THE WRECKING CREW (1968)
Article 5444 by Dave Sindelar
Directed by Phil Karlson
Featuring Dean Martin, Elke Sommer, Sharon Tate
What it is: Matt Helm movie
Matt Helm is sent out on a mission to recover a horde of stolen gold before the economy collapses.
With all of the spy movies I’ve seen lately, I suppose it was inevitable that I would finally encounter the last of the Matt Helm series, the franchise which put the “eyeing” in “spying” due to it’s high leer content. Actually, it may be due to a tragedy that it’s the last of the series; according to IMDB, Dean Martin was so distraught at the murder of Sharon Tate that he refused to make any more Matt Helm movies, which is why a supposed follow-up, THE RAVAGERS, never happened. Still, I suspect that that explanation may not tell the whole story; if there’s any one impression that I came away with from watching this movie, it was that Dean Martin feels barely involved in the action. Oh, he’s there, all right, but he seems bored and even (if I may say so) drunk, even during the love scenes. And he’s not the only one who seems uninvolved; the movie drags and is full of dead spaces, and I think it’s possible a good twenty to twenty-five minutes could have been cut from the movie without missing anything important. The only one here who seems to be having fun is Sharon Tate as an incompetent fellow agent who continually makes things worse for Matt Helm. I do like it a little better than THE AMBUSHERS, if for no other sake than it isn’t a non-stop barrage of leering and double entendres. But, sadly, this one isn’t much of anything at all, and it has the air of having been one movie too many in a series that had lost its charm. The gadgetry is the main fantastic content. However, I do have one nagging question; what was a shipment of gold being sent from the USA to England doing in train going through Denmark in the first place?