Saturday, December 5, 2009

I love you, Joe Walker

In some ways, 2009 has been a shitty year. First we lost Feroz Khan and now I learn, by way of Michael Barnum's Pedro (The Ape Bomb) Blog, that Italian actor Tony Kendall -- aka Luciano Stella -- passed away just last week.

Kendall starred in numerous European genre pictures throughout the 60s and 70s, but is probably most well known for his role as detective Joe Walker in the Kommissar X movies, a series of Eurospy films that set themselves apart from the pack by the degree to which they so enjoyably reveled in their own ridiculousness. Kendall's Joe Walker took the smug sexual entitlement of the typical 1960s screen secret agent and turned it up to 11, resulting in him being, as I described in a review of one of the films, a man who, "if he existed in the real world, would be enveloped in a perpetual cloud of mace".

As offensive as this may sound, what was amazing is how easily, with repeated exposure, you could warm to the character, and soon find yourself going along just to hear his next cringe-worthy double entendre or excruciating pick-up line. Of course, Joe Walker also performed all of the other expected duties of a 60s movie superspy and, in doing so, combated hooded master criminals and their armies of uniformed minions with a preposterous level of smirking unflappability that just made the self-parody that much more delicious, while at the same time not cheating us in the least out of the thrills

I think it's fair to say that Joe Walker, like Feroz Khan, is one of Teleport City's patron saints and, because of that, we've done a pretty good job of covering his exploits. To read some of our reviews of the Kommissar X films, go here. In the meantime, enjoy the following clip of Joe Walker in action. It's in German, but since Walker speaks the international language of awesome, that should be no hindrance.

Thanks for the magic, Tony. You'll be missed.


Prof. Grewbeard said...

that's pretty awesome, all right...

Dave g said...

Paul Naschy's gone, too.