Murderer's Row (1966)

Rating: **
Review Date: 4/2/17
Cast: Dean Martin, Ann-Margret, Karl Malden, Camilla Sparv, James Gregory, Beverly Adams

Matt Helm's second outing is a major letdown that's only occasionally buoyed up by a cute and bubbly Ann-Margret. Super villain Julian Wall (Karl Malden) kidnaps a brilliant scientist and forces him to build a weapon of mass destruction. Once again, ICE agent Matt Helm (Dean Martin) is called out of retirement to save the world. He meets up with the scientist's daughter (Ann-Margret) along the way, and much silliness ensues, including an outlandish hovercraft chase sequence.

The film is disappointing on so many levels, and relies mostly on visual gags, sexual innuendo, and stupid one-liners. Dean Martin plays the role for laughs and is overly goofy, while Karl Malden seems to be having a ball playing a snooty European bad guy. Ann-Margret, Camilla Sparv, and Beverly Adams are all quite lovely with their outrageously long lashes and scandalously short mini-dresses, but their only purpose is to serve as eye candy. The visual effects are terrible and the matte painting composites are laughably awful. Helm's fancy spy gear is designed more for laughs than functionality, and the entire film falls flat from its failure to take anything seriously. I'm curious to see if the series continues along this trajectory or decides to change course.