The Secret Agents of ‘Danger 5' Must Kill Hitler!
This bizarre show from Australia is like a ’60s TV serial in the pulp comics tradition
by MATTHEW GAULT
Miles deep beneath the frozen tundra of Antarctica is a lush jungle untouched by time. There, among the prehistoric plants and towering dinosaurs that time forgot, Adolf Hitler has launched a diabolical plan to crush the Allies.
A volcano cracks through the ground at the center of the jungle, and in its heart lies a secret Nazi base. Within the glowing walls of the molten fortress, the mad scientist Josef Mengele crafts dark monstrosities.
Mengele has discovered a powerful crystal that gives him dominion over organic matter — and bend the mighty dinosaurs to his whims.
Hitler deploys the giant beasts to fight the Allies. But never fear, because Danger 5 — the famed international team of Allied super agents — is on the case.
“Nazi dinosaurs are popping up all over Europe,” the eagle-headed Col. Chestbridge explains to the agents. “Your mission — find out where the Hell Hitler is getting these things from and put a stop to it … and, of course, kill Hitler!”
Yes. This is a real show. It’s called Danger 5 and you can stream seasons one and two on Netflix right now.
This odd gem comes from Australia, and there’s really nothing like it. It’s a campy, violent and bizarre adventure show following the exploits of Danger 5 — a group of five Allies from different countries.
Jackson is the lone-wolf American. Claire is the prudish and brilliant Briton. Tucker is the tightly-wound Australian. Pierre is the flamboyant European playboy with an unclear nationality. Finally, there’s Ilsa, the violent and sexually liberated Russian.
They melt Hitler’s Golden Murder Palace, dismantle the Kill-Men of the Rising Sun and free the slaves of Hitler’s Sex Kitchen. The team has one ultimate objective — kill Hitler.
All of the characters are hilarious, absurd stereotypes. In a later episode, Hitler captures Jackson and attempts to seduce him with an Aryan goddess.
The woman moves in for a kiss, and Jackson slams a fist into her face. “Get your fascist mouth away from me!” he yells.
“You hit a woman!” she says, aghast.
“I hit a Nazi!” he says, pronouncing Nazi with a hard A, like N-AT-zi.
The team chain-smokes, kills, boozes and fornicates its way across the world, thwarting strange Nazi plans at every turn.
In the first episode, zeppelins have stolen the world’s monuments. Parisians commit suicide upon hearing about the theft of the Eiffel Tower. The team investigates, and uncovers a dastardly plot by Josef Goebbels to give Hitler a unique birthday present.
If this sounds outrageous and odd, it’s because the creators channeled the spirit of shlocky pulp men’s magazines from the ’50s and ’60s that bore titles such as The Private Torture Slaves of Reinhard Heydrich and Savage Rites of the Whip-Wielding Panzer Monsters.
Danger 5 feels like it should be on Adult Swim alongside Aqua Teen Hunger Force and The Heart She Holler. It certainly looks cheap, but it’s a contrived cheapness.
The dialogue heightens the sense of the surreal. Foreigners speak in their native tongue — Ilsa in Russian and Hitler in German — yet everyone understands each other. At the same time, the creators dubbed all of the voices, even those of the English speakers.
It’s a pretty wonderful effect, making them resemble cartoon characters more than real people. The dubbing also makes everything feel slightly off, as if the viewer is watching a late-night kung fu movie with bad English dubbing.
Hitler is a special treat. The super villain pops up in every episode to antagonize the team. But he’s funny, fussy, old, bloated and looks bored.
This Hitler is a classic Bond villain — urbane and dangerous, but constantly foiled by hubris.
The episode Hitler’s Golden Murder Palace opens with the German dictator playing cards with a tuxedo-wearing spy. Erwin Rommel — the Desert Fox — sips a martini in the background. Gruber — the spy — wins the game.
“Looks like the house is going to be six million Reichsmarks lighter in bullion this weekend,” Gruber chuckles.
“Nein,” Hitler says.
He pulls a golden pistol from under the table and fires. Gruber becomes a screaming, flaming skeleton. “Rommel. Will you cash out Mr. Gruber please?”
Later in the episode, the pair test out the submachine gun version of the golden pistol. Hitler fires it into the crotches of target after target.
“Who would have thought gold was the secret to the ultimate gun?” he says.
Then he asks Rommel if the guns are ready for the war.
“In theory, mein Führer,” Rommel replies. “However, there is a small issue with the auto-fire mode. The guns tend to heat up when fired at full automatic. Three of my men have been badly burned. I propose we trial some different kinds of ammunition.”
“The guns are perfect. There will be no more testing!” Hitler declares. The rush to production backfires later in the episode, when Hitler dual-wields the weapons while facing off against Danger 5.
The guns overheat and blister the Fuhrer’s hands. His guns useless, his plot foiled and his life in danger, the dictator runs from Danger 5’s barrage of bullets and leaps through a window. Hitler escapes.
He always escapes.
But that doesn’t seem to bother Danger 5. They look frustrated, but they did foil one of his plots, after all. One smash cut later, the team is back at its base — drinking, smoking and partying with everyone they met during the episode.
It’s comforting and fun. Hitler is always still out there and Danger 5 is always one step away from killing him.
Season one of Danger 5 aired on Australian television back in 2012. The show just finished its second season a few months ago. Both seasons are available on Netflix.
As madcap as season one was, two looks even crazier. The war is over and the team seems to be struggling through a world that resembles American films from the ’80s.
Hitler’s back … and this time it’s personal.