Sunday 4 June 2023

Movie Review: Force 10 From Navarone (1978)

Genre: World War Two Adventure
Director: Guy Hamilton
Starring: Robert Shaw, Harrison Ford, Edward Fox, Carl Weathers, Franco Nero, Barbara Bach, Richard Kiel
Running Time: 126 minutes

Synopsis: In 1943, the British Army dispatches Major Mallory (Robert Shaw) and explosives expert Sergeant Miller (Edward Fox) to Yugoslavia. Their mission is to terminate a German intelligence officer embedded with the Partisan rebels as Captain Lescovar (Franco Nero). Mallory and Miller join forces with American Lieutenant Colonel Barnsby (Harrison Ford) and his men, who are on a special mission to sabotage a bridge. Not much will go according to plan for either mission.

What Works Well: Despite a tenuous-at-best connection with The Guns Of Navarone, this sequel is a decent-enough old-fashioned against-the-odds World War Two adventure mission. Harrison Ford builds on his breakout success, supported by director Guy Hamilton and fellow Bond series alumni Robert Shaw, Richard Kiel, and Barbara Bach. Enough double-crosses, lies, and mishaps maintain interest in the Yugoslavian countryside, and the final thirty minutes build to a tense climax. The militaristic Ron Goodwin music score provides a charmingly corny accompaniment to the jaunty vibe, and Carl Weathers adds spirit if not talent in the role of a stowaway soldier. 

What Does Not Work As Well: Why is an explosives expert with a briefcase full of clever bombs sent on an assassination mission instead of the sabotage mission? This and many other logic questions undermine any sense of realism, as Robin Chapman's script, loosely inspired by Alistair MacLean's novel, drifts for long stretches. The characters get sidetracked early and often to pad the running time, enabling some the dialogue and acting, particularly by Kiel and Bach, to stretch beyond hammy.

Conclusion: Assembled from recycled but still functional components.

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