Monthly Archives: November 2012

Oklahoma Crude (1973)

Oklahoma Crude

By Richard Winters

My Rating: 8 out of 10

4-Word Review: They want her land.

Lena Doyle (Faye Dunaway) runs a wildcat oil rig on land that she owns in Oklahoma. She is convinced that there is oil there and protects it with a feisty independence. Her father Cleon (John Mills) decides to hire Mason (George C. Scott) a lazy drifter that he picks up in town. Mason’s job is to guard against the impending invasion of the oil company headed by Hellman (Jack Palance) who wants the land and potential profits for themselves. Lena and Mason do not get along at first, but when Hellman and his men seize the land in a hostile takeover Lena and Mason form an uneasy alliance in an attempt to take it back.

Director Stanley Kramer can be considered overrated by many and I am pretty sure that he and critic Pauline Kael never exchanged Christmas gifts. However, this film has an edginess to it that I liked. The script, by Marc Norman, is full of original scenes and snappy dialogue. The on-going banter between Lena and Mason is particularly good with their conversation of how Lena wished she could be both a man and woman at once and which sexual organ she would favor being the best.  Although the line where is states “You gutless men don’t know your balls from teabags” is good too.

The movie nicely mixes in the feminist issues of the 70’s within the western motif and approaches it in an even keeled way. It was very in vogue at the time to arbitrarily label the male as the chauvinist, but here it examines the strengths and weaknesses of both sides while ultimately showing how both need to rely on the other to succeed.

Dunaway has always been a personal favorite of mine no matter what that silly Hilary Duff says. Is anyone going to remember Miss Duff in 20 or 30 years? I think not. Sure Dunaway can have her bitchy side, but maintaining a career in Hollywood can sometimes create that. Either way her bitchiness is put to terrific use here. Her pouty, icy cold stares that she gives to Mason were alone worthy of an Oscar nomination.

Scott was always known to have a strong and stubborn personality both in front of and behind the camera, so seeing him play a character that is meek and aloof is fun. His performance here rates as his most amusing second only to the one he did in Dr. Strangelove.

Palance again scores as the bad buy. He played a lot of heavies during his career, but this one is his best. There is just something about his deep, raspy voice and leering grin that make him a memorable villain.  Having him wear a bowler hat and black suit along with all of his henchman is perfect.

Mills comes close to stealing the film. The man has some very endearing moments and I felt the idea of pairing his refined British sensibilities along with Dunway’s caustic and vulgar manner was interesting. The scene where he climbs to the top of the oil rig in order to reattach the cable while Hellman and his men busily shoot at him is quite intense.

Why this great movie has never been released on VHS, DVD, or Blu-ray is a mystery. It has many fans and sure to gain more once they see it. The version existing right now on Amazon Instant Video is excellent. It is a widescreen with vivid colors and clarity. It nicely brings out the barren wide-open landscape and although it was not actually filmed in Oklahoma still gives one a good idea as to why the region is called ‘Big Sky Country’.

My Rating: 8 out of 10

Runtime: 1Hour 48Minutes

Rated PG

Director: Stanley Kramer

Studio: Columbia Pictures

Available: Amazon Instant Video

Rounders (1998)

By Richard Winters

My Rating: 3 out of 10

4-Word Review: Gambling can hurt you.

‘One does not find one’s destiny one’s destiny will find them’. This seems to be the moral of this multi-faceted character study that has all the right ingredients, but is incredibly flat.

The story involves Mike McDermott (Matt Damon) a man trying to forge a normal life with a good job as an attorney and a relationship with a pretty woman. Yet he can’t beat his urge to gamble. When his friend Lester ‘Worm’ Murphy (Edward Norton) gets released from jail he finds himself led back into his old habits and his life soon falls apart.

The film wants to take an honest look at the lifestyle of a gambler without taking any shortcuts. In most ways it does an honorable job. It takes a more technical approach to poker playing and therefore makes it more enlightening. The situations seem a bit overly-dramatized, but overall are quite believable. It definitely has insights and is well crafted.

The problem is that it never comes together. Nothing is compelling and the momentum is lacking to the point that it starts to drag. Certain ‘strong’ scenes that are meant for impact end up having no effect at all. In the end it comes off as being too obvious and having too much of a textbook type approach.

Damon has proven himself to be a solid actor, but his character here is bland and colorless. Norton, as his troubled friend, is a little more interesting, but he is trapped in a stale setting. Both men look way too boyish to be playing the parts of seasoned, hardened, ‘been there, done that’ type characters.

