"Enter the secret world of the Soviet school for sex spies!" orders the box for [i]Secret Weapons[/i], its' star Linda Hamilton gazing at you like a back-alley floozy as she pulls open her blouse. Sex spies? Cold war paranoia? Sex spies? Name-brand cast? Did I mention the SEX SPIES? Count me in--I was sold even before finding out this baby was released on video in Europe as [i]Sexpionage[/i], possibly the most awesome one-word title [i]ever[/i].
Don't get your hopes up too much, however, as [i]Secret Weapons[/i] is a TV-movie, so those expecting the woman who fought the Terminator to spend much of the film disrobing to reveal her robotic super-breasts that she then uses to pummel Ronald Reagan into a coma may be a bit disappointed. (That's what I was hoping for, anyway.) Instead, we get a fairly entertainingly silly tale of spies, lies and semi-naked thighs that manages some brilliantly uncomfortable moments before veering into mediocre TV melodrama.
Hamilton plays Elena Koslov, a young farm girl living with her great aunt (Viveca Lindfors). She dreams of making it out to the bigs city and away from the long lines for meat when she's recruited for what she first believes to be a position as a translator, but is actually a KGB-RUN SCHOOL FOR SEX SPIES!
I really, really hope that there was actual discussion amongst government officials during the '80s regarding our "sex spy school gap."
So it's off to the sex spy school run by married couple James Franciscus (in what would turn out to be his final film) and a perfectly-cast Sally Kellerman, whose relationship is, at best, George-and-Martha-esque. Fransciscus is an old softie, and Kellerman is a brutal ice queen, which makes her the perfect person to show the new girls the ropes of sexual behavior.
Elena quickly befriends fellow sex spy-in-training Tamara (Geena Davis) and the two go through the trials and errors of becoming a sex spy. (If you haven't noticed, I just love typing the phrase "sex spy.") The class is told that "sex is America's religion"(?!) and is forced (?) to watch a video of sexy women bouncing around as what sounds like the opening chords of the time's blandest pop hits play in the background. They also are made to eat hot dogs and drink icewater--"a favorite beverage of Americans"--and Elena is personally instructed that "mementos are no less a bourgois concept than religion" by Kellerman, who seems to be gearing up for a part in a remake of [i]Ilsa, She-Wolf of the SS[/i].
The most humiliating lessons are saved for the sexual training, which first involves all of the girls disrobing in front of each other in class, which doesn't seem so bad, especially considering they all most likely use the same locker room, but the filmmakers manage to make it the most uncomfortable moment in a TV-movie since Dana Hill got on the wrong side of the camera in [i]Fallen Angel*[/i]. In fact, it's actually more uncomfortable than the scene where Elena loses her virginity to an unnamed Russan cadet--if for no other reason than it doesn't look like she's about to cry.
Eventually the two cadets are released into the wilds of Moscow, where the film turns into a rather bland cold war melodrama. How bland? Well, the box promises a "special appearance by Christopher Atkins," and indeed, this may be the only time in history where the presence of Christopher Atkins actually [i]livens up a movie[/i]. Most of the remainder's running time is spent with Elena wooing American Jack Spaulding (Hunt Block), who turns out to have a problem with the politics of the Soviet Union. Blinded by love and Block's stupid '80s hair, Elena comes to the conclusion that communism may not be the best way for a country to operate and questions her... well, everything, really.
That's not to say that the second half of [i]Secret Weapons[/i] isn't entertaining. It's passable TV-movie stuff, with loads of accents and unbelievably dramatic situations coupled with scenes like Elena almost blowing her cover because she doesn't get her new boyfriend's [i]E.T.[/i] reference. It's just that when you've got a movie about Soviet sex spies starring Linda Hamilton and you've got such a great first half, you build up certain expectations to which a mid-'80s network TV movie probably can't live up.
Still, half a great piece of cold war paranoia that manages to be dated, entertainingly silly and actively good is better than none, and [i]Secret Weapons[/i] has enough Linda Hamilton sex spying and Sally Kellerman hair-flipping to keep most viewers entertained. It may not live up to the promise of the video cover, but it's certainly a lot of fun while it lasts.
[size=1]* -- Does anyone have a copy of this?[/size]