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  • Unusual blend of action adventure and comedy: 4 typical white-collar Californians (led by Brolin), fed up with barely making it, head down to the jungles of South America to steal a cool $5 million out of the safe of a drug kingpin (Coburn). But, as they soon find out, and the audience is a step ahead of 'em, getting in was the easy part. Besides the drug lord, who has a police force on his side, the 4 buddies also contend with a gang of bandits (led by Quinn, ornery in that good-natured way). Lindsay Wagner, formerly the Bionic Woman, pops up as a weed-smokin' American trapped in a jail cell. And that's just the start of the fun.

    This was completely ignored on release; I saw it back then in '81 and was puzzled why no one else did. It's even more baffling that not even a cult appreciation has surfaced in the past 20 years (and no quality DVD - drat!). The filmmakers managed to present the 4 guys out of their element as stumbling and with a loser mentality, but not stupid, so that you're on their side all the way, and you have to admire the daring - the gall, really - of what they're attempting. The whole point is to stop losing, to come out winners, and somehow or other, you feel they'll stumble their way there, eventually - maybe. The picture treads the line between slapstick comedy and real action: there are moments when one or more of the 4 are in serious danger. There are some fine chase scenes around the exotic wilderness and, in the gun battles, though hardly anyone gets hurt, it feels kind of lifelike (there ARE deaths), since most people miss in real life too, unless they're an expert marksman.

    The performances are all great. Watch Coburn when first confronted by the 4 dudes. He's a master of his domain, serene in his power; who are (?) these 4 bozos tying me up in my own mansion, he thinks. You get the feeling throughout the film, this is the way it would really happen; no well-timed explosions, no clichéd formula for escape, just a rough-and-tumble forward momentum. There's a great scene which shows how it would go if you really tried to knock someone out in real life - it's not as easy as in the movies. And, there's no real mystery for me about the ending; the whole story depicted a rush of one step forward and two steps back. The end, which may not be the end, just leaves the viewers with a final question mark - are they about to take two steps back again? If this had been a big success like "Romancing the Stone," a sequel would have answered it. But we really don't need a sequel. Each viewer can make up the next scene for these guys in their own minds.
  • Talk about an independently produced film! This one's a wonderful example of how hard the indies work, and what good movies they make.

    How they ever convinced a cast like this to go sweat it out in a jungle, I can't imagine. James Brolin shines, but so do they all.

    And I still can't believe they got somebody to handle a snake that BIG just for a 5-second shot, which you better believe they captured in one perfect take, 'cause that snake was headed for home the instant they released it!

    This is a fine, light hearted action film, fast paced, well written and plotted and with a lot of depth. Each actor obviously got way into his role, especially Anthony Quinn. And those whacko airplane pilots! The old C-47 STILL RULES!!!
  • I absolutely love this film! Whenever I have theatre nachos (which is not often) I think back to 20 years ago when I fell in love with this forgotten gem at the Meridian Quad theatre in San Jose. That's what I ate during the film. They went together perfectly. I had the original one-sheet poster hanging on my wall for awhile. Many people who saw the poster had no idea this film even existed. If it ever comes out on DVD, I'll purchase it. Anthony Quinn was priceless as the bandit Mariano; and Borgnine's one scene is a classic! I recommend it to anyone looking for a genuine diamond-in-the-rough eighties film! Just terrific!
  • Don't be surprised if you've never heard of "High Risk." I know few people who have. But if you like adventure and excitement with some humor thrown in then this is your ticket.

    James Brolin stars as one of four friends sick and tired of working hard and being paid little. They decide to take a trip to Colombia to steal money from a reputed drug lord. According to plan they'll walk in, get the money, and head back to the states via two airplane pilots they've hired that more resemble Cheech and Chong then they do pilots. Naturally, things don't work out as planned and the chase is on.

    The reason you may never have heard of this film is that it was released back in 1981 for a one week only stint. It happened to be the week before another action film opened I'm sure you've heard of - "Raiders of the Lost Ark." This film got lost in the hype.

    So go out and find this movie at the local video store (the television version is usually butchered). You won't be disappointed.
  • This movie has everything! Shootouts, planes, bandits, drug dealers, great locations, and most of all, a really good bunch of actors at the top of their game. When four buddies try to rob a big time drug lord, Murphy's Law comes into play and everything goes wrong. James Brolin has never been better, as the determined leader of a group of suburban losers who want to strike it rich, and James Coburn is excellent as the drug lord. Bruce Davidson, Cleavon Little, Ernist Borgnine, and Lindsey Wagnor are all good, and Anthony Quinn stand out in an exceptional performance, reminding us what a good actor he really is.

    There's enough action for two Rambo movies, as lots of lighthearted comedy. My favorite scene is when Brolin gun-butts a guard, and the guy doesn't just fall unconscious like everybody always does in the movies. Instead he grabs his head and starts yelling, and Brolin has to hit him again. The director takes conventional action scenes we've seen million times, like whacking a guard, and makes them original. It's hard to believe he went on to direct Mac & Me, a really silly E.T. ripoff.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    • Four regular guys come up with a plan to rob a South American drug lord of $5 million. The money is locked inside a safe in a heavily guarded compound. Getting to the money proves to be fairly easy. But getting away is another story. In addition to the drug lord's men, the guys are chased by a rebel army who would like to get their hands on the money.


    • It's amazing how good this relatively unknown movie really is. I had never even heard of it until I found it in the $1 DVD bin at Wal Mart. The plot and cast (James Coburn, Anthony Quinn, Ernest Borgnine, Cleavon Little, James Brolin, Lindsay Wagner) looked good, so I decided to "risk" a whole dollar. The movie is definitely worth spending $1 to see.