John Malkovich is on hand to give an offbeat performance as a Russian born card player complete with a thick Russian accent. At first this is fun, but he ends up overdoing it and eventually makes it too campy. John Turturro gives an amazingly restrained performance, which could be of interest too his followers.

The one scene that really caps this off as being a bad movie for me is when Norton and Damon are caught cheating while playing amongst a large group of off-duty policemen. The police all gang up on them and pummel them in a way that should produce severe life threatening injuries. Instead they are thrown out of the building with not even a strand of their hair being out of place. They have a few streaks of red on their faces that is supposed to be blood, but it looks like paint put on by a paintbrush. Damon goes through the rest of the film with a slightly darkened eye and two scratches around his nose. Everyone comments that he looks like he “got it bad” when I’ve seen third graders with worse looking injuries after a playground fight.

My Rating: 3 out of 10

Released: September 11, 1998

Runtime: 2Hours 1Minute

Rated R

Director: John Dahl

Studio: Miramax

Available: DVD, Blu-ray

Red Dawn (1984)

By Richard Winters

My Rating: 5 out of 10

4-Word Review: Fight for your country.

Due to the recent release of the remake of this film I decided it would be a good time to review the original.  One thing that has always surprised me about this movie is the fact that out of all the 80’s movies out there why this one would remain such a perennial hit to the point of remaking it even though the cold war has technically long been over has always been a bit of a mystery. I know the ladies at my office are young and don’t know many old movies, but for whatever reason they are familiar with this one, which kind of compelled to check it out.

I remember when the film came out many liberals complained that this could never happen and tried to boycott it much like they did with the ‘Amerika’ mini-series that came out a few years later and dealt with the same plot. My position on the matter remains the same, which is freedom of speech comes first and if someone wants to make a movie about a Soviet invasion more power to them and if they want to make a movie about Sweden invading us then they can do that too.

Now with that said I still felt it seemed farfetched. The explanation for how the Soviets were able to invade us so very easily and quickly is spotty, but I guess if you are going to enjoy the film then you’re going to have to overlook it.

The plot consists of soviet troops parachuting out of the sky and shooting up a classroom before taking over the rest of the small Colorado town. A group of teens manage to escape and hide out in the nearby mountains. Eventually they start to wage guerrilla warfare against the invading troops and name themselves the ‘Wolverines’.

I liked the way the teens are portrayed. They are not just a bunch of spoiled, superficial suburban kids concerned with being hip and trendy and talking in some irritating slang. Instead they seem very much like young men growing into being real men. The fact that there are a few casualties and that they change and become hardened by what they go through makes it all the more authentic. I also liked that the two young women they pick up along the way end up fighting and shooting up the bad guys just as well as the males.

Patrick Swayze does a terrific job as the group’s leader. He makes a strong presence and I wished the movie had focused more on him. It is fun seeing Charlie Sheen looking very boyish and older actor Harry Dean Stanton has a good bit as the father of one of the boys who is now imprisoned in a labor camp and instructing them on how to toughen up.

My favorite performance though was Lea Thompson. She is real young and cute. I loved her volatile temper, her willingness to use a rifle without hesitation, and her infatuation with Andy Tanner (Powers Boothe) a much older man who joins them.

I liked that the point-of-view is exclusively with the kids. There is no attempt to show things from the Communist side, or even try to humanize them at least not until the very, very end. They are portrayed as monstrous and evil lining up civilians and savagely shooting them. If there is anything that can resonate with the masses it is emotionalism and this film keys in on it well and I think that is why it has remained a hit. It becomes like a David and Goliath story with the teens showing up the evil empire and disrupting their plans. I found myself rooting for them even though I kept wondering how they were able to find all that ammunition that they use as well as the warheads.

Action wise it is pretty good. It starts from the very beginning and doesn’t let up. In fact this film was in The Guinness Book of World Records at the time for having the most violent acts of any movie. The film averages 134 violent acts per hour and 2.23 per minute. I enjoyed that the special effects are all real and none of this computerized crap like you see today, which to me still looks phony and makes movies seem too much like a video game.

After about the first hour the movie started to drag and I kept looking at my watch wondering when it would be over. The ending had some satisfying elements as they attack the building housing all the leaders of the invasion, but it is not enough. If you take away the novelty of the Communist invasion then this thing is really just a standard action flick that is no better or worse than the thousands of others out there. The only reason to watch this is to compare it to the remake, or vice-versa.

