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U.N.C.L.E. agents Napoleon Solo and Illya Kuryakin travel around the globe in an effort to track down a secret formula that was divided into four parts and left by a dying scientist with his four daughters, all of whom live in different countries. Evil THRUSH agent Randolph also wants the formula, and is aided by his karate-chopping henchmen. Written by
Marty McKee <firstname.lastname@example.org>
When a leading scientist develops a formula for extracting gold from sea water he breaks his hides his formula and sends clues out to 4 of his 5 daughters. When he is killed by THRUSH, UNCLE agents Solo and Kuryakin join with the 5th daughter to retrieve the clues and find the formula before THRUSH can use the formula for their own evil ends.
This is another in the series of UNCLE TV movies used for the European market but it is one of the first to be a serious miss in terms of the UNCLE series. While others played themselves with their tongues in their cheek this takes itself a little too seriously. The first sign of this is that it drops the UNCLE opening theme in favour of a very 1960's "groovy" number by Every Mother's Son and then it starts to load itself up with star cameos. In fact the whole thing lacks the gently mocking humour of the other outings and puts itself forward as a "proper" spy movie.
This is a major failing as the action and story are not good enough to carry the film. The story is quite clever but the execution is poor. The story is basically in 5 bits - 4 sections dealing with each of the 4 daughters and the last being the final confrontation. The problem with this is that there is no real continuity and it feels piecemeal. Each chapter has a star - Terry Thomas, Telly Savalas, Joan Crawford, Herbert Lom - but this makes each section more about the cameos than about getting the formula. In fact in each section the formula usually easily falls into the hands of the 5th daughter by accident.
Both Vaughn and McCallum are OK in their roles but it is obvious that they aren't having as much fun as before. All the cameos are poor because they don't really have any time to do anything interesting and instead just play stereotypes (English copper, Italian count etc). Lom is a terrible villain
all he does in each section is turn up and spark off a fight. When he
does get more of a chance to show his character he is exactly like Dr Evil - if fact I thought that Lom was a few steps from being a totally spoof villain despite trying to be menacing and sinister.
This lacks the sense of fun that other outings have had. It takes itself too seriously and immediately loses the one quality that made it good. Check out "the spy in the green hat" if you don't know what I mean - now that's an example of a tongue in cheek UNCLE movie with some stars as villains who give good performances.
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