Bionic Review: Wine, Woman and War (1973)
After the original Six Million Dollar Man TV movie, there were two more produced and both of them aired in 1973. The first was called Wine, Women and War and aired on Oct 20, 1973. Here’s an ad from a 1973 newspaper featuring the TV listing for this movie. Lee Majors’ picture is on the right, the blub about the movie is in bold in the far left column.
Wine, Women and War doesn’t go directly to the action, it actually has an opening title sequence. And it’s an awesomely 70s opening sequence with an awesomely 70s theme song by Dusty Springfield. Check it out.
“Catch him if you can, feed him if you can, love if you CAAAAAAAAAAAN! He’s the Six Million Dollar MAAAAAAAN!” Amazing, isn’t it?
So, right off the bat we see a few things that are new. Richard Anderson debuts as Oscar Goldman and Alan Oppenheimer debuts as Rudy Wells taking the place of Martin Balsam. You also notice the absence of Darren McGavin as Oliver Spenser. This movie was sort of an overhaul of the Six Million Dollar Man as far as the cast goes. Only Lee majors would remain. The weekly television series would have been in production at this point as its debut was only months away in Jan 1974. I assume the player pieces were falling into place. The story concepts were still being worked out, though, as the story for this movie is essentially, “What if James Bond were bionic?”. This movie is a complete rip-off of the Bond franchise. Austin is treated as the debonair super-spy.
So the story begins with Austin on assignment in Egypt to steal an arms dealer’s catalog. In classic Bond fashion we see Austin pull off his wet suit to reveal a fully dry tux underneath. Later, during the action, Austin’s female companion is killed. Afterwards Steve is reluctant to go out on another assignment so Oscar arranges for a vacation. However Oscar doesn’t tell Steve that the vacation is actually his next assignment, just manipulated by OSI agents that are following along to look like a vacation. Oscar can be kind of a dick. Although we do get to see Steve mistake a lady who is flirting with him on his plane for a prostitute. That was pretty funny. And plenty of other Bond-like double entendres ensue throughout the movie.
So Steve discovers Oscar’s ruse and stumbles upon the trail of the previously mentioned arms dealer and Steve goes after him hoping to get revenge for his companion’s death. Like I said, all very Bond-like.
Honestly, on one level it totally works. It’s just so absurd and contrary to the Austin we come to know in the TV series that it’s almost fun to watch.
I can recommend this, but honestly, you can’t really watch it as a Six Million Dollar Man movie/episode. It’s a spy movie that just happens to have Steve Austin, the bionic man.