23 April 2002 | frankfob
Not great, but not as bad as its reputation
I had read Harold Robbins' book "The Adventurers" on a cross-country flight when it first came out, and found it to be a bit more enjoyable than his usual trash--somewhat better written, a more interesting story than usual, different types of characters. So when the movie was released, I figured, "Ah, what the hell, I'll check it out." I must say that I enjoyed this film in spite of itself. The dialog is laughably inane, the acting by pretty much the entire cast is abysmal (star Bekim Fehmiu, a Yugoslav heartthrob, only made a few more films before he deservedly disappeared), if you expected Candace Bergen to do her usual embarrassingly inept job you won't be disappointed, Ernest Borgnine hams outrageously, and there are a host of cameos--none of them particularly noteworthy--by everyone from Olivia De Havilland to John Ireland, most of whom probably took the parts in order to get a free trip to Europe. The film does, however, have a few things going for it. One is the luminous Leigh Taylor-Young. She is absolutely exquisite; her part, though essential, doesn't call for a lot of screen time, but every time she does appear on-screen she lights it up. Also, the battle sequences are exciting, well staged and very convincing; they pick up the film's pace tremendously (the action scenes were shot in Colombia and the extras were Colombian soldiers, who knew a thing or two about what happens in battle). A lot of money was spent making this picture and, unlike many big-budget European co-productions made at the time, it shows on the screen. The photography is outstanding, the European scenery is beautiful, the jungle scenes in "Corteguay" (which were also shot in Colombia) are stunning and the costumes and production values are sumptuous. Besides, it IS an interesting story (the son of a man murdered by a corrupt and oppressive government returns to overthrow that government, only to find that the new government he's helped to install is just as corrupt and oppressive).
All things considered, it's not a bad way to spend a couple of hours. The picture got savaged by reviewers when it first came out, but it's really not all that bad. It's somewhat overblown and overheated, but enjoyable nonetheless. Check it out.