone has some more information about the players in this film, please drop me a line. Even if you write me in Thai, I’ll just go to a Thai restaurant and give the waiter a tip or something. UPDATE: I have found this dude’s name, it’s Pipop Pupinyo! Huzzah!

We begin with 1970s music stolen from something, as a group of men ambush and kill a guy. These ambushers! Always killing random dudes. Now, James Band kicks it up a notch! There is hot tub/bathtub loving, sort of, and our agent James Bond gets a call on watch phone by Thai Moneypenny. It is back to work for James Bond. Bond is dressed in a tuxedo now (why not?) and comes in to talk with the Thai M as the James Bond theme plays in the background. I think the James Bond theme is the most stolen piece of music in the world. James has his new mission, but I don’t know exactly what it is because they are all speaking Thai. Don’t they know some American will be watching their film thirty years later?

James Band is harassed on the beach by his two “friends” because he is ugly and that is what friends do. Friends suck. Bond arrives in town by bus (Bus??? This secret agent Goes Greyhound?) and Bond looks to hire Band for a ride. James Band drives a bike cab, I probably should have mentioned that but now it is too late. Oh, well.

Bond is killed! By a sniper! Oh, no! Movie over. Let’s go home…oh, wait. Bond tells Band to take care of his suitcase.

Opening theme! We got that gun barrel thing from the Bond films, dancing girls, theme music, and Thep Tienchai as James Band goofing off for the camera. Back in the movie’s actual plot, suitcase is filled with weird stuff and a gun. Band is also in a tux for some reason, and is staying at Bond’s room at the hotel. A girl in hotel has a picture of Bond, sees Band instead, and calls the base. I have no clue what her name is, so she will be Contact, because I think she was the contact. Or maybe she is obsessed with Contact paper for lining your shelves. There is also another girl drinking tea in the lounge as Band walks by, she is the girl from the hot tub with Bond. She is also nameless, so is now Hot Tub Girl. Hot Tub Girl tries to get his attention, but Band is too clueless to understand. He returns to his room and falls prey to a trap he set, knocking himself out while trying to scare a guy who had broken into his room. Band is revived by Hot Tub Girl, who demands cash for her actions. So he gives her some.

The hotel poolside is set to an instrumental of Janis Ian’s At Seventeen. Contact is also by the pool, in a bikini. She has a nice body and the movie isn’t shy about showing it off. Contact and Band talk, but they are interrupted when he recognizes the thief from his room and chases him a bit, but loses him.

Thai M and Thai Moneypenny are talking when the radio gives a broadcast of someone evil gloating and threatening them. He is our evil mastermind, The Villain! I didn’t catch his name, and it isn’t that important. James Band sees Contact at the pool and starts a conversation, while later The Villain is broadcasting more demands to the governments of the world. We se him in his lair, and there are two other people there. Two robots. They look like…could it be…

R2-D2 and C-3PO!!!!!!!!!!

Beep beep, back the truck up, James Band 007 has just become one of the most awesome films of all time! Yes, there are Thai versions of R2-D2 and C-3PO running around at The Villain’s secret base, made in low-budgets style. You can see they are made of random gauges and filters glued into costumes. But it is cool, and unexpected. The droids show up a lot later in the film. This film shows you that if you are some weirdo who builds Star Wars robots in your basement, you can one day be a tyrannical super-villain and threaten the world. During the threats of The Villain, C-3PO (A2B is his Thai name) laughs with a heavy “Heh heh heh!” So it is evil C-3PO!

The Secret Agency call James Band by his watch phone and convince him to help them save the world. James Band will do it, because he is a decent guy.

More patented Thai movie magic happens as someone off camera holds up a model of a rocket launcher, wiggles it around a bit, then electric rays are cartooned out of it to make it look like it is firing a laser beam that blasts stock footage of an airliner, which explodes in cartoon flames! Rock!

More shenanigans at the hotel pool with Band and Contact, it looks like they didn’t bother to close the pool while filming as there are several old white guys looking at the camera and actors as it happens. Weird. These guys are pasty and need to be wearing more clothes. Ew! Band sees one of the snipers that killed Bond at the pool and chases after, but he falls inside the house and a potted plant falls on his head, so he is knocked out and captured. The guy he followed is beat up for being so stupid and letting someone follow him home. There is a big group of thugs, I recognize the big bald guy from the two Catman movies (as mentioned above) and there are probably a few other crossovers I didn’t spot.

James Band manages to get untied by a less than smart guard when he promises to fix the air condition. Instead, he shocks the guard and knocks out another guard, then escapes. Back at the hotel, James Band is then beaten up by Thai Moneypenny, who thinks he did something to James Bond. She finally realizes that Bond is dead, and the instrumental music in the background is Nobody Does It Better… Huh. I can’t really come up with a good joke here on that, I am just waiting for the droids to resurface.

