Thunderbird 6 [1968]

Thunderbird 6 was the second feature spin-off from the hit Gerry Anderson puppet-animation TV series Thunderbirds, and revolved around a new addition to the lineup of International Rescue's five emergency craft. The plot sees Lady Penelope, Alan, Tin-Tin, and Parker as the only passengers on the maiden, round-the-world flight of a futuristic airship, which is hijacked in a bid to capture Thunderbirds 1 and 2. From the moment Alan arrives on a Bond-style jetpack, the film veers away from the TV show into espionage adventure territory, and while the only people International Rescue rescue are their own members, they kill a fair number of bad guys. The global tour means there are more locations than ever, and though the story takes a long time developing, the Die Hard-on-an-airship finale delivers the most explosive set piece of Gerry Anderson's career. As for Thunderbird 6, opinion remains divided as to whether it's an ingenious twist or a disappointing gimmick, but the movie's blend of model and live-action footage results in two superbly staged stunt sequences. It was preceded by Thunderbirds Are Go (1968), and the Andersons would make one further feature film, Journey to the Far Side of the Sun (1969). --Gary S. Dalkin

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