If your goal is to watch all the movies Clint Eastwood directed because they tend to be more interesting than those he acts in but doesn't direct, you can probably afford to skip this one. It's a miscalculation.Clint stars as Dr. Jonathan Hemlock, the most elitist and least appealing character he's ever played. Hemlock is a popular professor who also happens to be a former government assassin and an expert mountain climber. Oh, and in his spare time he buys stolen rare paintings. He's brought back into service for one last "sanction" when his agency tells him an enemy spy is one of the international team climbing the treacherous Eiger Mountain, which Hemlock has twice tried and failed to conquer.
Some of the training sequences are good — it's obviously Clint himself scaling those peaks and risking his ass — and the climax on the mountain is tense. Before that, though, we watch Clint sleep with or flirt with a variety of women (he's supposed to be like James Bond), and the movie is overlong (128 minutes) and generally insufferable. Clint is morally and intellectually superior to everyone on the screen (the only person he isn't physically superior to is a female Indian trainer — who, of course, betrays him), and once again there's a slimy-homo villain (Jack Cassidy), who even has a poodle named Faggot. Bizarrely, Hemlock takes his orders from a cackling albino who lives in darkness.What makes the movie less offensive than you might assume — its total detachment from its characters — also makes it a tough sit. John Williams' score helps a little.