Danger 5 je suluda ovogodišnja australska serija o Drugom svjetskom ratu kao da se dogodio '60-ih, u kojoj apsurdni superšpijuni pokušavaju ubiti Hitlera. U tom nadrealnom šund-svijetu nacistički zeppelin otima Eiffelov toranj a nacistički dinosauri i čudovišta masakriraju savezničke trupe koje poslije spontano prihvaćaju nacističku ideologiju. Tu je negdje naravno i Atlantida.
Ista je ekipa napravila i Italian Spiderman, parodiju talijanskih akcijskih trash filmova iz '60-ih i '70-ih.
Mozak obaju projekata, Dario Russo, u svojim je ranim dvadeetima!! Totalni medijski kratki spoj: internetska generacija tumači povijest posredstvom filma i televizije '60-ih.
It’s World War II and there’s nothing Hitler won’t do to take over the world! Dinosaur men! Love potions! Giant robots! And all that stands in his way are the intrepid forces of the DANGER 5!
Full DescriptionIt’s World War II and the forces of Goodness and Right are in a pickle. Hitler is on the rise and the little Fuhrer’s deviousness knows no bounds. There is no scheme too outlandish, no plan too far-fetched. No, he means to rule the world and if stealing international landmarks will help him do it, then that’s what he’s going to do. Radio controlled dinosaurs? Of course! Solid gold weaponry? Sterling!
All that stands between Hitler and total world domination are the intrepid forces of DANGER 5. A collection of the free world’s top secret agents, DANGER 5 unite for one simple task: To kill Hitler. And they’ll go to the ends of the earth to do it. From Australia: Tucker. From England: Claire. From Russia: Ilsa. From France: Pierre. And from the USA: Jackson. Together they will put an end to Hitler’s nefarious schemes.
From the demented minds of Dario Russo and David Ashby – who also plays Jackson – DANGER 5 is a hilarious spin on THUNDERBIRDS-style spy adventures. There is no mission too dangerous, no plan too outlandish for this team.
Director Russo’s love for the period DANGER 5 recreates is matched only by his astounding ability to actually recreate it, the series executed so flawlessly using period techniques ranging from miniatures and matte paintings to models and prosthetics that it could very nearly be an artifact from the time rather than a recreation. Only the slyly deconstructionist sense of humor gives the ruse away. DANGER 5 originally aired as a six part television series in Australia. Fantastic Fest is proud to present all six parts in a single, uninterrupted orgy of dinosaur-headed excess (Todd Brown).
"The Diamond Girls - Prequel Episode aired on YouTube"
Deep in Nazi Germany, Jackson, Pierre and Tucker have been working undercover in Adolf Hitler’s favourite bar, the Black Dog, waiting for the perfect chance to knock off the big man, and end the Second World War. Things get complicated when Hitler turns up with a posse of bullet-proof She-Nazis who prove too formidable for even these three seasoned spies. After bungling the assassination attempt, Allied Command give the boys a little extra motivation in the form of two beautiful newcomers, Ilsa and Claire. Jackson, Pierre and Tucker will have to join forces with their reluctant new comrades to form Danger 5 so that they can succeed in their ultimate goal; to kill Adolf Hitler. On their first mission together, Danger 5 discover that Hermann Goring and the Nazis have been stealing the world’s supply of a rare black diamond known as Carbonado, thought to be behind the She-Nazis.
"I Danced For Hitler"
A team of Nazi zeppelins abduct the Eiffel Tower and Danger 5 heads straight to Paris to investigate. The team find help from an all-girl team of resistance vixens, but their plans are swiftly hampered by a Nazi task force raid. Ilsa and Claire are taken to a torture dungeon where Josef Goebbels recruits them as part of his dance troupe for Hitler’s birthday spectacular. Tucker and Pierre follow the girls to Hitler’s private retreat, the Eagle’s Nest, and try to mount a rescue mission. Meanwhile Jackson tries to stop the Nazis from stealing the Statue of Liberty.
"Lizard Soldiers Of The Third Reich"
American GIs are being decimated by Nazi dinosaurs all over the Western front. Danger 5 heads to Belgium to investigate and has a series of close shaves with a trigger-happy Triceratops and a perverted Nazi Pterodactyl. Claire discovers that the dinosaurs have all been implanted with a mysterious type of crystal, native to Antarctica and Danger 5 embark on a journey to the South Pole. Antarctica proves to be a lost plateau of prehistoric wonder where Danger 5 encounter the bizarre Dr Josef Mengele and his sinister volcano base filled with Nazi dinosaur minions.
"Kill-Men Of The Rising Sun"
Allied Air Support surrounding China is being thrashed by Japanese Zero fighters piloted by robot super soldiers and, to make matters worse, Japan itself has completely vanished from the map. Danger 5 sets off in their Danger Fighters to give the Japanese some healthy competition. The Japanese robo-pilots prove to be too formidable even for the Danger 5 team, who are shot out of the sky. After bailing from their damaged aircraft, Ilsa and Tucker find themselves in a mysterious spa-resort while Claire, Jackson and Pierre land amongst the insalubrious surrounds of General Chang’s Burmese Opium Pagoda. Danger 5 must reunite and locate Japan and put a stop to the every growing army of Japanese, Nazi robot soldiers.
"Hitler's Golden Murder Palace"
An Allied Agent has uncovered strange happenings at a Nazi-owned casino in West Africa where Hitler is rumoured to be located. After the agent goes missing under mysterious circumstances, Danger 5 is sent into Waheed Al-Quarn to smoke Hitler out of his African cash-hole. Things get complicated when Tucker is captured by Italian Submariners and Ilsa bumps into her ex-husband, Erwin Rommel, The Desert Fox.
"Fresh Meat For Hitler's Sex Kitchen"
Allied troops throughout Europe are spontaneously turning Nazi. Danger 5 are sent to connect with Field Marshall Jenkins as he travels out of Switzerland by train after a weekend of R and R at Switzerland’s top brothel ‘The Palomino’. Jenkins’ entire platoon has recently turned Nazi and Allied Command want him home safe before Jenkins can be turned too. Things turn pear-shaped on the train when Jenkins starts babbling Kraut-speak and has to be put out of his misery. Ilsa and Jackson knock off Reinhard Heydrich, a would-be Nazi jewel thief, in the drinks cart and accept a belt of whisky from a British spy who is not who he claims to be, buying them a one way ticket to Hitler’s dungeon of occult perversions.
