With the success of Kriminal in 1966, it was only natural that a second film be made and thus was born Il marchio di Kriminal or The Mark of Kriminal. Glenn Saxson returns to play the dashing rogue, a cross between hero and villain, though nothing he does is heroic in the slightest. The makers of this film cement that with one of the very first scenes in the movie as the man breaks into an old woman’s bedroom causing her to have a heart attack, Kriminal just standing by and watching it happen and only checking to see if she was truly dead. It is this coldheartedness that makes one detest the man, but he has so much charm and charisma that it becomes hard to keep those feelings at the forefront.
The murder of the old woman sets off a chain of events that sets Kriminal upon his path in this movie, the finding of a map hidden within a number of Buddha statues. It looks to lead to a treasure-trove of valuable paintings and Kriminal means to have them no matter the cost. Returning with Saxson is Helga Liné, as enchanting and beautiful as ever and thinking that she can get the better of Kriminal where others have failed. Also rounding out the cast is Andrea Bosic who returns as the Scotland Yard inspector who means to catch Kriminal once and for all, even if it means putting off his wedding and possibly losing his bride over his obsession. Though they do not interact in this film whatsoever, it is a lot of fun to see the Inspector try and keep up with Kriminal who is always five steps ahead, at least for the most part. What is quite interesting with this movie, much like the last one, is seeing just how devious and conniving the women are that Kriminal manages to run into. Sadly for them, Kriminal is always thinking and always planning and no matter how hard anybody tries, he never fails to get the better of them, after he is finished with them of course.
Directed by Fernando Cerchio and the uncredited Nando Cicero, the film looks slick with a great pop-art feel, little bits of comic panels interspersed throughout to break up the various scenes. While it sets the film apart from others of its ilk, it also tends to cement the movie in the year of its release, which in the end is not a bad thing as this Euro-Spy thriller never disappoints. New to the film is Manuel Parada who provides a great score to keep things moving and there is enough action and an unbelievable ending to delight any fan. Given that final scene though, it does make a person wonder if what was seen was actually real or did Kriminal think up a last minute plan to save himself?
Overall, this was a fun entry in the series and sadly the final one as well. It was perhaps just a little more enjoyable than the first picture by Umberto Lenzi, but only because Saxson seemed a little more at home in the role now that he knew what was expected of him. Filled with beautiful people, stunning locales and a fair bit of excitement, The Mark of Kriminal delivered on every front and it should have led to a third outing, but be that as it may, two will have to suffice.
4 out of 5