HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
Morfalous, Les
Dreambuilders
Everything Went Fine
Lux AEterna
Rum Runners
Fairy and the Devil, The
Mad God
Outside the Law
I Remember Mama
Superman Unbound
Lawrence of Belgravia
House Across the Lake, The
Wonder Park
Hornsby e Rodriguez
Operation Mincemeat
5 Kung Fu Daredevil Heroes
Scoob!
Earwig
Offseason
Peau Douce, La
Double Indemnity
Na Cha and the Seven Devils
Deep Murder
Superman vs. the Elite
Adam Project, The
Osamu Tezuka's Last Mystery of the 20th Century
Horse, La
Buffaloed
Train Robbers, The
Let Sleeping Cops Lie
Abominable
Funeral, The
Burning Sea, The
Godzilla Singular Point
Ace of Aces
Innocents, The
Beast and the Magic Sword, The
Last Hard Men, The
Found Footage Phenomenon, The
Night Trap
   
 
Newest Articles
3 From Arrow Player: Sweet Sugar, Girls Nite Out and Manhattan Baby
Little Cat Feat: Stephen King's Cat's Eye on 4K UHD
La Violence: Dobermann at 25
Serious Comedy: The Wrong Arm of the Law on Blu-ray
DC Showcase: Constantine - The House of Mystery and More on Blu-ray
Monster Fun: Three Monster Tales of Sci-Fi Terror on Blu-ray
State of the 70s: Play for Today Volume 3 on Blu-ray
The Movie Damned: Cursed Films II on Shudder
The Dead of Night: In Cold Blood on Blu-ray
Suave and Sophisticated: The Persuaders! Take 50 on Blu-ray
Your Rules are Really Beginning to Annoy Me: Escape from L.A. on 4K UHD
A Woman's Viewfinder: The Camera is Ours on DVD
Chaplin's Silent Pursuit: Modern Times on Blu-ray
The Ecstasy of Cosmic Boredom: Dark Star on Arrow
A Frosty Reception: South and The Great White Silence on Blu-ray
You'll Never Guess Which is Sammo: Skinny Tiger and Fatty Dragon on Blu-ray
Two Christopher Miles Shorts: The Six-Sided Triangle/Rhythm 'n' Greens on Blu-ray
Not So Permissive: The Lovers! on Blu-ray
Uncomfortable Truths: Three Shorts by Andrea Arnold on MUBI
The Call of Nostalgia: Ghostbusters Afterlife on Blu-ray
Moon Night - Space 1999: Super Space Theater on Blu-ray
Super Sammo: Warriors Two and The Prodigal Son on Blu-ray
Sex vs Violence: In the Realm of the Senses on Blu-ray
What's So Funny About Brit Horror? Vampira and Bloodbath at the House of Death on Arrow
Keeping the Beatles Alive: Get Back
   
 
  Ambushers, The Watch out, Matt Helm's about
Year: 1967
Director: Henry Levin
Stars: Dean Martin, Senta Berger, Janice Rule, James Gregory, Albert Salmi, Kurt Kasznar, Beverly Adams
Genre: Musical, Comedy, Action, Trash, Science FictionBuy from Amazon
Rating:  4 (from 3 votes)
Review: If Benny Hill made a spy movie it would probably look a lot like The Ambushers (1967). Whether that’s a good or a bad thing comes down to personal taste, but the third Matt Helm movie has a sorry reputation born from its curmudgeonly inclusion in Harry and Michael Medved’s book “The Fifty Worst Films of All Time.” As usual this ditches pulp author Donald Hamilton’s hardboiled plot in favour of frothy James Bond spoof. At a training camp for wannabe spies we’re introduced to the Slaygirls, a troupe of scantily-clad sex-bombs field-testing the latest Cold War gadget: a device that drops men’s trousers. “That’s usually when they’re most dangerous”, remarks one foxy femme.

Enter Matt Helm (Dean Martin), making out with a young trainee back at his bachelor pad. In a move that demonstrates the sheer coolness of Dino, he uses his own top ten hit “Everybody Loves Somebody, Sometime” to get her in the mood. Beat that, Mr. Bond. Matt promptly does a double-take when the girl unveils a pair of, ahem, fully-loaded bra-guns (which suggests the makers saw The 10th Victim (1965)), dallies all too briefly with his delectable secretary Lovey Cravesit (Beverly Adams - couldn’t they give her more to do in one of these films?), before some semblance of a plot kicks in.

America’s latest experimental flying saucer is felled by a tractor beam and its pilot captured and terrorized by a shadowy organization in Mexico. That pilot is Sheila Sommers (Janice Rule), now a shell-shocked wastrel unable to interact with anyone except Matt Helm. Identifying beer brewer Jose Ortega (Albert Salmi) as having a hand in the saucer abduction, I.C.E. (Intelligence and Counter Espionage) boss Macdonald (James Gregory) sends Matt and Sheila south of the border to retrieve the spacecraft and trace the enemy agent who tortured the latter. Their glamorous Mexican resort turns out to be overrun with death-traps - including a memorable vat of beer from which an overjoyed Matt is “forced” to drink his way out - and deadly double-agents like slimy Quintana (Kurt Kaznar) and sexy Francesca Medeiros (Senta Berger).

“Worst Film Ever” is a phrase bandied all too casually nowadays, usually by people who haven’t seen nearly enough movies that are truly bad. Nine times out of ten they’re talking about films that aren’t so much bad as mediocre. For this writer, a working definition of a bad film is one so repugnant and lacking in entertainment value it instantly fills you with hate. With an arsenal of fabulous Sixties fashions, silly sex gags, crazy gadgets and gorgeous women, The Ambushers is far too watchable to qualify as one of the worst movies ever made, even if it isn’t an especially good one.

The narrative is somewhat lazy, tailored around its clearly disinterested star, but scattered with spots of laughter, style and sexiness - usually whenever Senta Berger is onscreen - keep things amiable. Dean Martin is essentially going through the motions, but wakes up for one amusing sequence involving a Mexican firing squad or whenever he’s required to make the moves on some dishy starlet. Co-star Janice Rule tries her best but seems out of place, while the plot criminally wastes Eurospy veteran Senta Berger. Looking especially glam, Berger vamps it up and spars ably with Martin, yet typically for a Matt Helm picture is cold-shouldered amidst the chaotic climax. For an example of Berger’s range beyond simple spoofery, check her out in The Quiller Memorandum (1966).

Of course, no Matt Helm movie would be complete without a little dig at Dino’s Rat Pack pal Frank Sinatra. The Ambushers closes with him once again breaking out his old record, yet struggling to romance a British, blonde dolly-bird dressed in - to paraphrase James Bond - a flimsy little nothing she’s almost wearing. Whereupon “Strangers in the Night” plays on the radio and suddenly, she’s all over him. “I didn’t know you liked Perry Como that much”, gasps Matt. Take it or leave it, that’s the level of wit you’re dealing with here and if you thought Dean was coasting, wait till you see The Wrecking Crew (1969).

Click to watch the movie

Reviewer: Andrew Pragasam

 

This review has been viewed 33364 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (1)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Darren Jones
Andrew Pragasam
Graeme Clark
Enoch Sneed
Mary Sibley
  Desbris M
  Sheila Reeves
Paul Smith
   

 

Last Updated: