Sunday 4 June 2023

Movie Review: Firepower (1979)

Genre: Crime Action Thriller
Director: Michael Winner
Starring: James Coburn, Sophia Loren, O.J. Simpson, Eli Wallach, Anthony Franciosa
Running Time: 104 minutes

Synopsis: Wealthy New York socialite Adele Tasca (Sophia Loren) seeks revenge when her husband, a medical researcher, is assassinated. Suspicions centre on reclusive criminal billionaire Karl Stegner, believed hiding in Antigua. The FBI's Frank Hull (Vincent Gardenia) leans on shady businessman Sal Hyman (Eli Wallach) to bring fixer Jerry Fanon (James Coburn) out of retirement. Fanon and his colleague Catlett (O.J. Simpson) are hired to find and capture Stegner alive, but their target will prove elusive.

What Works Well: Director Michael Winner delivers action set-pieces, explosions, and chases on land, at sea, and in the air, at regular intervals and in sparkling Caribbean locations. James Coburn is a commanding presence in a role rejected by both Clint Eastwood and Charles Bronson. Instead of acting, Sophia Loren settles for posing in a succession of fetching outfits. 

What Does Not Work As Well: The unnecessarily complicated plot lacks any emotional depth and quickly becomes an impossible-to-follow, going-through-the-motions exercise. Useless distractions include Fanon's body-double, the entirety of Eli Wallach's role, Adele randomly switching her affiliation back and forth, and a brother-in-law side-story. The secondary bad guys are uninteresting and the real villain is kept under wraps, robbing the action of a compelling counterpoint.

Conclusion: Noisy, attractive, and empty.


All Ace Black Movie Blog reviews are here.

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