Narrowly escaping death when an African village is all but exterminated by a newly invented Thermal Prism, Solo and Illya begin a dangerous quest to gain control of one of the most powerful weapons ever created before it can be used for conquest of the world.
- One of the best UNCLE movies
UNCLE enlist safe cracker Luther Sebastian to steal a thermal prison from Dr Karmusi in exchange for immunity from all his crimes. However he himself steals the weapon and plans to use it to allow his brothers in the Cult of the Third Way to rule the world. UNCLE agents Solo and Kuryakin pursue Sebastian, closely followed by Annie whose partner was framed by Sebastian for a crime he didn't commit.
After the mess of The Karate Killers this was a refreshing return to the spoof tradition of the UNCLE series. The plot is as ever, very unlikely and farfetched. But it's all done with a great deal of fun and doesn't take itself too seriously. The story is actually quite clever in some places, with a few nice twists to it but more than anything else, it is told with tongue in cheek throughout. This is much better than the Karate Killers which took itself far too seriously and lost all sense of fun.
This has a great sense of fun around it that comes from several places. Firstly both McCallum and Vaughn seem to be enjoying themselves again and bring a lot more energy to the film. Secondly the TV series influence is back - with the theme music back in place throughout. Thirdly the villains are back on top form, previously Hebert Lom was terrible playing it straight. Here Bradford Dillman plays Sebastian really camp and gets plenty of good lines and even his henchmen have some too. For example Sebastian saying "my wife doesn't understand me" or a henchman telling his mom "someday I'll take you away from here", "but I like it here" only to dejectedly say "I know, I know". Or Solo being praised for his good work only to told "you'll have to ride in the back of the truck with the others - I can't show favouritism".
This feeling of fun helps the film immensely and it's really enjoyable to watch. Other nice touches include the Cult's hideout having a service door and the old man who hasn't spoken for 20 years (played by a silent John Carradine!). The rest of the cast are all good. Vaughn and McCallum have equal roles by this stage and enjoy themselves in familiar roles. Dillman is fantastic as Sebastian - following Jack Palance's example of a good UNCLE villain. The women are a pretty non-descript bunch, all pretty blondes etc with no real characters. The best role/s of the film are taken by H.M. Wynant as the 4 circus brothers who help Annie hunt Sebastian down.
One of the best of the UNCLE series - the rule is keep it fun, don't try to be a serious spy movie. Oh - and have a camp bad guy! However why do the vast majority of UNCLE titles have to be meaningless? The film is called the helicopter spies because it opens with Solo and Kuryakin landing a helicopter in a village.
- "Hard-hitting spin off from the classic Man From UNCLE series"
The seventh Man From UNCLE film was compiled from the season four two-part episode, "The Prince Of Darkness Affair". The TV version of the latter was not aired in the countries where the film was released theatrically.
Agents Napoleon Solo and Illya Kuriyakin are double crossed by a criminal mastermind called Luther Sebastian (Bradford Dillman), whom they hired to help them recover a super weapon. Sebastian plans to put the weapon into orbit and hold the world to ransom.
One of the better feature length outings from this cult spy series, with some fine action scenes and director Boris Sagal brings a much needed hard hitting approach to the material.
- One of the best of the "U.N.C.L.E." movies.
Though the final season of "The Man From U.N.C.L.E." dispensed with the embarrassing campiness of the previous one, it went too far in the opposite direction and was far too humourless and cold to watch. But there was an exception, and it was the two-parter "The Prince of Darkness Affair" from which "The Helicopter Spies" was taken. Not too heavy on sense, but funny without being silly, fast-moving, and always entertaining (which was to be expected, since it was written by the show's best scribe Dean Hargrove). And you have to laugh at the movie's last lines - although note that they spend very little time in helicopters...
- My favourite Uncle
Some episodes of this show have dated badly but this two-parter is still pacy and highly entertaining. U.N.C.L.E. is pitted against, not one, but two megalomaniac supervillains intent on world domination. When the first one perishes, the other takes over (sort of like a relay race). Bradford Dillman is great fun as the pompous baddy, the ultimate failure of his plans greeted with a hopeless shrug by his ageing guru (John Carradine). The climax is typical race-against-time stuff but is staged and scored with great energy. Recommended!
This has got all my favourite bits and quotes in it. The disciples of The Third Way doing a mini-skirted dance to a psychedelic 60's back drop. Mr Waverly doing his usual stilted delivery probably from queue cards. The MFU series always had great villains. Who could forget Jack Palance yelling "Miss Diketon!" And constantly wiping everything with a hanky before use? Here the underrated Bradford Dillman (the 'legend in his own mind' Briggs in the Dirty Harry films) gives his all as Alexander. He's about to end the world when he gets an unctuous call from his wife. "I guess everybody knows now, my wife just doesn't understand me" he says. Another favourite is "I like the way you said that, it gives an air of efficiency. Keep it up!" Another villain in a top secret bunker is having women problems as well. "Never trust a women whose always on time, it's always a sign of a much deeper problem" he muses. Carol Lynley sums up the whole opus while about to be fiendishly drowned: "You know, you people are really strange!" But the minor serfs have their moments too. Napoleon Solo has his hair dyed white so as to infiltrate the disciples of The Third Way and the leader takes a shine to him. They are about to embark upon a crazed mission to steal a nuclear missile."You'll still have to ride in the back with the others, I can't show favouritism" he tells Solo. They are convened at a cafe owned by the leader's mother. "Ma, soon I'll be able to take you away from all this" he tells her tenderly. "But I like it here" the old rat bag protests. "Yeah, I know, ma" the leader replies, shaking his head wearily and walking off to his destiny leaving the camera to track into ma's face to deliver her immortal line:
- Woman from M.I.N.I.
Very good Man from U.N.C.L.E. movie. Nice sets. Good action. And Carol Lynley in the shortest skirt I've ever seen on a 1960's tv show.
Cast overview, first billed only:
Robert Vaughn .... Napoleon Solo
David McCallum .... Illya Kuryakin
Carol Lynley .... Annie
Bradford Dillman .... Luther Sebastian
Lola Albright .... Azalea
Leo G. Carroll .... Mr. Waverly
John Dehner .... Dr. Kharmusi
John Carradine .... Third-Way Priest
Julie London .... Laurie Sebastian
H.M. Wynant .... The Aksoy Brothers
Roy Jenson .... Carl
Arthur Malet .... White Hunter
Kathleen Freeman .... Mom
Robert Karnes .... Ship's Captain
Barbara Moore .... Lisa
Runtime: 90 min / Germany:92 min
Color: Color (Metrocolor)