Series finale. The world is under attack from invincible, giant Nazi monsters and Allied Command are ready to surrender, when out of the blue they receive a strange telegram from a man called Gibraltar, who claims to be from the lost city of Atlantis. Gibraltar claims that the Atlanteans have developed a weapon powerful enough to destroy the Nazi monsters and all they require is some refined uranium to complete the device. On their way to deliver the uranium to Atlantis in the Danger Submarine, Danger 5 comes under attack from perils of the deep, resulting in Jackson and Claire being separated from the team, feared dead. Ilsa, Pierre and Tucker reach the strange sanctuary of Atlantis and deliver the uranium, however, Gibraltar is not as friendly as he appears to be.
Five spies all Reich now
How a viral video hit evolved into a
YOU tell people the basic premise, Dario Russo says,
''and they pretty much get it: five spies trying to kill Hitler.'' But there's
a lot more that comes with the territory in Danger 5, a new
Australian-made live-action, half-hour comedy-adventure series set in a Third
Reich-meets-Thunderbirds-meets Goldfinger world of espionage,
gadgets and fiendish schemes for world domination.
It's an alternative World War II universe, a deadpan
science fiction, spy and '60s mash-up. Some elements are familiar - you'll see
Himmler, Heydrich and Hirohito but you'll also come across dinosaurs, robot
super-pilots and the lost world of Atlantis.
The Danger 5 set out to combat Hitler using little but
a comic '60s sensibility.
The Danger 5 crew are an
international band of trouble-shooters. There's the sultry Ilsa (Natasa
Ristic), who speaks subtitled Russian throughout; no-nonsense English rose
Claire (Amanda Simons); uptight Aussie Tucker (Sean James Murphy); volatile
Yank Jackson (David Ashby) and debonair, cocktail-mixing Frenchman Pierre (Aldo
Their mission, each episode, is to foil the latest
fiendish Nazi scheme - whether it involves gold-plated superweapons, occult
brothels, pterodactyls or Antarctic death arenas - and, if possible, kill
Unresolved sexual tension comes into play, old allies
turn out to be enemies, dying words often come in the form of cocktail recipes.
Each week, somehow, disaster is averted but the Fuhrer gets away.
Danger 5 is the creation of Dario
Russo and David Ashby, both in their 20s, from Adelaide whose previous work was
a university project-turned-viral video hit called Italian Spiderman.
They met in year 11 through a mutual friend and
started working on each other's productions. They shared a love of 1960s and
'80s movies and music of the past. Russo was always making short films; Ashby
was an avid animator. Then Russo went on to study screen production at Flinders
University and for one of his third-year assignments they joined forces to make
a trailer for a fictional 1960s movie, in which Ashby played an overweight
After Italian Spiderman became a YouTube
phenomenon, they discovered that there was a demand for more. They found
institutional interest and government funding. The South Australian Film
Corporation gave them $9500 to make more episodes to post online. They flew to
Sydney to talk to SBS, Russo says, about ''some sort of interstitial TV series
that would build what was already on the internet''.
They received a letter of offer from SBS but ownership
and copyright issues involving three other people they worked with meant the Italian
Spiderman project was eventually dropped.
Russo and Ashby were offered a separate development
deal, which was, Ashby says, in essence, ''here's some money, come up with
three ideas and we'll make one of them''. They returned to SBS with three detailed
concepts they would have been happy to make: Danger 5 was, they say, the
most ambitious and dense and the only one with a 1960s aesthetic.
No matter how far-fetched the premise might be, Russo
says, the starting point generally had a basis in fact, ''in something the
Nazis did do. But it's a very perverted interpretation.''
At the same time, Ashby adds, they were never going to
incorporate atrocities or concentration camps into the plotline.
They are both aware, they say, that some might find
their take on Hitler offensive but Russo cites Mel Brooks (The Producers),
saying that ''he believes it's everybody's right to portray the Nazis as
idiotically as possible … to make fun of them''.
They drew on all kinds of sources to bring the sleek,
stylised world of Danger 5 to life, to find the right tone and look and
the best way to make use of production design, puppets and miniatures: they
were aiming, Ashby says, for cool rather than funny. They had, he adds, ''a Star
Wars number of characters'' - about 100, including extras. SBS had approval
rights on the major roles but also recognised that the ''found actor''
phenomenon was part of the flavour.
Family and friends are in the mix: Hitler, for
example, is played by Russo's teacher father, Carmine. Legendary Australian
stunt veteran Grant Page was on hand for action sequences and gun battles.
The pair have plenty of other ideas, Russo says, ''but
there will be a period of conceptual turnaround before we launch into the next
If their creative relationship ever goes sour, they
both say, it will almost certainly be over music: it's the only thing they
quarrel about, according to Russo. ''The significance of the rimshot in bossa
nova - we've had a 45-minute debate-slash-argument about that.'' - Philippa Hawker
Danger 5: find them online, bring them to the TV screen
Dario Russo got millions of hits online with his Italian Spider-Man. He told Miguel Gonzalez how he’s going to bring that existing audience to his new TV show, Danger 5.
When Dario Russo first conceived Italian Spider-Man – a parody of Italian action films of the 70s – as a short film for his final year at Flinders University and uploaded it to YouTube in late 2007, just as he had done with all his previous work, he did not anticipate that the fake trailer would find a cult following online… but it did.
“It was shot on a JVC prosumer HD camera, and it reflected the absolute zero budget we were working on then. It was made essentially with what we could borrow, but for some reason a whole bunch of people decided to watch the trailer,” he said.
The initial success helped Russo secure funding for 10 more shorts, which were also released via YouTube. Soon, Italian Spider-Man had reached 3.5 million views for the trailer, and something between 150,000 to 1m for each of the episodes. SBS wanted to turnItalian Spider-Man into a TV show, but due to internal issues within the production team, the project fell over.
