The Face of Fu Manchu

Starring: Christopher Lee, Nigel Green and James Robertson Justice
Momentum Pictures
RRP: 12.99
Certificate: PG
Available now

At the end of the last film he said the world would hear again from Fu Manchu and, unfortunately, it was no idle threat. So what could possibly be the latest wicked and abominable scheme to originate from the Chinese mastermind we all love to hate? Apparently, he plans to bore the world into submission by subjecting the masses to an inane and pretty much pointless sequel. Only joking... I think. No, really the Chinese chappy embarks on a quest for the lost plot! At the beginning of the film Fu Manchu is beheaded for his crimes to humanity, in front of his arch enemy and all-round good egg, Nayland Smith. But if you can keep your head when all around you lose theirs, you'll discover that the executed man was only an impostor. And there I was hoping for the shortest film in the series yet!

This time he means to cultivate the Blackhill poppy for use as a weapon. To achieve this Fu Manchu continues his fetish for kidnapping professors and their daughters by taking Professor Muller to work on a secret serum previously known only to a religious order of the Himalayas. There's a bust-up at a museum when the Chinaman's henchmen arrive through the sewers to steal the papers which contain the required formula; it's going badly for the meagre security until the stiff upper lip of Assistant Commissioner Nayland Smith of Scotland Yard gives those Chinese a good piece of his mind. Nevertheless, Fu Manchu gets his claws on the papers and forces the professor to produce the dangerous liquid. A single pint of the extract of Blackhill poppy is enough to kill thousands of people. Above freezing it is harmless, but below freezing it proves lethal. That's a happy coincidence for our evil perpetrator whose demonstration of power, the town of Fleetwick, is suffering from a particularly cold spell. As a result, 3000 inhabitants and soldiers are killed. Fu Manchu then turns his attention further afield, and only Nayland Smith can stop him. Someone fetch that man a cape.

The main four or five characters return yet again for more set piece shenanigans. This is at best mediocre stuff. I think the oriental's masterplan is about to be revealed: he means to wear down us hardworking reviewers. After only three of these films, I'm hoping the world will see rather less of Fu Manchu.

Ty Power

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