The Ambushers (1967)


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Dean Martin’s third-go-round as super-special agent Matt Helm is, according to most critics, the worst of the bunch of four films that he made as that character.  The films, all based very loosely on a series of books by Donald Hamilton, were never critical darlings, but this one really seemed to take a lot of heat.  At the time it was released, it was just another mildly funny spy spoof with perhaps a few more sex jokes than the dozens of others more or less like it; these days, it seems a little better, mainly due to the Austin Powers films giving the genre, if not actual legitimacy, at least a bit of popular acceptance.

As always with these films, the plot is incidental to the gadgets and the girls, but here’s a quick rundown:  Matt Helm is sent to Acapulco to retrieve an American-built flying saucer that had been stolen by unknown parties. Along the way, there are bras that shoot bullets, poisonous lipstick, cigarettes that emit laughing-gas smoke, a belt that hardens into a hard metal weapon when plunged into water, an inflatable bedroom, and girls, girls, and more girls.

While the film has about the same amount of gravitas as an Elvis movie from the same time period, the theme song and score are ultra-groovy, it never gets boring, the fashions are often hysterical, and the women are all nice-looking.  It’s a relatively breezy way to spend a couple of hours if you’re not expecting anything resembling art in any way.

The links are plentiful today, and all from YouTube…as always!  First, here’s the 60-second TV spot:

Here’s the single version of the vaguely Donovan-sounding theme song from Boyce and Hart:

And here’s the full feature, because you know that really, deep down inside, you want to see it.  But hurry, because full features don’t tend to stay up on YouTube for too long.  Sköl!

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