This hokey espionage spoof featuring Dean Martin‘s secret agent, Matt Helm, is the third in the franchise which made a pot of money for Columbia Pictures, following The Silencers and Murderers Row.
This time around, Helm teams up with plucky ICE (Intelligence and Counter Espionage) test pilot Sheila Sommers (Janice Rule) to recover her hijacked experimental ‘flying saucer’ from the hands of the sinister and fanatical exiled tyrant Jose Ortega (Albert Salmi), who uses a Mexican beer factory as the front for his Hitler-esque plans.
Along the way, he must also cure his brainwashed colleague who, inconveniently, believes she is Mrs Helm.
Their quest takes them to Mexico, where there’s lots of rugged scenery that doesn’t at all match up with the studio sets and Helm contends with a fight sequence inside a giant vat of beer, a pistol-packed bra and a script that is more interested in all the innuendo and in-jokes (in the first five minutes of the film, there are enough breast jokes for 10 movies) than it is in the plot.
Enemy agent Francesca (Senta Berger) is the object of Helm’s main romantic dalliance and a dozen slay-girls pop up at various awkward moments to make his life ‘difficult’ in two ways.
Holding down the fort back home are Helm regulars Beverly Adams as the one and only Lovey Kravezit (“craves-it”, geddit?) and ICE boss, Mac (James Gregory).
The film is a mixture of James Bond-style gadgets, Martin’s gimlet-eyed quips, gaudy studio sets and back-projected scenery, and the result is a very jaded movie indeed.