My Rating: 5 out of 10

Released: August 10, 1984

Runtime: 1Hour 53Minutes

Rated PG-13 (The First movie ever to have this rating)

Director: John Milius

Studio: MGM/UA

Available: VHS, DVD, Blu-ray, Amazon Instant Video

The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone (1961)

By Richard Winters

My Rating: 6 out of 10

4-Word Review: Throw keys to transient.

Karen Stone (Vivien Leigh) is an aging actress who is no longer getting the top roles like she used to. She and her husband decide to travel off to Rome for a retreat, but instead he dies of a fatal heart attack while on the plane. Karen then decides to remain in Rome where she leases a luxurious apartment, but becomes lonely and starts feeling insecure about her desirability.  She meets Contessa Madga (Lotte Lenya) who is known in the area with setting up young men with lonely rich older women.   She sets Karen up with Paolo (Warren Beatty) a dashing young gigolo who is only attracted to Karen because of her money and the belief that she will pay him to be her lover while Contessa will get a cut of the profit. Karen does give Paolo a ‘salary’, but remains under the delusion that eventually he will fall in love with her for real.

Although the story moves along at a slow and plodding pace and there is little if any action I still found myself captivated. The script is based on a novel by Tennessee Williams and somehow his stuff always remains strong drama no matter how talky it may appear. The characters and their situations are real. Their fragility and desperation are things many people can sometimes find themselves facing and therefore it makes an impact.

The sets are excellent. Karen’s apartment has a nice mixture of elegance and airiness. I also liked the recreation of the streets of Rome that was done inside a sound stage. Normally I prefer on-location shooting, but when the sets are built in such a meticulous way it becomes almost mesmerizing.

Leigh, in her second to last film role, is solid as usual. Some may complain that she is playing a part that is too similar to her Oscar winning role of Blanche Dubois in A Streetcar Named Desire and to some extent they have a point. It almost seemed like Leigh in her later career was becoming a bit of a caricature, but she does it so well that it is a treat nonetheless. Just watching the way she moves her eyes as she gazes at Paolo secretly flirting with another woman is memorable.

Beatty is equally good. He speaks with an authentic sounding Italian accent and has a tanned complexion. This was the role that established him as a leading man and worth seeking out for his fans.

Lenya is engaging as the wicked Contessa. Most viewers today will know her best as the villainess Rosa Klebb in the classic James Bond film From Russia to Love. I always felt that she was one of the best Bond villains, but the amazing thing is that here she ends up being almost as menacing though in a more subtle way. She exudes evilness with clarity that is both impressive and creepy.

Jill St. John is terrific as Barbra Bingham a younger, more attractive actress who makes no secret about her desire to take-over from Karen’s now fading spotlight. Her bratty, haughty behavior is effectively on-target. Apparently Leigh like her character felt intimidated by St. John’s youthful beauty and refused to say even one word to her during the production.

Spoiler Alert

My only real complaint is with the ending. Paolo abandons Karen and so in a fit of desperation she throws her apartment keys down to a transient who has been stalking her during most of the movie. The next shot has the homeless man entering the apartment and walking towards the camera, but then it fades and we are left to wonder what happened. Supposedly at the time just having a woman throw her keys down to some strange man on the street was considered shocking enough, but I wanted more of a conclusion. Did he kill her, or did they have sex and then start some sort of weird relationship? These are interesting questions that I felt should have been answered and the story’s ambiguity is frustrating.

My Rating: 6 out of 10

Released: December 28, 1961

Runtime: 1Hour 43Minutes

Rated NR (Not Rated)

Director: Jose Quintero

Studio: Warner Brothers

Available: VHS, DVD

Unman, Wittering, and Zigo (1971)

By Richard Winters

My Rating: 7 out of 10

4-Word Review: These students are killers.

John Ebony (David Hemmings) leaves his job in advertising to follow his dream of becoming a school teacher. He gets a job at an all-boys private school in rural England replacing a teacher who died accidently by falling off a cliff. His pupils soon tell him that they were the ones who killed the teacher and they will do the same to him if he doesn’t do as they say. John can’t find anyone who believes him even his own wife Sylvia (Caroline Seymour) laughs it off. Soon John finds himself a virtual prisoner of his own students and forced to follow their dictates while he tries to figure out who the ringleader is and bring them to justice.

