Sudden Death: Robert Conrad really rings up the kills in this low-rent Filipino actioner

By on February 10, 2016

Our filmmaking friend Eric Zaldivar is back with a new killcount supercut, this one ringing up the falling bodies in Eddie Romero’s Sudden Death, a cloak and dagger tough guy actioner from 1977, set in the Philippines and starring Robert Conrad (TV’s “The Wild Wild West”), Felton Perry (Walking Tall, Magnum Force) and Don Stroud (Murph The Surf). It’s kinda NSFW for language.

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Here’s Eric with a bit more about this new supercut:

“Robert Conrad is a favorite tough guy actor of mine. Like everybody else, I ‘discovered’ him watching ‘The Wild Wild West.’ The innovative and surprisingly violent show wasn’t just an exhibit for gadgets and mayhem, it had heart. The relationship between James T. West (Conrad) and Artemus Gordon (Ross Martin) is as realized and believable as that of the other ’60s television duo Captain James T. Kirk and Mr. Spock. So it’s largely a myth that Conrad can’t act worth spit. Even though he’d be the first to self deprecatingly dispute that.

He isn’t Laurence Olivier but he excels as a masculine lead. Colleague and tough guy expert, Mike Malloy, put it best, ‘There’s something about Conrad’s physique and the spring in his step that makes it feel as if he’s about to explode into action at any moment. That sort of physicality is valuable to tough-guy actors and rare in middle-aged ones.’

Mostly known for his television work, it’s to action cinema’s great detriment that Conrad never really found a place in the movies. By the late ’70s opportunities had mostly shriveled up. It got so dire that at the same time he was shilling for Eveready batteries in a nationally-seen ad campaign (‘I dare you to knock this off‘) the actor had to travel across the world to get a lead role in a low rent Filipino actioner. And thank Christ he did.

Sudden Death is the perfect vehicle to showcase Conrad’s abilities. Brutal and gleefully profane, this cloak and dagger revenger is a great example of ’70s drive-in sleaze.”

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About Eric Zaldivar

Eric Zaldivar is a filmmaker, screenwriter, researcher and Spaghetti Western film historian. He co-wrote the original screenplay for Django Lives! and remains involved on the project as a producer (writer/director John Sayles is also now involved). He also co-produced The Scarlet Worm (the world's first "abortion Western"), assisted on the documentary about Dennis Hopper's The Last Movie, and was the second-unit director on Mike Malloy's Eurocrime! The Italian Cop and Gangster Films That Ruled The 70s documentary. Zaldivar has also penned film reviews for Spectacular Optical and other cinema publications. He lives in Miami, Florida.