12 November 2001 | bob the moo
Should be called "some of our cats are missing"
When famous scientist, Dr Lancer, goes missing and then turns up months later looking 40 years younger UNCLE agent Solo is dispatched to find out what is happening by contacting Lancer's fashion model daughter. He starts to uncover a plot run by feminists in the fashion industry. Meanwhile Illya Kuryakin is busy in London chasing cats as he tries to uncover why they are going missing. When the two investigations begin to cross over in the form of a plot to develop a machine that reverses the aging process, the sinister hand of THRUSH in the form of Jordin starts to make itself known.
Another double episode of the UNCLE TV series that has been pasted together to form a film. The plot is, as ever, daft - cats being used in an experiment to develop an anti-aging machine because "cats have the closest aging process to humans"! Cue a convoluted plot that is a bit too muddled to be totally enjoyable but is saved by the sense of fun running through it. The direction of the film is very 60's. It's good to hear the UNCLE music used regularly and cleverly. Cleverly because the music is adapted to reflect location etc whilst keeping the same style - i.e. Rule Britannia when the action switches to London, or a patriotic US theme occasionally. It's good that the music is used to enforce the spoof element of the film.
The actors are of course having fun for the most part. This episode is better than previous "films" where Kuryakin (McCallum) is very much sidelined by Solo (Vaughn). Here he is given a rubbish assignment but he gets a lot more of the comedy and in terms of action and plot involvement it is much more evident that McCallum and Vaughn are on equal footing. Having said that, McCallum gets the short straw by chasing cats over London while Vaughn gets the usual assignment which involves him chasing girls. It's also good for Alexander Waverly (Leo G. Carroll) to have more of an involvement in the action.
The supporting cast is not that great unfortunately - with one exception. The THRUSH villain Jordin is played by Bernard Fox and is a typically English bad guy. He brings a sort of dry humour with his very 'proper' English behaviour (even when killing), he also knows not to take the whole thing seriously. However the main conspiracy brings in a range of minor villains and scientists that it's hard to keep track of, basically none of them really stick in the mind because they are not great characters and have to carry the serious (such as it is) element of the film. This is a thankless task because they are really only providing a reason for the whole film while the leads get the resulting action and comedy. One interesting point relating to casting is that Control/Wanda is played by the beautiful Yvonne Craig (Batgirl!), however in the previous film (one spy too many) she played the same Control role but was Maude Waverly rather than Wanda. It's not that interesting but it's another example of actors/actresses who have played more than one role in the UNCLE series. Special mention of the worst performance of the film - Robert Easton as Bently the Texan who is in it for less than 2 minutes and does the most wooden performance and worst accent in the whole thing.
Overall a daft plot is saved by the spoof aspect of the film. The performances of the leads and the music are all fun throughout and it's difficult to dislike the film even if it doesn't make any sense at all. And I still don't understand why it is entitled "one of our spies is missing" - nobody is missing at all!