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  • The third movie about Steve Austin is a lot closer, in content and tone, to the long-running television series that followed.

    Movie #1 is a serious affair. It's great. A classic. Movie #2 is a desperate attempt to rip-off the Bond movies and it falls flat. But this time out, Steve's womanizing antics (and tendency to have a quip for every occasion) have been toned down and the story is structured more like a typical SMDM episode, where Oscar gives Steve a difficult mission because nobody else could accomplish it. Also, the fact that Steve is partnered someone who has 'powers' of some sort is an element found in several episodes from the series.

    The movie opens with Steve on a successful rescue mission. Someone important has been cancelled. Steve gets them back, but does not capture the bad guys. We can see, however, that these bad guys are a vast organisation and, before long, they have added another victim to their kidnap list. Someone who was under the personal care of Oscar Goldman.

    The script goes into great detail with all of this. And it makes for good viewing. It doesn't slow things down at all, in fact the pace is very fast.

    Steve is soon on the case. One of the evil henchmen died in the kidnapping (there's a nice bit of storytelling to all of this, also) and Oscar and Rudy have found a scientist who has been working on a way to take memories from dead people. It's an imprefect science but she's volunteers to help. She's putting her life at risk, and this later comes back to haunt her, a plot development that allows us to see the colder side of Oscar Goldman.

    So Steve and the woman (the wonderful Elizabeth Ashley) travel around Europe on the trail of the kidnappers, while Terry Carter gets a subplot which shows how he moves the ransom to the designated drop-off point.

    John Vernon and Maurice Evans get some great scenes, and Leif Erickson is typically great as the victim.

    All in all a very enjoyable movie.

    And a rare one, too. Most DVD releases of this material are of an incorrect version. Thanks to a DVD boxset called El Hombre Nuclear I was able to see the real deal, not some stupid botched re-edit.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    As the third and final of the Six Million Dollar Man pilot films (before it become a weekly series in 1974), Solid Gold Kidnapping is definitely the lesser of the selection. And if you're unfortunate enough to watch the re-edited version that was created to turn an already overlong 90-minute movie into two full hours, you might wonder why they even bothered making a series!

    That said, as a longtime fan of the show, I found it interesting to see the show in its early stages of development. At this point they still weren't sure whether they wanted to make Steve Austin a superpowered James Bond or not, and in this film you see him going through quite a bit of 007's playbook, from sleeping with an enemy (and turning her to the side of right) to chasing down a villain on board a giant cargo ship, you can see the experimentation going on. (Fortunately, this time around the writers kept a lid on some of the Bond-like puns and quips that made the script of Wine, Women and War worthy of more than a few groans!)

    There's also very little by way of bionic action. Aside from a cool sequence where Austin throws himself bionic arm-first through the windshield of a car trying to run him down, and a pointless use of the bionic eye (pointless because he uses its night-vision in a fully lit bedroom!), there's not a lot of workout for the $6 million in evidence.

    There are some good points. Luciana Paluzzi -- herself a veteran of the Bond films -- is attractive if underused as the Contessa (whose role in the whole kidnapping affair never is really explained), and Elizabeth Ashley gives the show's best performance as a scientist who resurrects the memories of a dead man by implanting his brain cells into her head! This is actually classic sci-fi stuff, but it's not really handled in the best way, especially when the film introduces the jeopardy that she might go mad from the implantation, but never follows up on this.

    You can tell that, just as Wine, Women and War test-drove a few potential co-stars for Steve Austin, so too does Solid Gold Kidnapping clearly give Ashley's character a tryout, along with Terry Carter (later of Battlestar Galactica) who plays Oscar Goldman's rather hapless right-hand man. Neither actor or character returned for the subsequent series, but you can tell either could have continued.

    There's also some revision in Oscar and Steve's relationship in this film, Richard Anderson plays Oscar more warmly than he did in the previous film, in the process setting the template for the character and the Steve-Oscar friendship for the rest of the series. On the other hand, he and Rudy Wells are surprisingly combative towards each other -- something we'd rarely see in the series.

    But as I say, try to see the unedited movie version of this if you possibly can. The re-edited version is comical in an almost Ed Wood fashion, especially when the first 10 minutes of Part 1 are basically cobbled together using stock footage from other episodes, with overdubbed dialogue that doesn't come close to matching the lip movements of the actors ... it's horrible, though Part 2 is nowhere near as awkward, which saves this from getting all-around condemnation.

    Solid Gold Kidnapping, in either its original or edited form, isn't one of the best Six Million Dollar Man outings, and certainly isn't recommended for newcomers, but if you're an experienced bionic fan interested in the development of this show, it's worth seeing at least once.
  • Had it been pared down to a single episode of the series, the Solid Gold Kidnapping would be passable, but as a full movie it leaves a lot to be desired. There is a large amount of obvious stock footage from many sources and a plot with no surprises or suspense.

    On the plus side, guest star John Vernon makes a very good villain, the evil organization is interesting although a bit glossed over, and they do attempt to discuss the philosophical implications of bionics in a way that isn't quite as silly as you'd expect.

