Jaguar Lives Review

The Film

The sheer longevity of the Bond films has been quite astonishing. And I don't mean that feeling of extreme boredom you felt during Die Another Day. They have endured raking in the cash for decade after decade, and of course other producers have noticed and attempted their own spin on the suave spy.
Largely, these efforts at imitation have been fruitless and only when something like the Bourne Trilogy or the Harry Palmer films departed from the established template of Bond have any succeeded. Jaguar Lives is an attempt to create a cross between Bond and Bruce Lee. It keeps the globe trotting, it keeps the glamour and it borrows an awful lot of Bond veterans in order to make itself rather familiar.

The Jaguar is played by Joe Lewis, a former student of Bruce Lee, and a rather handsome and effective presence. Recovering from being shot in the back by a former ally, he is let loose on the trail of Esteban, a super villain who is plotting terrible things involving illegal drugs and non-specific mayhem. All that really matters is that Esteban is a bad man who must be stopped for the good of the American way of life and to please Jaguar's gorgeous boss Barbara Bach.
To complete his mission, Lewis must take on the assorted hordes of Donald Pleasence, Christopher Lee, and Capucine, bed a suspenders wearing nun and whup all manner of ass. It's undeniably rather fragmented and following why the locations keep changing is quite tough, but frankly that's how I find the ludicrous plotting of this genre anyway.

What must be said about Jaguar Lives is that it is very game. There's a great sense of self parody, especially with Pleasence having a whale of a time as a Latin American dictator and some of the absurdity is affectionate - Lee's henchmen all dress in tuxedos with never a hair out of place as they bite the dust in carefully choreographed sequence.
Continuity sucks and the climax suddenly shifts into daylight with no reasonable explanation. The final revelation is predictable, the music is generic, the villains are obvious and its pretty inconsequential stuff. Yet, it is great fun and eminently rewarding as a diversion or a genre oddity.

The Jaguar Lives and I think that's a good thing.

Technical Specs

Cult Labs/Arrow give the film a dual layer region free disc but unfortunately present the film in full-screen. The transfer is of decent quality with lighter sections looking very detailed indeed and the mild use of edge enhancement not proving too distracting. Darker sequences are a little less impressive and I did notice some artefacts, tape noise and aliasing especially in the night time scenes. A white line appears at the edge of the frame towards the end of the film but I imagine this will only annoy perfectionists.
The audio is a solid mono track which is usually clear for dialogue with the music reproduced in all its over emphatic glory. Occasional hiss is noticeable and there are no subs.

Special Features

Joe Lewis talks about the film in an interview recorded in May of this year. Self confidence is no obstacle for the man, and his recall is simply amazing as he tells of getting paid more than many others for his first film and the problems in his acting. The interviewer just needs to let him speak and that's what he does.

The trailer for the film is included along with three sets of galleries accompanied by the soundtrack music.

Summary

Cult Labs continue to show a little love to genre gems and the only real criticism here is of the full-screen transfer. Jaguar Lives is good fun, tongue in cheek and better than your average Bond rip-off.

Film
6 out of 10
Video
6 out of 10
Audio
6 out of 10
Extras
6 out of 10
Overall

6

out of 10

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