Episode 48 - The Amazing Mr. No Legs (1979)
Mr. No Legs is one of those movies you watch the trailer for and say, "I got to see that one day". It stays in the back of your mind for a long time and finally, on one of those days you have literally nothing better to do, you decide it's time to finally watch it. If this sounds like a familiar story then you probably know how this particular tale ends.
What should be a movie about a legless man who kicks ass and takes names is a movie that squanders all it's potential on a sub-par story about two cops wandering around town solving a crime... sort of. This film is even more of a letdown when you know the backstory and the potential it had to be a grindhouse classic.
Ted Vollrath (the titular Mr. No Legs) was a Marine veteran that fought in the Korean war. He lost his legs in battle at the age of 18 but didn't let it stop him from training to become a black belt in karate and other forms of martial arts.
Ricou Browning, the director, started his career as The Gill Men in Universal's Creature from the Black Lagoon and went on to create the show Flipper - a show known for using it's unique character (a dolphin) in interesting ways.
These two men combined to make a movie that features only one scene of their titular character performing karate and only about 10 minutes of screen time for their titular character. Why?
It's odd that a movie based off a gimmick would try so hard to hide that gimmick; and for what? Nobody would take a movie named "The Amazing Mr. No Legs" seriously, why not give your audience what they came for? Nobody went to this movie expecting to see two cops (one played by first time actor and professional wrestler Ron Slinker) wander around for 80 minutes doing pretty much nothing.
This movie features only one scene of Ted Vollrath doing any sort of martial arts but numerous scenes of: bar drinking, gun shots, musical numbers, gun shots, sword fights, drug overdoses, college kids paying tuition, colonel sanders making cigars, and a near ten minute car chase; all of which don't have Mr. No Legs in them.
Mr. No Legs represents the worst of Grindhouse movies. Ones with so much potential and an interesting idea that simply squanders it in favor of a more traditional story that the audience never asked for, or wanted.
NEXT WEEK'S FILM
1990: The Bronx Warriors (1982)
(Listener Review/Request from @Bobby_Batson)
Director: Enzo G. Castellari
Writers: Elisa Briganti (screenplay) (as Elisa Livia Briganti), Enzo G. Castellari (screenplay)
Stars: Mark Gregory, Fred Williamson, Vic Morrow