The Amazing Mr. No Legs
Amazing: (adjective) To cause great surprise or sudden wonder.
There was much to wonder about the ill advised odyssey that is The Amazing Mr. No Legs (a.k.a. Mr. No Legs, a.k.a. Killers Die Hard, a.k.a. Gun Fighter), a 1979 detectives vs. drug kingpin saga from director, Creature from the Black Lagoon actor and Flipper co-creator Ricou Browning. The two things I wondered most were how amazing is this Mr. No Legs and where did he acquire his shotgun equipped wheelchair? Seasoned exploitation fans will be most familiar with this film’s trailer which advertises a slew of legless shenanigans. I also looked forward to seeing this shoeless wonder stick it to whomever he felt deserving, yet would soon discover him a mere secondary henchman in a meandering story about dope-filled cigars.
No fucks are given in Mr. No Legs but fuck ups certainly abound. One instance sees henchmen covering up a murder by injecting dope into an already dead body. Subtle, yet amazingly ineffective against someone bludgeoned by a television. Another shows the same goons killing a fellow drug dealer then dumping his body offscreen only to (poorly) attempt to steal his corpse from the coroner's office later on. The hilarity ensues with a fantastic car chase at the film’s climax thanks to every character leaving their keys in their cars. Oh, 70s exploitation.
Then there’s Mr. No Legs himself. The titular “amazing” with an attitude as lovable as a jock-itch, he is the no shit taking protagonist the film wishes it had. In classic Al Adamson style, the advertised title isn’t exactly what we get. Mr. Grumpy Man with a Disability falls very, err… short of being amazing, though there is a lot of unused potential. The double-barreled shotguns built into his wheelchair is a great start, though amazingly underused. Then there’s the scene where he kills one hitman with a ninja star and then drop kicks another (twice) before choking him dead in a pool. Theatre at its best, really. Outside of that, he’s rarely onscreen and we’re left to deal with the rest of the cast. Oh boy, do we deal with them.
Sans the amazing showcase of ‘70s porn ‘staches this side of Debbie Does Dallas, the secondary characters don’t imprint themselves to memory as well as our wheelbound ass… kicker? For the most part, it’s just Chuck and Andy, two detectives sweating and drinking their way through this drug bust. Andy takes the punches while Chuck waits in his neon orange faux GTO. The GTO is notable for the beating it receives throughout the film, particularly during one showdown where its convertible top is Swiss-cheesed from a claymore wielding assassin. Chuck, on the other hand, is notable for never being in a useful place in addition to his constant, confused facial expression. Countless times we see Andy brawling or get shot at as Chuck sits perplexed somewhere outside. During the aforementioned corpse heist, the hooligans get away by grabbing Chuck and telling the approaching cops that he was trying to steal a body. The cops then grab a struggling Chuck as the ruffians tiptoe out the front door. Truly amazing police work.
One other amazing thing this film offers is the white, wall-to-wall shag carpeting that adorns the bedroom of Andy’s love interest. With matching shag sheets to boot, it’s the sex loft of my dreams despite being used solely for naps. Whatever, I was happy to see someone living that Casanova vision.
In all, The Amazing Mr. No Legs has better ideas than execution and the hype of a dual shotgun toting man with no legs wreaking havoc doesn’t fully deliver. Regardless, I’m happy with the time I had with our rolling anti-hero, short as it was.
Special shout out to the maverick geniuses at Massacre Video for putting this on Blu-ray. They’ve restored this film from the only known surviving film print, saving it from being completely lost, and are now giving it a new audience. Props to them, I like their kind of crazy.
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David is the founder & director of Midnite Romero Society. Find more of his writing & visual work at MidniteDave.com