    All in all, though, it's missable. If you're a big fan of the Six Million Dollar Man, you still might want to see it after you've seen the rest of the series and it's TV movies but don't set your expectations too high. This is just an average episode with enough extra filler to make it 90 minutes long.
  • When "The ABC Movie of the Week" aired the very first "Six Million Dollar Man" movie, I really don't think they were looking to turn it into a TV series (though many of their movies were intended as pilots). However, the public loved the film and so they made another--with some new cast members and a few plot changes. In pretty much every way, "The Six Million Dollar Man: Wine, Women and War" was like the later TV series--with the same TV cast. So by the time "The Six Million Dollar Man: The Solid Gold Kidnapping" came along, the idea for the upcoming series was set...and the film looks an awful lot like an extended TV episode. This is no complaint...just telling you about what to expect from this and the previous film--with Richard Anderson playing the boss and Alan Oppenheimer playing Dr. Wells.

    When the story begins, an international kidnapping syndicate (very much like Spectre in the Bond films) is trying kidnap yet another top US government official but it appears as if the OSI has out-thought them. 'Appears' is the right word...for soon after congratulating themselves on their cleverness, the man really is kidnapped! Naturally this calls for Steve Austin...but the problem is that they have no real leads. The only chance is doing a weird experiment where they inject a dead man's brain cells into a willing guinea pig. Dr. Erica Bergner (Liz Ashley) believes in the theory so much she elects to get the injection and they use fragmented memories she's recovering to look for the baddies (led, of course, by John Vernon who ALWAYS plays evil jerks!). The trail leads to Switzerland and Steve has to be careful...because this organization is NOT particularly nice!

    There are some interesting guests in this episode including Maurice Evans (from the "Planet of the Apes" films and "Bewitched") as well as Leif Erickson (as the kidnapping victim). But the most interesting guest is Luciana Paluzzi who starred in "Thunderball" as Largo's sexy and murderous henchwoman. Considering the Bond-like qualities of the film, this is an interesting choice of guest stars.

    Overall, very entertaining and worth seeing. I have not seen the regular episodes of the series since the 1970s and really cannot compare this film to them.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Although I've seen the pilot movie and Wine, Women, and War in both movie and two parter formats, I've only seen Solid Gold Kidnapping in its 2 part syndicated version. I actually don't have much to say about Lee Majors third outing as Colonel Steve Austin, who by this time, appears to have eased into the role of government weapon and Bionic Man and he and Oscar seem to be getting along better in this movie as opposed to the previous one.

    My favorite scene is when the villains try to kidnap Steve, the first fight we see is where Steve uses his left hand and fist for fighting since he's still used to using one real limb. The second time around he used his Bionic arm and that fight scene is shot, but awesome!!

    My final comment is the three villains. That one guy Roger Ventris reminded me of what Bill Bixby looked like around the time he was doing the Courtship of Eddie's father series. The late John Vernon whom I remember playing villains in various shows and voicing over various cartoon characters was the second big villain, Beck, who killed Roger. Finally, it recently dawned on me who the old man was that was the top of his organization was. Marice Evans was a villain called the Puzzler in the 1966 Batman TV series.

    Other than that, this third pilot movie feels like your average episode of the Six Million Dollar Man. The kidnapping of Diplomat William Cameron is enough to put me to sleep and since the slow motion and bionic sound effects were not present in these early shows,Solid Gold Kidnapping is pretty dull for me.
  • Third TV movie that led directly to the subsequent series again sees Lee Majors return as Col. Steve Austin, who is on another secret mission for his boss Oscar Goldman(Richard Anderson), with the help of Dr. Rudy Welles(Alan Oppenheimer) which has him rescuing kidnapped diplomats, which is the specialty of a criminal organization that is holding them for ransom, and now targets Steve for termination after identifying him as a threat. Elizabeth Ashley plays another Dr. helping him with this task. Mostly mundane film may have worked as an episode, but is fatally overlong at 73. minutes. Awful returning title theme song doesn't help, but at least would be dropped soon!
  • The third flick about Steve Austin just before the series started. Where the second flick made use of the bionic sound here it is again left out. Even the slow motion parts when he uses his bionic powers are left out. For me this third flick moved way from the series. Also still no sign of the use of his bionic eye.

    What annoyed me the most was the editing. It is clearly to see that this version available in the box of series volume 1 is re-edited but really worse. You can see their mouths move while they say nothing or you could easily see that sometimes voices where overdubbed. And the weird close-ups of Steve Austin and others are so strange. They doesn't offer anything, they even used some freezes of eyes to include while listening.

    Still, the script itself is okay with again an James Bond look-a-like macho Austin with a bit of comedy. I was more into the second flick but this is also worth watching. Almost 40 years old and still standing were so many other series from way back in time failed to survive.

    All characters are the same as in the second flick, even the actors are the same.

    Gore 0/5 Nudity 0/5 Effects 2/5 Story 3/5 Comedy 1/5