Thursday, November 22, 2012


Solo: "Do you mind if we look around? We've never been in a real Geisha house."
Kuryakin: "Speak for yourself."

I watched THE KARATE KILLERS yesterday, yet another MAN FROM U.N.C.L.E. "movie". This one is really the two-part "The Five Daughters Affair" from the show's third season.
A scientist has come up with a formula for extracting gold from sea water. THRUSH agent Herbert Lom wants it. He kills the scientist and his widow (Joan Crawford in a scene that was probably shot in an hour or less) looking for the formula. Turns out pieces of the formula are in the possession of the scientist's five daughters who are scattered across the globe. Solo and Kuryakin, along with one of the daughters, Sandy (Kim Darby), take off to find the other daughters and the missing information. They're trailed by Lom and his army of assassins, the titular "karate killers".
Along the way, they meet Telly Savalas and Curt Jurgens (two actors who would eventually play villains in James Bond films), British comic actor Terry-Thomas and the lovely Jill Ireland (who was at the time, Mrs. David McCallum before she became Mrs. Charles Bronson). The first part is episodic and lightly played. Once the pieces have been assembled, the clues point to Japan, where everyone heads next. The climax takes place in a THRUSH outpost above the Arctic Circle where Solo and Kuryakin save the day and Lom is covered in gold.
THE KARATE KILLERS isn't bad. There's a great opening sequence involving one-man helicopters attacking Solo and Kuryakin in their sleek, gull wing sports car. The women are fetching (of course) and the action fairly well-orchestrated. It's not the worst MAN FROM U.N.C.L.E. movie but it's no better than average, routine fare. I enjoyed it but I can only recommend it to die-hard U.N.C.L.E. fans.

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