We return to Wackytown as James Band uses scuba gear to sneak around the enemy base. He is wearing frogman gear, except the helmet is a giant frog head that keeps croaking! It makes a ton of noise despite Band’s efforts to quiet it, attracting the attention of guards that Band must beat up. Eventually the ribbiting helmet is buried under a pile of rocks. Oh, those wacky frog helmets!

I want a frog helmet.

We switch to disk 2 of the vcd, and while disk 1 had a few tiny spots on it from the transcoding that were permanently on the screen, disk 2 has two very distracting white blurs in the middle of the screen! Gah! They will slowly move as the movie progresses, like maybe the sun was shining on the equipment and slowly moved across it. In any event, it is annoying and I hate it. Die, white blurs! I will kill you dead. With my white blur gun. That’s in the car. Hold on…

We get a disco version of the Superman Theme as Band runs into Contact (in bikini and snorkel goggles) on the beach. They are then swarmed by a bunch of thugs. They are beaten up, but then are saved by Moneypenny, who shouts that the men are surrounded, they are fooled into dropping their weapons and Band and Contact pick them up. They just leave the bad guys on the beach and run off.

Return of the droids! We are back in the underground lair of The Villain, who is being visited by The Villain’s Girl. All these evil masterminds have a hot chick hanging around, and this guy is no different. The Villain’s Girl brings him some drinks, and doesn’t seem to fond of the two droids, dismissing what they say. The Villain calls in a masked henchman and gives some orders and radios some more threats out. All this guy does is assassinate agents and use his Ham Radio making threats. If he wasn’t killing agents, he would just be a normal Talk Radio host!

Moneypenny gets captured, so James Band strolls out to the theme of The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly to fight the goons, and the music switches to other western themes as the fight continues. Contact also helps by bashing a few of the goons with a 2×4. Band ends up fighting the big Bald Goon, which goes on for a while until a giant weight is dropped on the Bald Goon’s head. Wow, a brutal killing for a comedy film. During the chaos, some goons slipped off with the captive Moneypenny and took her to the hideout on an island fortress, so James Band and Contact follow. The Villain watches all of this on his Interocetor (from This Island Earth) and James Band and Contact are captured…by goons wearing masks!

Masked goons, this film just earned an extra point of awesome!

Band and Contact are hung up by chains in the same room as Moneypenny. The Villain, his girl, and the droids come in to gloat about how cool they are. The taunting scene goes on for a long time, including such gems as finding the communications watch, and The Villain’s Girl getting upset over something.

They go back to the command center of the underground lair, and the two droids have a conversation that quickly turns to a large argument. The Villain’s Girl returns to her room where we get some implied nudity. R2-D2 walks in on her changing into a bikini. Peeping droids. In the future, all droids will be perverts. The Villain’s Girl visits The Villain for a makeout session, while R2-D2 listens at the door. This droid is getting pretty creepy.

After the makeout, The Villain’s Girl goes and lets Band down from his chains and takes him back to her room. The guards let her do this. Then they decide to cause trouble with her, only Band then beats up all the guards. He shoots his way to where the two other girls are held, but by now the alarms have gone off. More guards arrive, in masks, and James Band guns down many of them. Some of what he does is pretty funny. It is humorous. Humor in this humorous movie, who would have thunk it?

The droids begin to argue again, and this time it turns physical. Robot Wars is not just a TV show, it is happening right here in this movie! The droid fight smashes computers in the command center, and soon the place is on fire and ready to explode! The machines that rage against the other machine end up destroying innocent machines! That’s a lot of rage and machines. And destruction. The Villain escapes, while The Villain’s Girl gets shot, because the villain’s girl always dies in these movies. Band, Contact, and Moneypenny escape, and manage to pick up James Bond’s girlfriend Hot Tub Girl as well who was hanging out just outside the secret lair. Band is now on a lifeboat with the three girls while beat up stock footage of explosions are shown, probably meant to be the secret lair, because secret lairs always explode. Don’t you know? Thus, James Band’s adventures come to an end, floating on a life raft with three chicks. I can think of worse ways to go out.
James Band 007
Ridiculous, but I love it. Who needs to know what is going on when you have the Star Wars droids bating each other up!

Rated 7/10 (Evil girl, communicator watch, blast that plane!, exploder, Mickey’s cameo, Captured again, masked goons are the best goons!)

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2 thoughts on “James Band 007 (Review)

  1. The beginning 70’s music that starts the James Band film is the theme to the movie SHAFT! Just got my eThaiCD VCD. Found out about this film because I collect Thai movie posters and have the very cool original poster.

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