The plot resembles Goldfinger with Matt's agency, Intelligence and Counter Espionage (ICE), sending the secret agent to recover $1 billion in stolen gold bullion. Villain Count Contini (Nigel Green) plans to flood the financial markets, thus devaluing the economies of Great Britain and the U.S. Throw in some chases, fisticuffs, and plenty of pulchritude and you have The Wrecking Crew.
|Dean sniffs Sharon Tate.|
Martin's film series kicked off in 1966 with The Silencers, which co-starred Stella Stevens as Matt's klutzy cohort (the poster proclaimed: "Girls, Gags & Gadgets! The best spy thriller of Nineteen Sexty-Sex!"). A follow-up, Murderers Row, appeared later that year. It's probably the best of the four films, simply on the basis of a cast featuring Ann-Margret and an over-the-top Karl Malden as the bad guy. Still, the formula was wearing thin by the time The Ambushers (with Senta Berger) was released a year later.
|Elke Sommer's "come hither" look.|
While the karate fights leave much to be desired, they were still choreographed by a young Bruce Lee (granted, he didn't have much to work with). Also, if you look closely at the henchmen in the House of 7 Joys fight, you may notice Chuck Norris (in his film debut).
|Dean takes a look at Sharon.|
Still, decades later, the spirit of Dean Martin's Matt Helm movies lives on. It's hard to watch Mike Myers in his Austin Powers spy spoofs without concluding that he's channeling a lot of Matt Helm.