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18 May 2015 @ 03:22 pm
Review: Wine, Women, and War (p-1 of 3)  
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The Six Million Dollar Man: Wine, Women, and War
(1973)





Written By: Glen A. Larsen
DIR: Russ Mayberry

Blurb(from IMDB): After Col. Steve Austin fails to retrieve the contents of a safe owned by arms dealer Arlen Findletter, he takes up a friendly offer of a holiday in the Bahamas. There he runs into Soviet Agent Alexi Kaslov and his lovely assistant Katrina Volana, who also happen to be out to find Findletter. Is it a coincidence, or was Steve's trip all part of one of Oscar Goldman's missions?


Scene 01: We open on flashbacks of Steve’s time as an astronaut and test pilot. In a replay of Steve’s plane crash, we see scenes from a video screen’s perspective. Over this is direct interplay between Steve Austin on the com and Oscar Goldman [who isn’t introduced yet, but it’s his voice asking Steve what is wrong]; Oliver Spencer is neither seen nor mentioned… at all… ever.

Steve is rushed into surgery over Oscar’s reporting to someone [hey, maybe Oliver?] that he’s alive, but has lost his legs, an arm and an eye.

From Steve’s one-eye perspective we see images of Rudy Wells [a completely different one] and Oscar Goldman [who was invisible and unheard in the last movie *cough cough*] discussing Steve’s injuries and the idea of trying the new cyborg technology.

Oscar issues the orders to alter Steve into the world’s first cybernetic human.

*Insert new theme song, but not THE theme song*


Commentary: I really don’t like this song, and will be much happier when we finally settle into the real theme and Oscar’s famous voiceover. What I do think was clever though, was the way that they reviewed Steve’s recent history in the opening credits, while replacing the new Rudy and Oscar into the scenes. It was a nice way, I guess, to get the audience ready for the personnel changes from the last movie. Though I still regret that Darren and Richard never received a scene butting heads with one another.


Scene 02: We next receive a view from the bay at a mid-eastern styled city at night. The city is literally dazzling with light from every window in every building and the city buildings seem to be made of gleaming white stone.

There is a yacht moored just off shore.

We fade into a party as the movie title intervenes.


Commentary: Somebody really overdid the mat work, here. This “city” looked a lot more like it should’ve been on Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, instead. It ends up somewhere between beautiful and silly.


Scene 03: From the ritzy dinner party, a man walks out onto a terraced balcony. It’s Steve Austin. He has particular interest in the yacht and after looking around to ensure there are no witnesses, signals with a light pen [obvs, we think he is signaling this yacht, but we’ll find out that we’re mistaken so it’s a bit confusing].

It’s either close to sunset or sunrise, because a submarine suddenly rises from farther off shore into dim sunlight, as Steve is still signaling out into the deep, dark night. [Oh, really movie? Nice continuity. I’ll assume we’ve got some stock footage going on and it was just something that couldn’t be avoided. Although why they didn’t pick out the stock first and then film the scenes to match the appropriate conditions, I don’t understand.]


Scene 04: He’s suddenly interrupted by a woman, wondering where he’d gotten off to. She admits that the party inside isn’t the most stimulating she’s ever been to, but complains that he told her that he wasn’t leaving until the following day. She tells Steve that she feels like she’s already lost him. They’re in Alexandria.


Scene 05: Out in the open ocean, the sub crew look for a signal from shore with their electronic binoculars. They’re Americans, and Steve is obvs not there for leisure time.


Scene 06: Steve reminds Tamara that she promised she wouldn’t be there this evening and to her puzzlement insists that she slip out of the party as soon as possible.

He returns his attention outward.


Scene 07: In the ocean, the submarine light signals toward shore.


Commentary: These scenes are all kinds of wacky, because the yacht - which we’re about to find out is Steve’s target - is sitting BETWEEN all of this light signaling! WTF. What kinda crappy-assed security men are aboard the yacht that they don’t notice these flashes of light being sent back and forth in an obvious pattern? And are you telling me that with all of those buildings on the seafront, Steve and his support team are just going to assume that nobody is looking out over the waters? And you’re telling me they’re right [or at least nobody sees all of this who cares to report it to authorities anyway]?

It’s just a badly set scene.



Scene 08: Tamara hasn’t slipped back inside yet, and she notices Steve using his pen light in a suspicious manner. She then slips inside with a  silent gasp, leaving Steve unawares that he started signaling too soon to remain secretive.