Director John Mackenzie does a terrific job of building the tension slowly. The film works at a deliberate pace allowing the viewer to see things from John’s point-view-of. The slower pace keeps things realistic and therefore more effective. Geoffrey Unswoth’s cinematography is vivid. I loved the way the steep cliffs are captured at the beginning and a camera is thrown off the cliff making the viewer feel like the victim as they see the landscape swirling on screen before completely submerging in water. A nightmare sequence where John dreams of being accosted by the boys in much the same way as his predecessor is visually exciting. The on-location shooting at an actual private boy’s school in Wales only helps to add to the authenticity.

The students themselves are quite effective and much better than their counterparts in the similar Child’s Play where they came off as too robotic. Here they have more diverse personalities. Their snarky behavior and the taunting both to their weaker peers and to John was so on-target that it made me feel like I was right back in high school. Their polite and formal facades are a thin veil to their sinister side that becomes increasingly more apparent as the film goes on. The pinnacle comes when they lock Sylvia in a darkened gymnasium and threaten to gang rape her. The lighting, done exclusively with flashlights and the frenzied action make this a memorably creepy moment.

John makes for a solid protagonist. The viewer can feel and understand his unique quandary and the character is believable enough to help make the movie engrossing from beginning to end. My only quibble would be near the end when the boys ask him to come with them to look for one of the students that have disappeared and he agrees. I thought this was a little hard to believe as it was right after they had tried to attack his wife and the search was being done near the cliffs, which would put John at a vulnerable risk.

The twist at the end is a bit of a surprise and is overall satisfying. Despite what is stated in the review in Leonard Maltin’s ‘Movie and Video Guide’ there is no revelation of any kind after the closing credits. I have seen this film now twice from two different sources and both times the only thing that comes after the credits is the Paramount logo.

My Rating: 7 out of 10

Released: June 13, 1971

Runtime: 1Hour 42Minutes

Rated PG

Director: John Mackenzie

Studio: Paramount

Available: Amazon Instant Video

Scanners (1981)

By Richard Winters

My Rating: 7 out of 10

4-Word Review: His head will explode.

Scanners are people with strange psychic powers that can not only read other people’s minds, but also kill them and even move objects with their brainwaves. A corrupt group of scanners lead by Darryl Revok (Michael Ironside) threatens world domination. Dr. Paul Ruth (Patrick McGoohan) who works for a company that is trying to stop these dangerous people finds a scanner named Cameron (Stephan Lack) that Darryl’s groups is seeking, but has not yet located. Ruth trains Cameron on how to hone in his scanning powers and then track down Darryl’s group and destroy it.

Director David Cronenberg is still in my estimation one of the premiere cult/horror directors around. It is one thing to make a great horror movie when you have a big budget and state of the art special effects, but it is another to make an effective movie when you have little to work with and yet Cronenberg has continually shown that a creative imagination can triumph over all else. He has also shown a refreshingly daring vision throughout his career and seems to have no hesitation in tackling taboo subjects.

This film proves no exception. The story is quite creative and there are continually new and surprising twists thrown in. The special effects are excellent and imaginative. I loved the protruding, blood spurting veins coming out of the arms and heads of Cameron and Darryl during their intense scanner showdown at the end. The melting telephone receiver isn’t bad and off course the exploding head is memorable and deserves its place in the annals of gross cinema history.

With that said I still felt the film could have done a better job at setting up the story. It starts right away with a lot of action before anything is explained and makes things confusing. Some sort of prolog in this case would have been appropriate. Everything also seems rushed. This is a great plot with interesting scenarios and I as a viewer wanted a little more time to soak it all in, but wasn’t given any. The sets and backdrops are redundantly dark and grimy and lack visual design. Overall the film has a seriously dated look and although there are way too many films being remade these days and some that are not necessary this is one movie were I would advocate it especially if done with a high budget and a competent director.

Stephan Lack makes for incredibly weak leading man. He is better known in the art world as a renowned painter and his film career was quite brief. After watching his performance here it is not hard to see why. He has very much of a ‘deer-in-headlights’ look and a voice tone that shown no infliction, or emotion. His lack of charisma or stature seriously weakens the film’s overall effect and why he was chosen for the part is a mystery.

Jennifer O’Neill is gorgeous as Kim a female scanner who works with Cameron in his quest to find Darryl. The woman, who was a former model, has a face that is so beautiful it is mesmerizing no matter what angle she is shown at or emotion that she is conveying. My only complaint is the small streak of gray that was put into her hair, which I found unnecessary especially since she was portraying someone who was Cameron’s same age, which was the early 30’s.

