The Pink Panther was a jewel that was stolen in the first film in the series. I think the filmmakers kinda forgot that, because I don't quite know how a jewel can strike back, or get revenge, for that matter. Nevertheless, this was a good return to form for the series, and Peter Sellers' last really funny movie.It's interesting to watch the original "Pink Panther" after having watched the later train wrecks that revolved entirely around Inspector Clouseau - the 1964 original was very much an ensemble piece, with Sellers sharing equal screen time with David Niven, Claudia Cardinale, etc. Blake Edwards figured out, I suppose, that the people didn't much give a rat's ass about jewel heists - they wanted to see a Frenchman fall down stairs.
"Very nearly the best in the series."
This is the 4th film in the series (I really don't count "Inspector Clouseau", with Alan Arkin), and really, this and "Shot in the Dark" are really the only two consistently funny ones. "Revenge" just went on too long, "Return" and the original dealt too much with the actual theft of the jewel itself, and the ones they made after Sellers died were just a crime against nature. "Pink Panther Strikes Again" has very little plot, and has some of the best sight gags that Peter Sellers' stuntman/stand-in ever performed.
The story, such as it is, concerns former Chief Inspector Dreyfus (Herbert Lom) breaking out of a mental hospital in order to kill Inspector Clouseau (Sellers in the closeups, Sellers' stand-in for everything else) and threatens to destroy the world if Clouseau is not put to death. The world's top countries each send their own master assassins to wipe him out, and wacky death-related comedy ensues. There is also a dog poo joke.
It's very basic comedy - people have funny accents, wear silly costumes, fall down, and hit each other with things. But that's what the Pink Panther series did well, and this particular chapter does it with an absence of pretense or plot. We know pretty much what's going to happen - you see Clouseau heading towards a castle that has a moat, you can guess that at some point, he will be in said moat, and when he falls in the aforementioned moat, thereby proving you right, you feel smart. And pretty.
In conclusion, "Pink Panther Strikes Again" is a good movie for those folks who enjoy movies where people get hurt, but then aren't hurt anymore in the next scene, and then get hurt again. It's like a french "Jackass". But in a good way.Worth a rental just for the scene on the parallel bars. He truly was the Pavlov of the parallels.
link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=2601&reviewer=27
originally posted: 03/02/03 03:52:28