Commentary: This scene makes you think that we’ll see a scene where Tamara pulls the General aside to warn him, but this doesn’t happen. I’m not sure why they had her see Steve playing with his pen light… unless it was just to emphasize later that she was an innocent who got used by the U.S. Government by playing a patsy.


Scene 09: In the ocean, the Sub Commander confirms Austin’s returned signal and tells the duty officer that he has twelve minutes to complete his mission and be extracted.


Scene 10: On the balcony, Steve ditches his tie and tear-away shirt. His dinner jacket is deceptive and when turned inside out, doubles as a scuba top.





Scene 11: Out in the bay, Rich Man gets into his motorized launch with his servants for the trip to shore. This will be Arlen Findletter, and the interest of Steve’s mission here.

While Arlen is heading toward shore, Steve is bionic-ing his way out toward the yacht.


Scene 12: Out on the sub, duty officer questions the Captain on how they’re supposed to retrieve Agent Austin while avoiding Egyptian patrol craft. Captain says neutrally, but to duty officer’s shock that orders tell him he’ll swim out to them.

Duty Officer complains that it’ll take four hours for him to reach them at their distance, but Captain says that orders claim he’ll do it in six minutes. He retains his careful neutral tone, despite Duty Officer’s jaw hanging open in disbelief.

After a quick scene of Steve still swimming at inhuman speeds, we return to the con tower of the sub. The Duty Officer complains that he’d have to swim around 35 knots to make that timing and that is just ridiculous. Captain agrees and tells him they’ll wait the required now-11-minutes and then get “the thunder out of here”.


Scene 13: Out in the bay, Steve arrives at the Findletter yacht. He begins to slip aboard.


Scene 14: At the same moment, Arvin is pulling up to the dock -- presumably to the party that Steve had just vacated.


Scene 15: Aboard ship, Steve eye-spies a guard armed with a machine gun. As he checks on two guards pacing the deck, he looks at his crude drawing on the arm of his swim vest at a rendered lay out for the ship.

He’s able to slip down into the cabin area unnoticed, as the security men are more focused on watching for unannounced boats approaching [but not looking so far out into the distance that they’d see a submarine’s spotlight signaling suspiciously toward shore].


Scene 16: Out on the sub, Duty Officer updates the Captain that their leave window is eight minutes.


Scene 17: Aboard the yacht, Steve makes it to Findletter’s office. He uses his bionic eye to scan the dark cabin.

[And in this incarnation of the eye, it glows night-vision green.]








Steve spots what he’s looking for, which is a painting on the wall. Naturally, this hides a safe in the wall, which is the real target.


Commentary: I like the musical cues being used for this scene, and the bit of James Bond-y thing going, but this opening mission has a bit too many jumps back and forth to incidental things that we don’t really need. Like shots of the armed guards pacing the decks - which we only needed to establish and they were, they’re not doing anything worth jumping back to check on, and the scenes with the sub crew waiting aren’t actually needed either - strictly speaking.


Scene 18: Back at the party suite, Arlen arrives to be greeted as the guest of honor. Findletter is standoffish toward his benefactor, some General High-n-Mighty.


Scene 19: Meantime, Steve is discovering that whatever he hoped to steal from the safe isn’t there. In fact, all he finds is empty air.


Scene 20: Mr. Findletter shows increased impatience at General High-n-Mighty over throwing such a lavish event before their business has been concluded. This confuses the General mightily, as they followed his explicit instructions for this soiree to the letter.

Mr. Findletter is now confused, as well as annoyed. He imperiously informs the General that he’d sent no wire to him other than his arrival time to meet.


Scene 21: On the yacht, a gunman is patrolling the ship. He spots the water that Steve left behind on the deck and goes below to scan for intruders [without notifying anyone, which seems rather ill-advised in general].

When he arrives at Arlen’s office, Steve hears the deck squeak and is ready for him. Just as guard twists the door handle, Steve kicks the door open. This sends armed guard through the passageway wall, out of the hull and into the drink.





Alas for Steve, not only is this really loud but armed guard reflexively pulls the trigger on his semi-automatic and fires a round, alerting the other guards that something is afoot. They scramble.


Scene 22: At the party, the General is questioning if Arvin did not in fact demand a state dinner thrown in his honor as terms for meeting to seal their deal. Arvin points out that he’s just a businessman and not a pompous head of state, leaving the General to realize that somebody has been playing games.

In the meantime, Steve gets shot at by the yacht guards and seems trapped in the cabins below deck. General High-n-Mighty is pissed at being played for a fool.