On the villainous side Ironside certainly has the chiseled threatening features of a bad guy. However, I actually thought that Canadian character actor Lawrence Dane who plays one of Darryl’s spies was actually more effective.

The artwork done by the Benjamin Pierce character (Robert A. Silverman) visualizing giant heads and the thoughts inside people’s heads was really cool and avant-garde.

My Rating: 7 out of 10

Runtime: 1Hour 43Minutes

Rated R

Director: David Cronenberg

Studio: AVCO Embassy Pictures

Available: DVD

Inherit the Wind (1960)

By Richard Winters

My Rating: 6 out of 10

4-Word Review: Don’t teach Darwin theory.

Bertam Cates (Dick York) is a  young school teacher who is put on trial for the teaching the Darwin theory of evolution in the film version of the hit stage play, which in turn was a variation of the famous trial of 1925.

Although labeled a ‘classic’ this film seems awfully stilted and heavy-handed. Everything gets overplayed with too much emphasis on high drama, which in certain instances becomes unintentionally funny. Director Stanley Kramer shows his bias from the beginning and doesn’t allow the viewer to come to their own realization on the issue. The townspeople are the embodiment of every small town cliché you can think of. The buildings that make up the town appear quite obviously to have been built on some studio back-lot. The same goes for the stagy indoor sets as well. Location shooting really helps even if it does go over budget. Just look at this film and then watch Joshua Logan’s Picnic and then decide which one gives you the stronger more lasting impression of small towns.

Fredric March is an accomplished actor, but goes over the top with his performance as the fundamentalist prosecutor Matthew Brady. He plays the character like he is a comical buffoon and uses too many exaggerated gestures and facial tics. Having the character go through a meltdown at the end is almost anticlimactic since he seemed destined for it from the very beginning. George C Scott, who played the same role in the Showtime remake, is much better.

Spencer Tracy as the defense attorney Henry Drummond is great and becomes the film’s main virtue. He is such a master of his craft that he is a joy to watch. He makes it seem all so effortless and natural and yet fascinating at the same time and the character he creates is quite memorable.

The courtroom showdown does allow for some fireworks and the final segment between Gene Kelly and Tracy proves interesting and introspective. The film does have some strong moments, but as a whole it seems kind of clunky.

My Rating: 6 out of 10

Released: July 21, 1960

Runtime: 2Hours 8Minutes

Rated NR (Not Rated)

Director: Stanley Kramer

Studio: United Artists

Available: VHS, DVD, Amazon Instant Video 

Child’s Play (1972)

By Richard Winters

My Rating: 5 out of 10

4-Word Review: Private school is murder.

If you are looking for a review about the Chucky doll then you will have to wait as that will come at a later time. This is the first film to use that title and it is based on the Broadway play by Robert Marasco who in turn based it loosely on an early Ingmar Bergman movie called Torment. The story deals with an exclusive all-boys school where bizarre unexplained random acts of violence begin to occur between groups of students. New teacher Paul Reis (Beau Bridges) becomes determined to unravel the mystery and begins to suspect that it may have something to do with a long running feud between two of the school’s older instructors Joseph Dobbs (Robert Preston) and Jerome Malley (James Mason)

The film opens right away with a nice creepy tone and a foreboding score that immediately got me wrapped up into it. The dark, shadowy lighting of the interiors helped accentuate the sinister feel. It is also great to have the film shot in an actual boy’s school instead of building sets to recreate the look. Just hearing the floorboards creak underneath the feet of the actors as they walk around helps to create an already strong atmosphere.

Mason is terrific. I think it is impossible for the man to ever give a weak performance even if the script itself is poor. He is captivating every time he is on the screen and his ability to display wide ranging emotions without flaw never ceases to amaze me. Everything always seems to come so naturally with this man in all of his performances that you never see the acting, or technique behind it. It is a shame this movie is so obscure because watching his performance alone makes the film worth seeing and the desperate, lonely character that he plays is interesting in its own right.

Preston doesn’t seem as strong. He is a good actor at times, but not for this type of part and having him wearing a moustache doesn’t help. Supposedly the part was originally intended for Marlon Brando, who would have been more interesting, but he ended up backing out.

Bridges is okay as the protagonist, but he has played the role of a wide-eyed idealist coming into an ugly situation while oblivious to all of the dark aspects a little too often making it an annoying caricature.

