Runtime: 129 minutes
Directed by: Andrew V. McLaglen
Starring: Richard Burton, Roger Moore, Richard Harris, Hardy Kruger, Winston Ntshona
From: Several British and Swiss companies
By the time this is posted, people will barely have any time to see this before it's gone from Netflix Instant. Eh, at least it can be found elsewhere, both legally and otherwise. I do think it's pretty good, for the record. I explain why below, via my Letterboxd review:
This is another case where I watch something because it's about ready to vanish from Netflix Instant; this movie will be gone a few hours after this review is posted. It always sounded like something I'd dig yet for whatever reason it was just now that I pulled the trigger. Well, it was something I dug.
The plot isn't the most original yet it's fun. A London merchant banker (Stewart Granger) asks mercenary Richard Burton to rescue a kidnapped president in a ficticious African country, but only because it would make him more money; as what sadly happened in real life, “superior” countries manipulated things in “lesser” countries so they could exploit their resources and/or allow for companies to make more money. Anyhow, Burton recruits 50 people (including fellow older men like Roger Moore and Richard Harris) to perform this mission, but of course not everything goes right.
While the story has moments you pretty much predict a lot time before they happen, this is still quite entertaining. Time is spent at the beginning getting to know all these colorful characters; one of them is a homosexual male nurse and thankfully, it was not as cringeworthy in these modern times as it could have been. There's also a racial aspect... one of the mercenaries is from South Africa so of course he is a supporter of Apartheid, yet in dealing with the black President will his attitude change? It's amazing when you find out that a good chunk of this movie was made in a still Apartheid South Africa. Along with this discussion, there's also talk of how these countries being exploited is wrong and the people of Africa need to stick together or else be ruined forever. A nice attempt in an otherwise dopey action flick.
No matter what you think of the politics discussed in this picture, it is entertaining as hell. Once you get to the action, a lot of SOB's die and there's plenty of carnage to enjoy. This isn't like the movies we typically get today; what I mean is, not all of the heroes make it to the end. As I think people should expect this from an older film, it's not that much of a spoiler. I did laugh at how the opening credits looked exactly like those of a Bond movie. I then noticed they were done by Maurice Binder, and no wonder why they were a carbon copy. There's even a Bond-like theme song, this one from Joan Armatrading. It wasn't what I was expecting. At least this movie was what I was expecting, which was an amusing flick with plenty of people playing war and a panoply of combat action.