The second of a number of feature films spun off from the hit TV series The Man from UNCLE, this lazy effort comprises situations from previously aired episodes (the two-part ‘The Alexander Affair’ which opened the series’ 1965-1966 TV season) and the result is, unsurprisingly, most unsatisfactory.
As Napoleon Solo and Illya Kuryakin, Robert Vaughn and David McCallum have the film stolen from under their noses by the excellent Rip Torn, who throws restraint to the wind as yet another megalomaniac intent on becoming ruler of the world.
Solo and Kuryakin are given their assignment when a new type of gas (called BG30) is stolen from an army biological warfare establishment.
It is called ‘will gas’ because it deprives those who come in contact with it of their will to resist opposition.
It is stolen by wealthy Mr Alexander (Torn) whose overriding ambition in life is to take control of the world and become Alexander The Greater . . . breaking all the Ten Commandments in the process.
While Solo is given the task of tracking him down, Kuryakin gets the job of solving the mystery as to why Alexander left behind him at the scene of the theft an ancient slab of stone bearing a figure 8.
The tracks of both lead them to a Greek tomb on the island of Minos from which the slab of stone has been taken, and find themselves there with Alexander’s ex-wife (kooky Dorothy Provine) who is after him for a different reason – to regain a million dollars she turned over to him when they were married.
Alexander is waiting for them inside the labyrinthine tomb and subjects them to hair-raising experiences among meandering corridors and sliding walls before he traps them in the main chamber.
Here he plans to kill them in the manner of old Greek custom – Solo tied beneath a slowly descending scimitar, and the other two suspended above a bottomless pit by a rope being burnt by a candle flame.
There are some hilarious dices with death along the way, but at 101 minutes it’s far too long for a cut-and-paste job.
Leo G Carroll