The movie fails in the fact that it cannot hold the tension and there are too many talky scenes with little action in-between. The students come off as robotic like and the scenes involving them attacking another student inside a gymnasium looks staged and rehearsed. Director Sidney Lumet would have done better had he used a hand-held camera and gotten right in the middle of the fray making it seem more spontaneous and vivid.

I also had a hard time believing that so many students could get effectively brain washed and sworn to secrecy. I could buy maybe a few, but having so many seemed implausible and ruined the film for me. However, the explanation for the cause to the violence is an original one that I wouldn’t have thought up myself. Also, the surprise twist at the very end is kind of cool.

A similar film to this one entitled Unman, Wittering, and Zigo that also came out in the 70’s and dealt with murder at an all-boys private school will be reviewed next Friday and fares a bit better.

My Rating: 5 out of 10

Released: December 12, 1972

Runtime: 1Hour 40Minutes

Rated PG

Director: Sidney Lumet

Studio: Paramount

Available: Amazon Instant Video

La Femme Nikita (1990)

By Richard Winters

My Rating: 8 out of 10

4-Word Review: Don’t mess with her.

Nikita (Anne Parillaud) is a member of a punk street gang who gets caught by police after a particularly brutal gangland robbery. She gets a light sentence only to be given a chance at becoming a specially trained undercover police agent. She takes it and thus begins a very stylized, action packed variation of Pygmalion.

I do have two grumbles, which I will get out of the way now. First it is hard to believe that such a drug addicted, slender built young thing could be so seasoned in the art of street fighting and gun shooting. It is also hard to believe that these agents can always remember the directions they are given of who to shoot and where to go to escape without it ever having to be repeated or written down. I was sitting on my easy chair and I wasn’t sure I had gotten it all especially since it was said very quickly and quietly. Yet our lady hero gets it all even in the stress of the moment.

Outside of that this it is a very entertaining movie. Actually it is a fun movie, a really fun movie. The action is well choreographed and exciting. The editing is crisp. It makes fun of the action genre and even tries to pull it in different directions and yet still delivers the goods at the same time. Each scene has its own tongue and cheek joke complete with set-up and punchline.

The film also has some unique perspectives. It shows how draining a spy job can be both on the person and their personal life. It also reverses the gender roles by showing the woman as being more assertive and the men (especially her boyfriend) as more passive.

One of the funniest elements of the film is Victor the cleanup guy (Jean Reno). He is similar to the Harvey Keitel character in Pulp Fiction, but far funnier. He takes the flippant, gruff persona to new heights.

My Rating: 8 out of 10

Released: February 21, 1990

Runtime: 1Hour 58Minutes

Rated R

Director: Luc Besson

Studio: Gaumont

Available: DVD, Blu-ray, Amazon Instant Video

Southern Comfort (1981)

By Richard Winters

My Rating: 4 out of 10

4-Word Review: Watch out for Cajuns.

A National Guard unit goes on a training exercise in the Louisiana swamps and finds themselves fighting for their lives from a group of vindictive Cajuns that lurk in the woods.

Just about all the characters are obnoxious, unlikable, and incredibly ignorant. These guys have to be the most undisciplined and poorly managed guard unit out there. It becomes like a comedy of errors and one almost begins to side with the Cajuns. The suspense ebbs and flows poorly and most of the time there is no tension at all. The final sequence takes too long to play out until you end up not caring what happens. It would have been better had the Cajuns not been so hidden and given a face and some distinction. It also would have been a better atmosphere had the story taken place in the summer instead of the winter. The film though is really hurt by the fact that it is too reminiscent of Deliverance which is a better film simply for the fact that it created a more lasting eeriness. Also, the sequence involving the killing and gutting of what looks to be a wild hog is just about as gruesome and graphic as the infamous turtle killing scene in Cannibal Holocaust.

On the positive side there is one good scene involving a very intense attack by a group of vicious dogs as well as a nicely photographed knife fight between actors Powers Booth and Fred Ward. The Cajuns are portrayed as being more cunning and clever than in Deliverance, which makes this a little more of a slick thriller. Ward is very good in his role as one of the surly soldiers and Keith Carradine is surprisingly engaging in his part.

Ultimately this is a grade C Deliverance that despite some good attempts just never comes together. It would be best to just watch the original and avoid this one completely.

My Rating: 4 out of 10

Released: September 25, 1981

Runtime: 1Hour 46Minutes

Rated R

Director: Walter Hill

Studio: EMI

Available: VHS, DVD