In Like Flint (1967)
In Like Flint (1967)

Genre: Action Comedy and Spy Running Time: 1 hr. 54 min.

Release Date: March 15th, 1967 MPAA Rating: Not Rated

Director: Gordon Douglas Actors: James Coburn, Lee J. Cobb, Jean Hale, Andrew Duggan, Anna Lee, Hanna Landy, Totty Ames, Mary Michael, Diane Bond, Yvonne Craig

 


 

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ots of flesh is on display in the opening title sequence, which appears marginally racier than even the ongoing James Bond series – which this action comedy spoofs. The music is airier and there’s no famous musician providing vocals, yet the visual design isn’t far removed from the more serious template on which this is all based. It’s also more colorful, imbued with an ever-present levity, but it’s surprisingly not quite goofy enough to appear as a straightforward parody; the project as a whole could almost be misconstrued as a low-budget copycat.

While the President of the United States (Andrew Duggan) and his good pal ZOWIE chief Lloyd C. Cramden (Lee J. Cobb) golf – as part of a celebration for a successful space launch – two young women and a man in a wheelchair orchestrate a grand heist. After 37 facial operations, an exact double has been crafted to replace the powerful leader – and thanks to a chemical that practically causes time to stand still, the switch is made, and the spy is substituted into the White House. Cramden is suspicious, however, prompting him to call upon dependable agent Derek Flint (James Coburn) to get to the bottom of the ordeal.

Flint is still quite the playboy, continuously surrounding himself with new batches of gorgeous women (currently there are only three, rather than five; “I’m trying to cut down”), and he still has limitless resources at his disposal – and countless high-tech gadgets in his paradisiacal New York mansion. Since he lives the life of a retired billionaire, working only as a freelancer of sorts, it seems odd that he’d be available for yet another world-saving mission (it’s unclear if he’s even in the employ of ZOWIE, or if he’s merely a last-resort fixer). And this one is a complicated doozy: Lloyd is in a scandalous set-up, the government is compromised, moles are abundant, nuclear weapons are being shuffled around, security is lax, and a health resort in the Virgin Islands is a front for an all-female brainwashing and usurpation coterie.

The sets and props are still flimsy and unconvincing, as if cobbled together out of styrofoam; the kung-fu fight scenes still betray a considerable lack of actual martial arts skills and obviously pulled punches (and, he’s still a human Swiss army knife, managing even to infiltrate a Russian ballet); the characters, both good and evil, are still terribly incompetent; and the suspense is still virtually nonexistent, as Flint is essentially impervious to harm – and failure. This faithful sequel maintains the pitiful qualities of the original just as much as the absurdity. Clearly, the appeal of this follow-up – and the mini-franchise it establishes – is uninterrupted frivolity.

It could all have been more effective if it was either much severer or much sillier (and that bar is high, since many of the 007 episodes contain a great deal of goofiness). At least the music is snazzy and chirpy. Fortunately, the other main draw is the collection of shapely, mostly bikini-clad ladies – including the likes of Jean Hale, Diane Bond, Yvonne Craig, Jacki Ray, Mary Meade, Mary Michael, and many more (such as a collection of Amazon women who specialize in the art of seduction). But despite some moderately amusing components, such as a cross-dressing routine, a rubber dolphin, and “Operation Smooch,” the picture carries on way too long (going so far as to culminate in a space showdown – and a space threesome), until it’s nearly lost the entirety of its rapidly depleting entertainment value. “You’re really quite intelligent … for a man.”

– Mike Massie

  • 4/10