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Comedy starring Michael Crawford as Woody Wilkins, an inventive comic book writer who turns into a bumbling spy and is catapulted on a jet-setting trip around the world as Condorman, the comic book hero he created. The problems start when Woody falls in love with a Russian agent, Natalia (Barbara Carrera) and sets about helping her defect to the United States. However, Natalia's old flame, KGB agent Krokov (Oliver Reed), isn't about to let his prize get away.
A pre-Phantom Michael Crawford plays Woody, a goofy cartoonist-accidentally-turned-spy in this Cold War-era lark. In Paris visiting his friend, a CIA "file clerk," Woody is sent on a cloak-and-dagger errand and is mistaken for an operative by his beautiful Russian counterpart. She then contacts the agency with the demand that he, and only he, help her defect. Writer adopts comic book persona and voilà: Condorman! This wide-winged hero thwarts the pesky Soviets at every turn. From the old run-down farmer's truck he's driving emerges a flashy race car that outruns a fleet of Russian vehicles. Later, in a Chitty Chitty Bang Bang moment, the car sprouts floaters, allowing the pair to escape their pursuers by sea. Barbara Carrera's Natalia--the true spy of the two--is really just along for the ride. It's Condorman's show, as confirmed by the ending: a shot-filled showdown off the shores of Monte Carlo.-- Kimberly Heinrichs
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As improbably as that sounds, you're best just glossing over it, as thinking too deeply about anything you see will spoil the film further.
It's just stupid, cheesy fun. I loved it as a kid, but I have to admit being a little disappointed at what was really in front of me all the time. I could still appreciate some of it. The gadgets were fun, but Frank Spencer... sorry, Woody Wilkins, can just be a bit annoying. His jokes aren't that funny and he isn't tough enough to carry off being an action hero. I know this is a parody of spy movies in general, but if you want a cheesier spy movie, just watch some of the later Roger Moore James Bond films.
Yes, I loved it as a kid and others who have such nostalgic memories of it will probably get something out of it, too. However, it's unlikely to find a new audience nowadays. If you have an eight-year-old boy, he might like it, but anyone over the age of eight will feel pretty bored by it all.
I'm giving it 4/5 because of how much I used to love it. By today's standards, it's probably no more than a 3/5.
The DVD is encoded in 4:3 format letterbox. (See picture). My old CRT television had a button to zoom those to fill the screen. My modern TV has various zoom functions but unfortunately not one for this situation. So we're watching it in small screen.
Michael Crawford assumes a largely unconvincing American accent and plays Woody, cartoonist and creator of Condorman. He insists that he will only make a stunt part of his stories if it is possible in real life and so the film begins as he is throwing himself off the Eiffel Tower and into the Seine wearing nothing but a pair of plastic Condor wings and some goggles (apparently Crawford nearly killed himself doing this stunt when the currents in the Seine were miscalculated!) Woody's friend recruits him to deliver some documents to a Russian agent in Istanbul, and subsequently she decides to defect but only with the help of the agent calling himself Condorman!
If I hadn't seen this film years ago I think I would have switched it off and written it off as awful but it has happy memories attached for me! The quality is pretty poor (think VHS) but there's a great deal of mileage in a film where Oliver Reed does a terrible Russian accent.
It might be one to avoid unless you have past happy memories.
As others have pointed out it's like a bad VHS tape copy which is a real shame.
Fiddling about with dvd and tv settings may help depending on your setup, I managed to get it so it was just about watchable
Safe to say, it hasn't aged overly well. It is looking a little dated but the plot is still good fun and easy to follow. The film does not drag on and in comparison to most modern films, the character development is over fairly quickly to get into the action. The action is comical and (on the whole) fairly child friendly. It is something my son would probably enjoy. If you like a little nostalgia and can put up with dated visuals teamed with a little hammy acting then it is worth a watch.
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