Plot: What’s it about?
After the success of The Guns of the Navarone, author Alistair MacLean was asked to pen a follow up novel, but chose to write a direct for the screen edition instead. Once that draft become lost in the abyss that is the film industry, MacLean went ahead to write the novel for the story, which become his seventeenth novel to sell over a million copies. Of course, Hollywood was all to ready to snap up the rights to make a screen version, but over a decade would pass before the movie was shown on screens across the nation. While the storyline may seem simple in my brief synopsis, it isn’t, I’m just trying to keep from ruining the tension and suspense of the film intact. The Allied forces in World War II have been placed in one of the darkest periods of the war, a time when the Germans are marching through Europe claiming victories right and left, and there seems to be little hope of stopping their rampage. But the Allied forces are aware that in times of war, a single strike can change the course of the entire war, and U.S. Colonel Barnsby (Harrison Ford) thinks he knows just where to strike to shut the Germans down. The mission is very dangerous and success would call for the most skilled men in the forces, and Barnsby knows the right men for the job. Right after their stunning victory at Navarone, the Force 10 squad is called on once again to come through in the clutch for the Allied forces. If anyone can do it, it’s this team, but can even they pull of this risky of a mission?
Whenever a sequel to an acclaimed film is made, of course, comparisons will be made, and this is no exception. The Guns of the Navarone is a classic not only within the war genre, but movies as whole, so the sequel would have some large boots to step into. Now, when compared to Guns, this movie loses some of its luster. But when taken as a single film, it stands as a solid war movie, with excellent writing and good performances. I believe that the movie been made a little sooner after the first, a stronger bond between the films would have been forged, but the elapsed time put some fences between the two films. Had the same actors made the roster of the second film, that would have worked wonders for the follow up, but alas after seventeen years, the prospect of playing the same character is grim, especially when little time elapses between the stories in the films. The visuals in this movie are outstanding, with some fantastic sweeping landscape shots that are pure eye candy. I recommend this movie to fans of the genre and also those who enjoy suspense/action fare, and the disc is worth the cash, so a rental or purchase should be in order.
While this follow up was written by the same author as the first, that’s where the similarities end. The literary aspects remain the same, such as setting, tone, and characters, but a new director and cast stepped into the realm of the Force 10 squad. Who do you want to direct a movie that mixes covert military operations with some great action sequences? How about a veteran James Bond director? I think it’s a match made in heaven, and the results show that the choice was a wise one. Guy Hamilton, who directed Goldfinger, Diamonds Are Forever, Live And Let Die, and The Man With The Golden Gun was chosen to helm this picture, and he does a tremendous job. On a side note, Hamilton also directed the cult classic Remo Williams: The Adventure Begins. The actors chosen for the film also turn in fine performances, led by Harrison Ford (Star Wars, Random Hearts), Robert Shaw (Jaws, The Sting), and Franco Nero (Django, Django Strikes Again), a personal favorite of mine. The supporting cast for this movie includes Edward “Ed” Fox (Shaka Zulu, Never Say Never Again), Richard Kiel (Moonraker, Happy Gilmore), Barbara Bach (Caveman, The Spy Who Loved Me), and Carl “Apollo Creed” Weathers (Rocky IV, Action Jackson).
Video: How does it look?
Force 10 From Navarone is presented in a 2.35:1 widescreen transfer, which is not enhanced for widescreen televisions, with a full frame version included the flip side of the disc. While the transfer supplies a less than stellar looking image, this is the finest visual presentation the film is likely to see. The main flaws reside with the source material itself, such as grain and flecks, which can be distracting at times. The transfer is good, with natural color scope and flesh tones, although the contrast levels wander onto the dark side a little much, obscuring some detail to a minor degree. But the transfer is also responsible for some of the image’s woes, with some slight shimmering present. When the source material is taken into consideration, this stands as an above average transfer, but it could have been better.
Audio: How does it sound?
As with most mono tracks, the audio is limited from the start, so don’t expect miracles here. You will find a well mixed track that allows for good element separation, which is all you can ask for from the mono format, I think. The effects have punch, well as much punch as mono can pack, and the dialogue is consistent and crisp.
Supplements: What are the extras?
The disc includes the theatrical trailer, and some production notes can be found in the insert booklet. In an interesting turn, the widescreen version of this film contains eight extra minutes of footage, so I suppose that counts for something, right?