According to the Disney website:
It’s nonstop comical chaos when a comic book artist bumbles his way into international espionage after adopting the identity of Condorman, one of his comic book characters. When a beautiful Russian spy wants him to help her defect, his life explodes into more fantasy and excitement than all of his comic strips put together!
It’s basically about Woody Wilkins, a man who’s willing to risk his life for a beautiful mysterious woman who’s trying to get away from her ex….
Woody Wilkins, played brilliantly by Michael Crawford, who attempts to live out the adventures and romances of his comic creations in real life. In fact, he says in the film that he refuses to write anything that his characters can’t actually do in real life.
And he lives up to that…in the beginning of the film he nearly kills himself trying out ‘fool-proof” wings when he attempted to glide off the Eiffel Tower but crashed into the Seine River.
His friend Harry (played by the recently deceased James Hampton) is a CIA file clerk, who has been told to pick a civilian to deliver some paper to Istanbul. Of course he picks his pal Woody Wilkins.
Woody meets Natalia Rambova (played by the beautiful Barbara Carrera who is now a very accomplished artist…http://www.barbaracarreraart.com/). Woody, just like in so many romantic comedies, pretends to be someone he’s not…in this case, a spy code named: Condorman. Yes, the Condorman he creates comic books of.
But unlike so many romantic comedies, Woody actually backs up what he says. Enemy agents attack. Woody fights them. Not in a tough guy fighting mode, but more a kin to the comedy fighting sequences in Jackie Chan films.
Natalia is impressed. Gives him a kiss and is gone like a wonderful dream.
She returns to Moscow. Tells her lover/boss Krokov (played by the late great Oliver Reed) about what happened. He is very cold to her. Almost cruel.
For several days afterward, all Woody can think about it the beautiful Natalia. He draws tons of pictures of her and even creates a new super-heroine called Laser Lady.
Back at CIA Paris HQ, Harry’s boss has gotten word that a Russian agent called the Bear wants to defect. The Bear wants the defection done by the agent called Condorman.
Harry tries to convince Woody to do it, but Woody is reluctant, that is until Harry’s boss (the wonderful Dana Elcar) sees the drawings of Laser Lady and then reveals that the Bear is Natalia.
As I said earlier, It’s basically about Woody Wilkins, a man who’s willing to risk his life for a beautiful mysterious woman who’s trying to get away from her ex….
From that point on, we have Woody trying to impress Natalia who is slowly falling for Woody while they try to get away from Krokov and his agents. Including an amazing chase involving Morovitch (played by Jean-Pierre Kalfon) and his skilled killers (driving black Porches) chasing the Condorman themed car in the mountains.
There is lots of action and fun in this movie, but there is no superhero.
Yep, no superhero. In fact, he only dresses in his super suit twice. Once at the beginning and once at the end.
The mistake so many reviewers make is they see a costume and automatically assume that Condorman is a superhero movie. Condorman is more of an adventure/romance film with touches of comedy. If you strip it down to it’s core, it reads this way:
A guy falls for a girl. He pretends to be something more than he is, so he can get her away from her mean ex boyfriend. She finds out the truth and is mad, but his best bud tells her everything and she’s cool with it. Then her ex shows up beats up the nice guy and his pal and takes the girl back. The nice guy and pal go back to get the girl from the mean ex.
It’s my favorite film…and that will never change. If you haven’t seen it or haven’t seen it in a while, take and hour and half and have some fun.
Here’s to Condorman…happy 40th anniversary