The Satan Bug (1965)

Genres - Action, Science Fiction  |   Sub-Genres - Action Thriller, Chase Movie, Sci-Fi Action  |   Release Date - Apr 14, 1965 (USA - Unknown)  |   Run Time - 115 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - NR
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This sleek blend of espionage thriller and doomsday science fiction is tasteful and stylish, but lacks the inspiration and depth that separates the programmers from the classics. The main flaw of The Satan Bug is that it strains so hard for subtlety in its storytelling that it ultimately offers too little to occupy an audience. Despite the looming threat of worldwide extinction, the storyline never takes off because it is so limited in scope that the grandeur of such threats is never effectively communicated. This causes the pace to drag in places; the lack of spectacle is further accented by terse characterizations that give the viewer little to get emotionally invested in. On the plus side, Sturges directs with his usual cinemascope sense of style and the performances are strong, particularly George Maharis in an appealingly cynical variation on the secret agent archetype. That said, this overall sense of craftsmanship isn't strong enough to triumph over the limited material it is applied to. As a result, The Satan Bug is solid enough to sustain a viewing but lacks the flair and surprises that would have made it truly memorable.