“For me, understanding why it worked was all reverse engineering. We had a product that a lot of people were watching, and we could have potentially made a lot of money from merchandise,” he added.
The broadcaster was still interested in working with Russo, so it offered him and his writing partner David Ashby a development deal for a new show. The result was Danger 5, a comedy set in an alternate world in which World War II is taking place in the 60s, and a group of international spies is on a mission to kill Hitler.
The low-budget series, financed by SBS, the South Australian Film Corporation and the Adelaide Film Festival Investment Fund, is the first created out of South Australia with an entirely local team. Its six episodes, set to debut in the second half of 2011, will be preceded by a prologue, which will premiere at this month’s BigPond Adelaide Film Festival. It will then be split into mini-episodes for online release, to build an audience for the upcoming broadcast. “With Italian Spiderman we learned that you can foster quite a good fan base on the internet. We still have contact with them, so SBS recognised the potential in being able to cultivate your audience online– especially with the type of audience that we want, which is internet users, young people,” explained Russo. “So we designed a prologue episode to be used as an internet series, preceding the rest of the show, to give it a bit more depth and to build a following before it airs on television. The online content is like a smorgasbord of a lot of the stuff that’s going to happen in the series. It also ties ends with Italian Spiderman, because although this is a very different beast, there are many stylistic cues that link in with that project. It’s of a similar ilk. SBS has supported the online component, and it will be a good test to see what
Producer Kate Crosser first met Russo and Ashby when she was working at Adelaide’s Media Resource Centre. The failedItalian Spider-Man TV series was meant to be their first project together, but when that didn’t happen, they decided to collaborate on Danger 5. According to Crosser, the series was conceived based on what an online audience is looking for.
“It was always designed to feed back to that audience. The idea was that we would engage an online audience before it went to a broadcast stage. That’s the starting point; the first time anyone will see these characters will be online,” she explained.
According to Russo, Danger 5 is what he and Ashby “wanted to see on TV”, since they identified segments of the market that aren’t being catered for by Australian broadcasters.
“I don’t necessarily know if what’s been broadcast is a reflection of what people want to see. I can’t pretend to know why; perhaps conservative ways of thinking or financing.
“We wanted something that was entertaining and appealed to our sensibilities and sense of humour. Lots of people our age would really respond to it; your Gen Xs, your Gen Ys will enjoy this kind of program. Australian comedy usually falls within the same spectrum, and there isn’t much local surreal, stylised content.”
Although the feedback from Italian Spider-Man informed Russo that there is an appetite for such content, he knows that there is no guarantee or secret to online success, even if you’ve already had one.
“You can analyse it as much as you like, but with the internet, a huge percentage of success is based on chance. You can’t tell people what to look at or like at the end of the day; you need that spark of interest that can be gathered by a single person posting your video on the right blog, starting a snowball reaction and building a fan base,” explained Russo.
“You can’t manufacture ‘viral’. You can study previous viral successes, and you can design a video or a series for the internet and say you’re creating a ‘viral’ series, but at the end of the day, you can’t guarantee it.”
With Italian Spider-Man, some episodes were featured on YouTube’s main page at some point, generating more views than others. This led Russo to a frustrating realisation about the balance between success and quality.
“Depending on the amount of support you get from whatever platform you’re launching it on, it seemed like the least contributing factor to the popularity of the show was the actual quality of the content. It’s all the other environmental factors if you would!
“Like any other medium, just because a lot of people are watching doesn’t necessarily mean it’s good, and just because it’s good doesn’t mean a lot of people are going to watch it.”
One thing that online audiences do respect, he found, is consistency: “People kept watching it because the quality was the same, and the content was the same.”
Another problem when working online is the narrative limitations of the current formats.
“The internet is very restrictive,” explained Russo. “One of the key elements of making a successful video is finding the format to suit the attention span of the internet viewer. You can’t work outside 3.5 minutes if you’re making episodes for the web; it’s hard to get people to watch them. If you’re trying to make a show, it gets really frustrating trying to write in three-minute chunks, to get a real sense of continuity and a
real narrative going.
“David Ashby and I have been writing concepts that are more suited for longer formats; even Italian Spiderman, when joined together, is 37 minutes long, broken down into pieces that made sense. I wanted to work on a medium where you have more time to tell a story, and to be able to incorporate all your concepts.”
That’s why, even if he has already found success online, Russo still believes in the power of television.
“I don’t have any intention to continue working exclusively for the internet. I respect it and I think it’s a very valuable place to foster a fan base if you can get one, but I enjoy the romance of working on a conventional platform.
“I don’t think TV is going anywhere. SBS are being extremely innovative in the way they’re licensing their content; they use the internet in conjunction with the TV material. They can both coexist very effectively; television will always be an essential platform, incorporating new avenues of distribution to its audience,” he said.
The prologue episode of Danger 5, entitled The Diamond Girls, will premiere at the Bigpond Adelaide Film Festival on February 27, followed by screenings in the Made in SA program on March 1 and 5. It will then be split into six mini-episodes that will be released online; the full series will air on SBS later in 2011.
Review – Danger 5
If you don’t mind a bit of self-indulgence for a paragraph or two, I’d like to hold off talking about the hilarious Danger 5 for just a moment to talk about a particular style of comedy that makes me laugh. This will only take a minute, but it’s such a strangely specific little genre in the world of comedy that I feel it needs to be mentioned. I am an absolute sucker for any comedy, whether it is a sketch or a sitcom or a movie that faithfully recreates a particular style of film or television and then proceeds to poke fun at it. Now, you might say ‘oh you like big broad spoofs’ but no, I do not. Spoofs are fine, but they’re so purposefully wacky they’re not quite what I’m talking about. What I’m talking about is more along the lines of Wet Hot American Summer, a parody of summer camp films but also something else entirely. Now, let me reminisce about The Late Show and the single sketch that I’m sure I’m the only person who finds it the funniest thing the D Generation ever did; and that’s their Snowy mini-series parody.
