If you've ever wondered what foreign comic book films might be like Kriminal is a pretty good representation. Kriminal started out as an Italian comic book series in 1964 and was published until 1974 with a total of 419 issues. The character of Kriminal is an English master thief who dresses in a skin tight costume with the appearance of a skeleton. Starting out as a rather harden ruthless criminal the character eventually transformed into a heroic character. The Kriminal series is the first Italian comic series to initiate continuity in their stories, where each comic begins where the last one ended, and it's also the first Italian comic to use the "crossover" where characters from other series meet one another.
Kriminal begins with a rather fancy comic book style introduction (reminiscent of many Marvel comics films) then continues with the Kriminal being taken to the gallows to be hung. He has recently been caught and charged for the robbery of the royal crown, but this death sentence is all a ruse, Scotland Yard has secretly setup Kriminal's escape in the hopes that he'll lead them to the hiding place of the royal crown. Kriminal escapes as planned but quickly out wits the authorities and evades their clutches once again, this time it wasn't part of the police's plans. Kriminal returns the royal crown in a mysterious package to the police, stating there's no way he could have sold it to anyone and to consider it thanks for saving him from the gallows. Frustrated by his antics the police continue their investigation to re-apprehend him, meanwhile the Kriminal is beginning plans for another heist.
The Kriminal plans to steal a shipment of diamonds being transferred via courier to Istanbul, but what he doesn't know is Tradex, the company responsible for the diamonds, has twin sisters Inge and Trude (played by Helga Line) both traveling to Istanbul on different flights in hopes to throw off anyone attempting to steal the diamonds. Also unbeknown to Kriminal is that Lady Gold of Tradex has no intention for the diamonds to arrive safely, she's in cahoots with Inge and Trude to make the diamonds mysteriously vanish and collect the insurance. Ironically the twins happen to be double crossing her with their own cohorts, sending Kriminal to Istanbul with the goal of getting the upper hand on all the crooks.
Kriminal has a pretty simplistic plot but at times the film can be a little confusing, maybe it's an issue with the story or maybe the fact that the film is completely in Italian so it takes a little more effort to grasp everything while you're reading the subtitles. The film wraps up sort of ironically, and is a great setup for the sequel which followed two years later, which I plan to watch and review next weekend. Kriminal is a fun film, a semi campy euro-spy film complete with catchy music, outrageously bad sound effects and beautiful women (and double the Helga Line) you really can't go wrong. Overall, Kriminal is well worth the watch, and you can find this and many other rare foreign films over at Cinemageddon, which is a site I recently discovered that has about 20+ Helga Line films I've been looking for and many other B-movies that are out of print or have never released in the United States. Check that site out if your interested, they have a lot of junk too but if you have some rare films you've been looking for they might be there.