Another so-so effort from a not especially interesting series
13 June 2018
The ultra-prolific Christopher Lee managed to find time in the 60's to appear in a series of films based around the Chinese master criminal Fu Manchu. I have seen all of them aside from The Vengeance of Fu Manchu (1967) and have to say that I have found them to be a disappointingly dull series of movies. In fact, the only one I actually enjoyed was the Jess Franco directed entry The Castle of Fu Manchu (1969), which seems to have the reputation as the worst but which I inexplicably found to be the best! This no doubt says more about me than anything but there you go. Anyway, The Face of Fu Manchu seems to have been the one which got the ball rolling and could therefore be considered the template entry of the 60's strand of these films. It opens in China where we witness Fu Manchu being executed. Needless to say he re-appears later on (was anyone really surprised about this) and captures a scientist and his daughter, he uses the latter to coerce the former into developing a deadly poisonous gas which he intends to use to nefarious effect in the UK. And somehow this will lead on to him ruling the world or something.

The production values here are not too bad for a low budget effort. The period detail sort of hides the cheapness to some extent even if it still sort of feels like it's really the 60's more than the 20's in this one. The main issue though is that it is all just a little too routine and by-the-numbers. Nothing surprising ever really happens and it does become increasingly tedious as it progresses. It's still one of the better 60's Fu Manchu movies though, although given the less than stellar competition I don't think this can be taken as a fully endorsed recommendation.
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