Now, what I like most about this sketch, which you can easily find on YouTube by typing in words like Late and Show and Snowy, is that it doesn’t just do meta jokes like Rob Sitch complaining they’re attempting an entire drama series without a single Daddo in it, before Andrew Daddo walks into the room and jokes making fun of the costumes and how there’s a modern car in the shot. It does all those things, and I find all of those bits funny, but what I like most of all are the jokes that aren’t really jokes, where they just have characters say lines that could hypothetically be from an actual Snowy-like mini-series, such as when Rob Sitch says “Hydro-electricity, Mac, it gives a lot but it also takes a lot away.” Now, this isn’t funny when you just write it out like that, but there’s just something about a parody that tries to be close to the real thing whilst obviously being a parody of that thing that just gets me. That’s the entire premise to the D-Generation’s admirable failure Funky Squad, and it’s the basis for what makes Danger 5 so damned wonderful.
Danger 5 is a parody of low-budget 60s spy shows that looks like a low-budget 60s spy show whilst obviously being a huge jokey 60s spy show. A painstaking amount of work has gone into making this show look like a badly made show – there’s bad dubbing, there’s the same set which is redecorated to look like yet another bar in yet another country, there’s the clunky cuts and the dodgy acting. By getting all of the little elements right it allows Danger 5 to be so delightfully weird at every turn. This isn’t merely a spy show about a team of five international heroes from the USA, Russia, Britain, Australia and Europe on a mission to kill Hitler; this is a spy show about five international heroes from around the world whose boss is a man with the head of an eagle who sends them on a mission to kill Hitler.
For the most part Danger 5 hits a great balance between gags that work because this is supposed to be a bad spy show and gags that work because it’s never not funny having a bear playing piano at Hitler’s birthday party. This is a show that throws gag after gag at the screen and if one doesn’t work it doesn’t matter because there’s another one seconds away. There is no doubt in my mind that Danger 5 is bound to become a stoner favourite, and while that may sound like a backhanded compliment it’s really not – this is a show that almost demands to be rewatched in case you missed any of the gags and if there’s one group of people dedicated to rewatching strange SBS comedies over and over again until every joke has seeped into their system it’s stoners.
Danger 5 is a really funny show that’s also really weird. It makes me a little sad that because of belt tightening at SBS there is no other scripted drama or comedy series on the horizon for 2012, but it makes me incredibly happy that their one new series for the year will be this one. Thank the heavens for SBS, because without them we would never have been treated to a talking Nazi puppet dog. What’s really great about this show is that it never misses an opportunity to throw a joke out there – even the episode titles are funny (it’s hard to choose my favourite between the upcoming ‘Kill-Men of the Rising Sun’ or ‘Hitler’s Golden Murder Palace’). And as if this episode wasn’t good enough, next week we can expect Nazi dinosaurs, which, as you know, are the worst kind of dinosaurs.
Good, Alright, Bad Or Ugly?
Review – Danger 5 – Episode 2
As much as I loved the first episode of Danger 5 last week even I have to admit that this is a show with a limited premise. Danger 5 is a one joke show and while this second episode still had a good number of laughs in it that one joke is already starting to feel a little strained. I don’t want to get too down on a show that contains this many Nazi dinosaurs, but unless Danger 5 finds a second gear I fear it will run out of steam before the six episodes are over.
This week the Danger 5 team come face to face with some Nazi dinosaurs, which surprisingly look pretty great for claymation dinosaurs specifically designed to look like they belong in a cheap 60s spy show. Tracking the origin of the dinosaurs the team end up in Antarctica which, thanks to the ice walls, has a dense jungle that has remained unchanged from prehistoric times. Jackson, Isla and Claire are soon taken hostage by a Nazi scientist and his dinosaur assistant and forced to compete as gladiators in front of a crowd of cheering Nazi dinosaurs. Meanwhile Tucker and Pierre are taken hostage by some Amazonian women who recruit them to help bring peace with the Ape Men so that together they can fight back against the Nazi dinosaurs. As I suspect will always be the case, writing out the premise for each episode of Danger 5 is half the fun.
There were still lots of laughs to be had this week, whether it was Pierre’s lousy joke after a dinosaur decapitation – “looks like he showed up for the open inspection but… lost his head over the price!” or the running gag of people dying in Pierre’s arms and telling him cocktail recipes. My favourite joke was probably during the team briefing: “an American soldier was eaten by a Nazi dinosaur.” “That’s a Tyrannosaurus Rex!” “No Claire, that’s a Tyrannosaurus Rex, try thinking first before you open your mouth.” The episode started strongly but kind of faded away as it went on, with the show strangely not finding nearly enough funny things to do with men in dinosaur costumes.
The scenes with the Ape Men at the club did nothing for me whatsoever even though I half liked the idea of the Ape Men band that made musician jokes when faced with any kind of danger. These parts all felt rather flat and lacked any kind of comedic punch – with the exception of the hilarious “hey pal, nobody knows dynamite like Dynamite Adam!” the hyperactive chimp with an endless supply of dynamite. Obviously there’s no real need for any of these stories to make any kind of sense but it seemed like there should have been enough material with just the Nazi scientist controlling dinosaurs, which left the Ape Men and Amazonian Women feeling tacked on – again, this wouldn’t have bothered me if either sequence featured stronger jokes.
As the episode dragged on it highlighted how reliant on weird stuff happening this show is in order to keep things interesting. The scenes with Claire and the evil scientist who wanted to bed her seemed to go on for an awfully long time without anything resembling a joke appearing. Again, I don’t really want to beat up on this promising young series, and it feels strange saying this about a show with Nazi dinosaurs in it, but it needs to be weirder. Last week kept piling oddities into every frame – from a talking dog puppet to a bear playing piano – while this week the episode petered out rather than continuing to up the ante. There were still enough laughs to go around, just not as many as last week, hopefully that all changes next episode when the team are faced with a DISAPPEARING JAPAN.
Good, Alright, Bad Or Ugly?
Review – Danger 5 – Episode 3
We’ve reached the halfway point of Danger 5’s six episode order and I’m a little worried about the show. Each episode has seen a significant drop in the numbers of laughs that can be generated from this material. This is a series that I have an enormous amount of enthusiasm for but this episode was almost completely devoid of jokes. My hope is that the series can find some way to turn this around because this episode reinforced the unfortunate idea that Danger 5 is a single joke show and simply repeating that one joke episode after episode will only generate diminishing returns.
