Modesty Blaise: Double Feature!

Image from listal.
It's really only fair that Modesty Blaise follows James Bond (with a little Haywire in between--I got a little too excited about that movie and prematurely reviewaculated), as she is the 007 of women. She's the women every man wants and every woman wants to be. I mean...you know. James Bond with tits and a bad acid trip. The thing about Modesty Blaise is that it's your quintessential 60s movie. You have to go in knowing that or else you might squawk in surprise for the first half of the film like a violated chicken. Everything is weird and nothing makes sense, but you leave with the vague impression that you've been smacked in the face with an Andy Warhol.

I'm pretty sure there was a plot. Something about Modesty Blaise, the government spy type, being doubled crossed by...someone. I'm also pretty sure I zoned out halfway through, so I'm sure there was a little more to the plot than that. But the fact that my attention fizzled and died says it all, really. Credit where credit is due--Modesty Blaise packs some punches. Naturally, her biggest asset as a spy is her pretty smile and her way to charm everyone she meets (really. Everyone. She even has a small army of stereotypical arabs in her pocket). But the really wild thing about her is she's not afraid to kill. With a smile. Which is honestly a little chilling, because she's more or less what Audrey Hepburn would look like if she went M16. Now imagine Holy Go-fuckin'-lightly pulling a Patrick Bateman at the end of Breakfast at Tiffany's and you catch my drift. As for the actors themselves, Monica Vitta plays Modesty Blaise and does a good job of it. The only other one really worth mentioning is Terence Stamp, who plays her platonic (question mark?) partner in crime. I have a large soft spot for Terence Stamp, which is weird because he doesn't actually have a very large claim to fame, but he's always done good in my book.

But what this movie really has to offer is atmosphere. In bucketfuls. I don't know what was more colorful in this movie--the characters or the wallpaper. The outfits would have made David Bowie blush, the set design is trippy as hell, and the props are quite literally out of this world. And did I mention there are musical numbers? It couldn't get campier if two unicorns were having sex on a rainbow. Lady Gaga, eat your heart out.

In short, it's a great movie to have in the background while you have the pot smoke burning and the lava lamps glowing. As a cinematic story, I'm not sure it actually holds up. But it's visually amazing, generally good fun, and has a couple ridiculous musical numbers if that's your kind of thing.

Image from www.blurayvn.com.
So, for reasons unbeknownst to...just about everyone in the modern world, for some reason, we've decided to pull Miss Modesty Blaise out of retirement. I have a vague suspicion that it might have something to do with the fact that Quentin Tarantino produced it. My Name Is Modesty has very little do with the original movie. We've picked up the pace, we've cut down on the flash, and we've modernized it. A shit ton. 

My Name Is Modesty follows Modesty Blaise, who now works in a casino. Which is all well and fine. Until, of course, a group of criminals come to collect what's theirs at the casino and find one very challenging roadblock in their way--Modesty Blaise. The only one who can let them into the vault. And so begins a long night of a cat and mouse game between Modesty Blaise and her captors. On a bet, she ends up telling them her history in entirety. It's really an origins story for Modesty Blaise, splashed with the nice tense background of a hold up at a casino. 

Modesty and the 7th Dwarf.
Modesty Blaise is played by Alexandra Staden, who comes across as a sleek, manipulative woman, always in control of herself and those around her. She has an edge of morbid humor and an uncanny ability to stare her attackers in the eye, even when they have a gun pointed at her. In short, she's a badass, but subtly so. In the other corner, we have the thief, Miklos, played by Nikolaj Coster-Waldau. If that name sounds familiar, you've been watching too much Game Of Thrones. Yes, Modesty is a badass, but this guy really steals the movie. He's sadistic, but in that way that taps into the campy, B-movie spirit of the film. He's smarmy, but at the same time very human. He's used to being in control when he has a gun in his hand, and it's a lot of fun watching him trying to figure out how to psych out Modesty, who is unshakable. 

Her origins story itself is a lot of fun. It has everything you could want from it--the wise old mentor, the young rebel girl, the story of these two surviving against the odds. Despite the fact that there's only really one fight scene at the end, the movie moves along at a clip pace and keeps you engaged. It helps that it runs a neat 77 minutes and is on instant play on Netflix. If you need a good rainy day movie or have an hour to kill, My Name Is Modesty is good, solid, B-movie fun. 


  1. "Couldn't get campier if two unicorns were having sex on rainbow." ROTFLMAO!!! I love your imagery. I'm going to have to give these whirl just because of your highly unique descriptions.

  2. Muhahaha! I'm glad you enjoyed that bit! It's certainly interesting. I still don't quite know what to make of it. But if you see either of them, I might just skip the first one and go straight for My Name Is Modesty. Genuine, good, B-movie stuff. And a little more updated.

  3. I've heard mixed things about MODESTY BLAISE but the fact that it has musical numbers now makes me want to see it even if its script isn't great!

  4. I actually think you'd like it--if you dig the retro stuff, you'd dig this one. Ridiculous musical numbers and all. It's a fun movie, that's for sure!


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