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Condorman Review

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After assisting his CIA buddy with a simple bit of couriering, comic book artist Woody Wilkins is enamoured with Russian beauty Natalia, desperate to defect. Thus he gains the chance to turn his two dimensional creation in three-dimensional reality, and the hero Condorman is born for real.

★★★★★

What strange confluence of events led to the existence of this superhero spoof is probably beyond reasoning, but at one point in the history of cinema Disney, on their creative uppers in the early 80s, decided they needed to make an expensive adventure spectacle for kids centred on Michael Crawford, lately star of pratfalling sitcom Some Mothers Do Have Them. The result, while hardly insulting, is just wearily dumb and obvious, a near-but-not-quite-comedy crow-barred out of Robert Shecky’s novel, itself straightforwardly a Bond parody.

Shot across heartily clichéd European locations — we’re in gay Paris, so shoot at the Eiffel Tower why don’t you? — the story is a dotty fusion of espionage, with various acronymic organisations lining up to work or hinder a star defection, with mock superheroics. Condorman isn’t real, he’s a spoof within a spoof, offering scant pleasure for the eager tots who want to buy into this nonsense.

Michael Crawford seems unsure what director Charles Jarrott wants from him, and fixes on what he is best known for – falling over a lot. Granted a budget by his CIA operatives, he even gets to add condorcars, condorchutes, and assorted condorparaphenalia (adding untold unsold toys to superstore shelves) to swell the whole confused mix of Bondian action, comic book heroics and knockabout comedy. Meanwhile, Oliver Reed doesn’t’ exactly phone in his bad guy ham-it-ups rather than send a disorientated carrier pigeon.

Unoriginal, unfunny superhero spoof with a bewildered cast and an obvious plot.