It’s not as thought the joke that Danger 5 is a crazy 60s spy show played mostly straight is a bad idea; it’s just that this episode, unlike the last two, didn’t hang anything extra on top of that joke. This week Danger 5 were again sent out to stop one of Hitler’s elaborate missions. Japan has been kidnapping Allied soldiers and programming them to become robot kill-men who fight for the Axis. The problem for the team is that Japan is going to be hard to locate seeing as though it has DISAPPEARED. As per usual the premise for the episode is a fairly amusing one but an amusing premise can also take you only so far. This is a funny idea for an episode of television but it shouldn’t be the only idea for an episode of television.
The episode wasn’t without the occasional chuckle or two – I found the line “My God, they’re weapon-proof!” pretty amusing – but it just didn’t pop like earlier episodes. The subplot with the lovesick Japanese scientist Hirohito just did not work at all. Beyond the joke that it was obviously a white man (or was that a woman?) playing a Japanese man there just wasn’t enough material to the whole bit and it dragged on for a long time. Hitler kept asking Hirohito if he was alright, but he wasn’t, because he missed his lover, so he killed himself. It was oddly downplayed by this show which usually can’t help but overplay everything. I mentioned last week but I’ll say it again: this show just needs to be weirder. The scenes with Hitler’s weird child sidekick Bonito weren’t hilarious but they were so odd they were a welcome sight in an episode that just didn’t push its premise far enough.
Danger 5 came about thanks to the success of Italian Spiderman, a series of web-videos each no longer than five minutes. I don’t want to pigeonhole Danger 5 as something that should have stayed on the internet because this is exactly the sort of show that I want Australian TV to at least attempt, but this premise wouldn’t have felt this stretched out in five minute bursts. Whatever worked about this show in the first episode is fading away and I don’t think that would be the case if this was a five minute series because the creators would feel the need to cram as much as they could into that short running time. With twenty-minutes to play around with Danger 5 takes its time when what it should be doing is trying to emulate the breakneck pace of an endlessly re-watched YouTube video. This is one of those cases where less isn’t more. Kill-Men Of The Rising Sun really dragged in places and desperately needed some punching up – Danger 5 has shown it can be hilarious when it’s packed full of absurdities but now it’s also shown that if you take all of that away you’re just left with bad dialogue and wacky costumes.
Good, Alright, Bad Or Ugly?
Review – Danger 5 – Episode 4
Episode 4: Hitler’s Golden Murder Palace
This week’s episode of Danger 5 followed the team as they tracked Hitler to a casino where he’d been hiding out creating super-weapons out of gold bars. The team split up with three going after Hitler and the other two wanting to bring down an Italian submarine. It’s easy to forget how clever the plotting is on this show especially when an episode is light on laughs. This week’s instalment was far funnier than last week’s lacklustre effort but it too was largely disappointing. The problem with Danger 5 is that it doesn’t warrant much more than a knowing smile; the plots are clever and the show looks great but there’s just not much more to this series than that.
The biggest thing that holds Danger 5 back from being a solid show is the deliberate choice to focus on a series of one-dimensional characters. The Danger 5 team are a group of cardboard cut-out stereotypes that are meant to be cardboard cut-out stereotypes. These are characters who aren’t supposed to have any depth and aren’t supposed to be taken seriously as characters. The issue with this is that there’s a massive disconnect between the audience and the characters on screen. Danger 5 purposefully keeps you at arm’s length. These characters are simply props and because of that it is impossible to feel any kind of connection with this show on that level. Loving characters or loving to hate characters is one of the base ways an audience engages with a comedy and you simply can’t do that with this show.
To counteract that lack of connection with any of the characters Danger 5 should be laying the jokes on THICK, but for some reason it holds back. Every episode seems to just sporadically toss jokes into the mix and it leaves the whole show feeling flat. This week had some solid gags – Tucker’s karate chop with a timer, “Who needs a gun when you’ve got… imagination!” – but they were few and far between. Danger 5 is such a disappointment because it could really be so much more. It’s obvious that the creators have a good sense of humour and the show really does look like nothing else on television but it constantly feels as though they’re resting on the show’s look and not bothering to push things too far.
As I’ve said before I want this show to be great but it continues to just miss the mark. I understand that these characters are purposefully empty vessels and that would be fine if it worked but it doesn’t. I am constantly forgetting character names and that’s an obvious sign this show isn’t getting through. My notes shouldn’t be cluttered up with things like ‘that guy and the blonde girl’ or ‘Isla and those other two’, and sure, that’s partly my fault but it shows I don’t care enough about any of these characters to commit their names to memory. It’s not that I want to be able to connect with the characters it’s just that if the show isn’t going to fill every frame with gags it needs to do something else to keep people interested. This week’s effort was fine and occasionally funny but these middle episodes have really sagged; with only two episodes left I hope things improve.
Good, Alright, Bad Or Ugly?
Review – Danger 5 – Episode 5
We’re almost at the end of Danger 5’s six episode run and while the series hasn’t been a resounding success it has certainly been an interesting alternative. Take this fifth episode as an example; while I’m not convinced it worked as an episode of comedy, I’m half-convinced it might have worked as an episode of a spy show. Danger 5 has often blurred the line between being a parody of camp spy series and just being a camp spy series itself. If you take away all of the bizarre elements, like humans with animal heads or Swiss women who bleed money, you’ve got a fairly straight forward spy show.
This fifth episode was the most self-assured Danger 5 has been so far in its run. The show appeared to have a new found energy after a couple of dud episodes but what was interesting about that energy is that it wasn’t directed toward making the show funnier. As we edge closer to the finale I’m coming to the conclusion that this is a weird spy show with some jokes and not a comedy about a spy series. Danger 5 seems more concerned about getting the story to work than it does about filling that story with jokes.
This week Hitler’s devious plan involved turning women into blonde Nazi prostitutes who would infect any man they slept with and turn them into Nazis as well. As per usual the gang split up, with Isla and Jackson being taken prisoner and forced to sleep with Nazis and the rest of the gang going undercover to break into the brothel. There’s some funny stuff throughout all of this – “You hit a woman!” “I hit a Nazi!” is a good line no matter what the context – and the show continues to make amusing costume choices. This week we got a sword carrying Swiss entertainment director who had the head of a Tiger, as well as an army of Nazis who all wore shark-faced bags over their heads, which was both creepy and amusing.