Scene 23: Steve is stuck with trying to figure out how to get off the ship and out to the rendezvous point before he’s left behind. Guard continues firing wildly down the passages.


Scene 24: With the angry General interrupting the orchestra playing to vent, the sounds of the gunfire from the bay can now be heard.


Scene 25: For some reason, Steve doesn’t dive out of the hole that he sent armed security guy through just minutes ago. Instead he goes for the fire hose, while Big Mouth Security Agent assures his fellows that they’ve got the intruder trapped below.

Steve uses the hose to blast Blond Security Hottie overboard, then runs, avoiding fire from Big Mouth.


Scene 26: At the party, General rushes out onto the veranda with Findletter lazily following along behind him.


Commentary: I liked Eric Braeden in Colossus: The Forbin Project as the main character, but in this role he’s trying way too hard to come off as some sort of “stick up his ass” arms dealer and it’s a distracting and annoying performance.


Scene 27: Steve dives into the sea. Big Mouth Security Agent sprays the boat with gunfire, managing to hit the gas cap [and presumably the tank behind it] with his automatic gun fire.

Boat goes kablooey.

[It also manages to take out another (stock footage) boat that doesn’t look very similar, is much smaller and is drifting far, far out from the bay where the main action is taking place. Wow. That was some flying debris goin’ on, I guess. (Or just horrible stock footage usage.)]


Scene 28: Arvin and General glare from the terrace at the fiery, smoking remains of the luxury yacht. Arvin Findletter snottily tells the General that he came to sell the General the weaponry he needs to take out his enemies and this is the greeting he receives. He all but accuses the General of doing this to him on purpose, which the General tells him is preposterous.


Commentary: It’s not only preposterous, it’s just stupid. The General would have to be a complete moron to blow up his weapons dealer’s ship before the weapons are delivered. He’d also have to be an inhumanly incompetent dumbass for doing so, while not having guns trained on Arvin. Arvin is an idiot. Or just a jerk who wants to yank his (presumably now ex-client’s) chain. Whatever… this was a dumb scene.

Also, you’ll notice that there are no signs of the henchman, at least one of which is still on board during the explosion. In this TV Movie, Steve Austin is more realistic than in the series [in general] when it comes to using deadly force. In some very early episodes of Season 1 of The Six Million Dollar Man, I believe that Steve kills a few men too, though it’s implied rather than explicit. But then the entire show is made more kid friendly, and Steve goes out of his way not to kill anymore. I always wished that they’d have left Steve as a more hardened agent as a contrast to Jaime who wouldn’t take a human life - agent or no agent. It’s unfortunate, I think, that they softened Steve’s adventures for the kiddies.



Scene 29: In the bay, Steve begins his bionic swim to the extraction sub.


Scene 30: On the submarine, they note the sudden, intense patrol boat activity.


Scene 31: On one of these patrol boats, radar picks up Steve moving underwater. An intercept is plotted.

The Egyptians drop depth charges to intercept the intruder [no one comments on how small the object is]. [Also, stock footage does the heavy bombardment action, also.]

Steve gets hit with the blast from one such charge and is spun around, stunned. At the sub, Captain is told they have two minutes to dive.

The Egyptians/[Stock Footage Navy] continue with their depth charging, while U.S. Submarine Captain and Duty Officer consider the likelihood that they’ll be recovering their package. Captain gives the order to stand by for dive, while Steve is being pummeled by a second shock wave.

Egyptian radar man tells his Captain that the target is still moving and the Captain takes a look for himself. He notices that the swimmer is moving more than 35mph [hmm… I don’t think a Naval man would use that measurement at sea under any circumstances] and berates his radar man as having been firing at a shark. Radar Man informs him that it’s the only thing moving underwater and Captain decides that the frogman must’ve made it to shore.


Scene 32: Out at sea, the American Captain just decides their swimmer didn’t make it when Steve swimps [swimming limply - I'm claiming a new word] up to the sub for rescue. Meanwhile, Radar Man informs his Captain that their ‘shark’ just rendezvoused with another larger target.

That target dives, leaving the Egyptian Navy to ineffectively try to chase.


Scene 33: Aboard the sub, Steve has been taken to sick bay. Captain is met by the first officer and told that a medical chopper is on its way to evac Colonel Austin.





The unconscious Steve is showing his bionic circuits. The Sub Captain informs his first officer that all of them are ordered to forget everything that they’ve seen forever.



TBC

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