This episode made me realize that while Danger 5 may be a crazy take on the spy genre it’s still a spy series. There’s action, there’s beautiful women, there’s dastardly plots, there’s gun battles and there’s Hitler leaping through a window to make his escape at the last minute. This is on one level a deft parody of the tropes of the genre but on another level it’s just indulging those same tropes. Danger 5 likes to play around with the costumes and with the specifics of the plot to make them off-kilter and weird but it never plays around with the spy show formula. Every episode plays out exactly the same way, which for a show which takes so many risks in other areas is a bit of a letdown. Imagine if Danger 5 approached plot structure with the same left-of-centre thinking that comes up with titles like ‘Fresh Meat For Hitler’s Sex Kitchen’.
If there was a parody of CSI that involved all of the suspects wearing clown make-up and it was never commented on by the show, it was just presented as is – that would be pretty weird and amusing the first few times you saw it, but if after a couple of episodes the show didn’t really change in any meaningful way and just continued to hit all of the CSI beats as the team solve yet another weird crime it would grow tiresome. This is partly what’s happened with Danger 5 – it hasn’t evolved beyond being a weird version of a spy series. In the end it again comes down to the number of jokes crammed into an episode – this week was funny, sure, but there were a few stretches where it was just a spy show. Next week we have the finale and it will feature Nazi monsters and the lost city of Atlantis, so at least the show will go out on a high note.
Good, Alright, Bad Or Ugly?
Review – Danger 5 – Episode 6
The Danger 5 finale was probably the most successful episode of this series since the premiere. The show had grown stagnant far quicker than a show that occasionally involved Nazi dinosaurs really should have but this episode was a lively return to form. For all of its quirks and oddball characters Danger 5 was a strangely formulaic experience but this episode was able to tweak that formula just enough that it didn’t feel like we were watching something we’d already seen.
Every episode of Danger 5 has stuck to pretty much the same formula – the gang are given their orders, they are split up, Tucker will pine for Claire, Isla will be rude to Jackson, somebody dies in Pierre’s arms and Hitler will escape – the specifics may change but the show never does. There were a lot of recurring gags in this show but for most of its episodes it never added any new gags or offered up a spin on those recurring gags. You could guarantee somebody would give Pierre a cocktail recipe when they died in his arms, and it went from being a recurring gag to a crutch.
This episode on the other hand offered a spin on a couple of those bits and it made all of the difference. This week’s mission found the Danger 5 crew delivering uranium to the lost city of Atlantis only to discover that the Atlantians are in cahoots with Hitler and have cloned the Danger 5 team. There are also Nazi-monsters that have risen Godzilla-like from the ocean and are rampaging around the world. Only the mega-sized Danger Warrior can possibly defeat them. As per usual the premise is just a lot of fun and while I’ve complained about Danger 5 resting on an amusing premise before, this week they actually shoved some jokes into the mix as well.
A lot of jokes worked on me this week – from the Colonel’s “you know I don’t like to use the sit-down gun” to them referring to table tennis as ‘table ball’; the little things clicked better than they have in some of the staler episodes. The weird exception to this was the introduction of the sixth team member, a cartoon dog named Kilroy. Now, when he first appeared I thought it was pretty darn amusing but the more he showed up the more he felt like a Poochie rip-off. A jive-talking new addition who just happens to be a cartoon dog? It was funny until it felt forced and by the time Kilroy lay dying and screamed “I’m going to fucking die man” it felt really forced. While I appreciated the twist on the Pierre-has-someone-die-in-his-arms joke by having that person be a cartoon dog, some of his lines sounded like they were coming from a far more try-hard show than this one.
This was a solid episode of Danger 5 that delivered almost everything that you’d want from this show. There were a spattering of a good gags, some clever throwaway lines, a fight with a man in a shark suit and a fun action sequence at the end. Even though I didn’t think Kilroy worked all that well having a cartoon sidekick introduced with no explanation is the sort of weirdness this show could have benefitted from more often. There were some weak episodes in the middle of this series but at least it went out on a relatively high note. While Danger 5 may not have been a consistently hilarious addition to Australian television it was certainly a welcome one.
Good, Alright, Bad Or Ugly?
Italian Spiderman (2007):
Dario Russo’s Italian Spiderman packs more action, drama and romance (Italian-style) in under 40 minutes than 90% of Hollywood’s bloated super hero blockbusters. Add fine acting and cutting-edge special effects to the mix and you’ve got pure cinematic gold.
Plot summary (and it’s a shitload of plot for a film that runs under an hour) courtesy of Wikipedia:
In the middle of a party, an asteroid from a distant galaxy falls to Earth and is taken by professor Bernardi (Carmine Russo) for research. He discovers the asteroid has a substance that can create duplicates from any living being and decides that Italian Spiderman (Franco Franchetti), a fat, rude, and powerful superhero, is the only man capable to have custody of the valuable asteroid.
As soon as Professor Bernardi gives Italian Spiderman the asteroid, he is attacked by the terrible Captain Maximum (Leombruno Tosca) who is interested in using the asteroid for his own evil plans. Foiled in his attempt to steal the asteroid from Bernardi, he transforms the Professor into a snake. Captain Maximum later intercepts the Italian Spiderman and takes the asteroid, although he gives Italian Spiderman a chance to win it by beating Maximum in a surf contest. When Captain Maximum notices the obviously superior surfing skills of Italian Spiderman, Maximum attempts to win by cheating. His efforts fail, however, as Italian Spiderman summons the help of penguins (which hurl themselves at Captain Maximum and his henchwomen) and wins. When Italian Spiderman returns home, he is again attacked by Captain Maximum’s henchmen, where a tranquilizer dart causes the hero to collapse.
Waking up in Captain Maximum’s lair he witnesses how the professor is forced to utilize the powers of duplication on one of Captain Maximum’s henchmen. Italian Spiderman is forced to watch as the professor is shot by Maximum. The furious Italian Spiderman attacks Maximum’s henchmen, killing many in a surprisingly gory battle sequence. Despite Italian Spiderman’s efforts the Professor dies but in his last moments gives the Italian Spiderman the potion. Italian Spiderman again attacks the headquarters of Captain Maximum. Despite having the potion, Italian Spiderman overwhelms by his powers alone the newfound army (showing in the process to have a poisonous bite and removable moustaches that can double as razor-sharp boomerangs). Later, Italian Spiderman returns home with the Professor’s niece. When a gigantic Captain Maximum lays siege to the city, Italian Spiderman finally drinks the potion, growing to the same height of Captain Maximum and battling him until the titles roll.- dangerousminds.net/
Italian Spiderman is a film parody of Italian action–adventure films of the 60s and 70s, first released on YouTube in 2007. The parody purports to be a “lost Italian film” by Alrugo Entertainment, an Australian film-making collective formed by Dario Russo, Tait Wilson, David Ashby, Will Spartalis and Boris Repasky. It is widely known throughout the Internet as a famous character due to his ‘bad ass’ personality, catchphrases and use of guns
Ostensibly an Italian take on the comic book superhero Spider-Man, the film is a reference to foreign movies that misappropriate popular American superheroes such as the Turkish film “3 Dev Adam” and the Japanese TV series “Spider-Man”, both of which alter the character of Spider-Man for foreign audiences. Other notable entries include the Indian version of Superman (1987), I Fantastici Tre Supermen (3 Fantastic Supermen) (1967) and La Mujer Murcielago (The Batwoman) (1968). It also resembles the movie The Bathman dal pianeta Eros (1982).
The project began as a trailer for a non-existent film, produced as a student film at Flinders University by director Dario Russo for his final year Screen Production project. The “trailer” was shot, over the course of one day, on 16 mm film using an older style camera to achieve an authentic look for the films of that era.
Publicized as an actual lost Italian action film from the late 1960s, the film was later uploaded onto YouTube on 8 November 2007 where it has gained a massive cult following with 4,117,618 hits as of 7 February 2012. With some of mainstream media taking interest in the film, this led to the South Australian Film Corporation giving the filmmakers funding for ten more short films.
(Playlist Link: http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL31F9635F8E0806B8)
The first installment of the “feature film” premiered across the Internet on 22 May 2008; further installments followed on a weekly basis.
The series was well-received, but ended on a cliffhanger. The May 2010 announcement of the end of Alrugo Entertainment cast doubt on the possible continuation of the project.
On 24 October 2011, a video announcement was made declaring the end of the Italian Spiderman project and the formation of a new production company between Dario Russo and David Ashby, called Dinosaur. The same video also officially announced the duo’s television show, Danger 5 which is set in a bizarre 1960s interpretation of World War II and follows a group of five international spies on a mission to kill Adolf Hitler and thwart his plans of world domination
A scene which has been known as one of the most remembered is when the personality of Italian Spiderman is taken place where after saying a female’s life from ’two group of smartass teenagers, he then slaps her saying:
“Shut your mouth, pussycat, and find me a Machiatto, Pronto!” - knowyourmeme.com/
A Word With Italian Spiderman
Italian Spiderman is a certified internet phenomenon. Created by a core team of five friends with a whole lot of talent and a passion for 1960s cheese, the video project is closing in on 4 million hits and a deal with Italian TV. In the lead up to the next shoot, Merge caught up with the 21 year-old Director of this perfectly chaotic mess, Dario Russo.
Are you actually Italian?
Partially, yeah. I think there’s a shotgun spray of Italian lineage in the Team, but yeah officially I’m 50 per cent. My dad was a migrant. I could say I’m first generation Australian but my mum was born here… so does that mean that I can say I’m half first generation Australian?
I think that makes you a quarter half generation Australian.
I think I’m actually one and a half, one and a third… yeah one and a half 1st generation Australian.
So really you can claim some authority on the subject of Italian Spidermen.
That’s pretty much what I can claim. I can say I do speak the language to a certain extent, a bastardised extent.
Did you do the dubbing for the film?
Let’s see, Franco Franchetti (Italian Spiderman), might not necessarily voice his own stuff…
A lot of the jokes, a lot of the gags and overall humour and charm of it come from the film’s production values of this 60s – 70s style. How many of the production-style jokes are scripted?
There were a lot. Anything visual was generally scripted but our production designer, Tait Wilson added a hell of a lot to that as we went along by adding hilarious set items that were sourced from people’s grandparent’s houses.
The set dressing was amazing. I think it was in Italian Spiderman’s house, before he fought the crocodile, some of the chairs and the paintings on the walls were all so authentic.
Yeah, most of it was already there. We just found places that were so ridiculously 60s that we didn’t need to touch much. So we just took 60s stuff from other rooms and concentrated it until it was just like, “my God, this is the most 60s place ever.” Italian Spiderman’s house was a shack on Hindmarsh Island, which we filmed on the hottest day of our 15 day heat wave, here in Adelaide.
Is it difficult to find these locations in Adelaide?
No. They’re around and luckily they were all in our team’s family. For instance, the opening scene was shot in my great uncle’s rumpus room for the card game, which was supposed to be shot in the Latvian RSL. I’m a quarter Latvian and a Quarter Estonian as well as my Italian heritage.
So, 100 per cent Australian?
Yeah, ostrayyan all round. Tait’s Grandparent’s house was involved. Will, the sound designer’s grandparent’s house was involved, my great aunt and uncle’s houses were involved. Invading old people was the key to getting great locations most of the time.
You shot the trailer first and you did that on zero budget, did everybody work for free?
That was for a uni project. Everybody worked for free on that because it was a one day shoot. It was 50-something shots, shot on 16 mill for a uni assignment. And we whacked it together, it struck a chord, evidently, and the extra 37 minutes that we’ve done now, which are the first ten episodes, everybody worked for free again even though we did get funding from the SAFC it was only enough to get the film on-screen. So it was enormous commitment on behalf of everybody. It was like a war-zone it was just ridiculous. It was the hottest period of the one-in-five-thousand year heatwave we had to shoot through. We shot for 14 days and sometimes, we were shooting on Hindmarsh Island from midday until two in the morning. Once, I ran out of petrol in Mount Barker on the way home. So it was enormous. It was absolutely ridiculous, just the most intense shooting time that I’ve ever been in. And yeah everyone worked for nothing.
Even the hot, hot women?
All the hot girls.
Yeah that’s our main question… bit annoying… where did you find all those hot women?
Three words: Other People’s Girlfriends.
So this grant you got from the South Australian Film Corp, it was for $10,000, how far did that actually go, do you have any of it left?
Nup. No, well it got us 10 episodes and a massive launch party. It was a bargain for the SAFC pretty much. But they took a real gamble with us because they were chucking money at something that could potentially fall on its face.
Are they going to get money back from their investment in you guys?
They can potentially because we’ve had interest from television stations and we’re currently talking about where we’re going to go with the project. I mean there’ll be a DVD release; there’ll be a thing at the end of the line pretty much. And so, there’s the potential to have returns now but at the stage where they funded us, all there was, was a trailer that had had about 500,000 views. It was only half way there. I applied for funding in about November or December of last year and so it had only gone about 500,000 but then in March it got featured on the front page of YouTube in the US and it doubled in about three days. And there was a huge spike and then it surged again when we first came out with the episodes.
And then you were featured on Today Tonight.
Yeah I know, which was a real surprise because 1: we didn’t need to start a shonky old folks home, 2: abuse our neighbours, 3: evade tax.
But you did have to answer for the Italian toes you stepped on in creating Italian Spiderman.
Yeah we did. Yeah that’s true because we’d had this mixed response from people that were writing to us saying: “youse guys are joking on Italians”. Which was funny because it was mostly Australo-Italians or American-Italians who took issue with it. And, I have to say, it was more the MySpace crowd than the YouTube crowd - the WTF? crowd. It’s usually the English-speaking Italians who take offence from it. The true Italians, who we have great reference from, generally love it. And the worse the Italian is, the more they love it!
Do you find a really strict demarcation between those who get it and those who don’t get it?
Yeah you’re right. It’s love or hate… well it’s not actually love or hate but get or don’t get. Actually I had a good conversation with someone in a bar last night who didn’t get it at all. They’re a Big Brother watcher so… generally speaking Big Brother fans don’t get it. But yeah, it seems to be very much a get or don’t get thing and luckily there’s enough people who seem to get it and seem to like it intensely.
You switched from using film in the trailer to video for the next ten episodes. How difficult was it to get that authentic 60s look?
On the day, our DOP Sam King, all he can do is shoot it well and we shoot it progressive scan opposed to interlace it, which does a fair bit for it. But yeah it took us a couple of weeks to get the look right, get it to match closely what the 16 mill looked like.
And what about the soundtrack, where does that come from?
Well the majority of the series’ score is all Will Spartali’s work. It’s predominantly samples from extremely obscure films that he’s manipulated to such an extent that they no longer resemble the original samples. So it’s a really dense, pastiche thing.
A bit of a mash-up?
Yeah it is. It’s a total mash-up, and that was kind of the concept, or that’s the way Will wanted to go with it, since the whole Italian Spiderman concept is a mash-up of retro ideas, he wanted to do the same thing with the soundtrack. But then there’s a few original musical tracks that we composed under the guise of Enzo Bontempi, that we got a vinyl released through an Italian record label.
And Mario Bava – what’s his hand in all this?
Mario Bava? Mario Bava’s the biggest influence all the way through from a directorial standpoint but particularly for his cinematography. I like him, especially one film: Danger Diabolic. Which is about this anti-hero who just steals things from people to give to his women. The visual style of Italian Spiderman is basically a clean cross between Sean Connery Bond films and Mario Bava movies. Sean Connery Bond films have this kind of flat, bright spy aesthetic whereas Italian films in the 60s have a shit-load of colour – everywhere.
Something to ponder: why is casual violence against women so hilarious?
Why? I think it’s completely misrepresented for some reason, I believe there’s not enough of it. Women have been crying out for equality on the screen for years and if they’re not prepared to get punched as often as dudes…
Cop a harpoon in the neck?
Cop a couple of harpoons in the neck and you know, general sort of abuse. You know Italian Spiderman is really a pioneering Feminist, I feel.
So where do you want to take the project?
Well it’s the same motto exactly. We want to keep putting it on the net so people can look at it for free and enjoy the thing for what it is and increase our fan base. And at the end of it, there’ll be a DVD with more stuff on it that you don’t get on the internet. For instance, you’re never going to see the whole film on the internet. There’ll be at least another 10 instillations and then the whole thing joined up plus another half hour of story on the DVD and ridiculous amount of special features. You know… in the actor’s studio with Franco Franchetti and behind the scenes footage from 1964. We want to do a whole basically, doco-drama on the journey to discover the missing film cans on the bottom of the ocean.
With more than 2 million hits worldwide, what’s it like being an Internet Celebrity?
Well, you know… last night when I was in a pool of cocaine and Brazilian pool-boys, you know, getting my toes sucked by a Madagascan exchange student, it didn’t cross my mind at any point what the benefits of Internet stardom were. I don’t know, I’ve got absolutely no concept of what it’s like. Italian Spiderman is the star. I’m just one of the guys pulling some levers behind it - like the Wizard of Oz. No, I haven’t even looked at it like that. I’m completely content to be able to make more of it.
Why do you think that his project has latched on?
Besides everybody always wanting to see a superhero that smokes, drinks coffee and punches women… he’s a huggable character in general. I don’t know, I think he’s got a bit of a universal sparkle to him, I think lots of people find an appeal about him. I don’t know, there’s just something about Italian Spiderman.
What do you think of working in Adelaide? Would you move interstate if you had the opportunity?
I love Melbourne because I can buy good pants in Melbourne. I can’t buy good pants in Adelaide. But Adelaide is an excellent place to make stuff because it has an extremely close film community, and if you’ve gotten into it, and done a lot of work, people are willing to help each other out. It’s a heavily resourced environment and there are lots of people to help you get any type of film you want to get made here. I think production in Adelaide is a very promising thing.
Check out more Italian Spiderman.