    • The movie reminded me of Romancing the Stone - similar setting, similar South American bandits, etc. The biggest difference is that High Risk has a harder edge to it. I mean some of our "heroes" actually get shot and there's a real danger they won't make it through the movie.


    • I've read that High Risk was released the same weekend as a little, insignificant movie called Raiders of the Lost Arc. Too bad. It looks like High Risk got lost in the shuffle. It definitely deserves a wider audience.
  • A group of unemployed auto-workers decide to rip off a South American drug lord in this very enjoyable "blue-collar-guys-on-a-mission" movie.

    In the wryly amusing first act the desperate group of amateurs tell their wives they're going fishing for the weekend. Then they buy a crap-load of guns from Ernest Borgnine.("You guys aren't going to be doing anything to hurt any animals, are you?" he asks before selling them the weaponry.) Finally they hire some sketchy mercenary-types to fly them to South America, with a promise to return in two days. What could go wrong?

    James Brolin has the right flinty charm as the nominal hero.("I sold everything I own for this deal! I sold my house, my car, hell, I even sold my damn dishes to raise the money for this!" he snaps at one point when morale is flagging.) Cleavon Little, Chick Vennera and Bruce Davison provide reliable 2nd banana support. Lindsay Wagner is sparkly and sweet in her role as a hippie they meet and help spring from jail during the course of their misadventures. James Coburn smiles like a shark in his cameo as the vicious drug lord. But it is Anthony Quinn as a feisty bandit/revolutionary who could've stumbled in from The Treasure of the Sierra Madre who steals the show. He is clearly having fun and it is infectious.
  • I am a long time fan,and i feel this movie has the best surprise ending of any I have seen.Really good character devlopment,it is certainly a REPEAT VIEWER,but stay with it until the very last or you will miss out.Some of the best action and dialogue are in the closing scenes.
  • This is a good action movie that was over looked because Raiders of the Lost Ark came out at the same time. Hard to find a video, but it is an excellent comedy-action movie.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    The best, most successful and entertaining heist movies are the ones that roll up their sleeves, spit on their hands, and promptly get down to thrilling brass tacks with topmost immediate urgency and a refreshing lack of momentum-killing pretense. This crackerjack number sure does the above cited correct thing in a neatly taut, streamlined and economical manner thanks to Stuart Rafill's proficient direction and a laudably terse, padding-free script. Four desperate, engagingly scruffy and nervous unemployed blue collar schmoes -- rugged macho man James Brolin, agreeable go-along-to-get-along nice guy Bruce Davison, funky black smartaleck Cleavon Little and excitable worrywart Chick Vennera -- go to South America to rob a sexy $5 million from casually ruthless drug lord James Coburn (who's fine in a juicy villain role which allows him to radiate calmly malevolent menace from every laid-back evil pore). Of course, the caper doesn't go off without any foul-ups occurring: Little and Vennera are nabbed by Coburn's flunkies while Brolin and Davison run afoul of a comically inept bandito gang led by the ever-hammy Anthony Quinn. Okay, so the basic premise isn't terribly original. Fortunately, the swiftly efficient execution, lots of spot-on sassy humor, perils aplenty, and the uniformly sound acting fully compensate for the admittedly trite story. The vastly underrated Brolin once again proves he's got the essential rough'n'tumble stuff to cut it as a sturdy action lead, Davison, Little and Vennera lend expert support as Brolin's plausibly reluctant and out-of-their-element pals, erstwhile Bionic Woman Lindsay Wagner further compliments the already pretty jungle scenery as the token feisty extraneous babe, and Ernest Borgnine contributes a funny cameo as a bluff illegal arms dealer. Trim, rousing and well worth checking out.
  • This is a great movie for 30-40-50-somethings and anyone who remembers Borgnine, Coburn and Quinn (probably won't appeal to the youngest generation - they won't get it). Great performances from James Brolin, Bruce Davidson, Cleavon Little, Chick Vennera and Lindsay Wagner. Cameo appearances from Ernest Borgnine , James Coburn and Anthony Quinn. Pretty much non-stop, roller-coater action from the get-go and it just keeps building up until the very end. Best of all is the ending. I won't spoil it, but you don't often get a drama/action movie with a such a happy ending. And that final quirk!? Watch it - highly recommended! Be warned, however, that the DVD transfer is absolutely awful.
  • Headlining this all-star, action-adventure are four modern-day Robin Hoods, out to steal from the rich and give to themselves. They parachute into a steamy South American jungle; locate the secluded compound of a notorious Colombian cocaine dealer; get past a veritable army of his sentries; cooly break into his safe and remove five million beautiful dollars; make it through a rain forest hotly pursued by armed guards with attack dogs; survive an encounter with a crazy band of greedy revolutionaries; zigzag through a hail of bullets at a wild airstrip rendezvous to escape in a plane with most of the money intact...without getting themselves killed.
  • You have to admit that HIGH RISK has a once in a lifetime cast. What other movie gathers together Ernest Borgnine, James Brolin, James Coburn, Anthony Quinn, Lindsay Wagner, Bruce Davison, and Cleavon Little? (Though Borgnine only briefly appears, and Coburn more or less has an extended cameo.) It's fun to see all these actors together, and there is additional merit to be found. The movie shoots on some picturesque Mexican locations, and there is some excitement in the action sequences. The script, however, is kind of a muddle - it's never really explained how the protagonists got the information about the drug lord, his compound, and his safe. That wasn't a real problem for me, but there is still a problem with the movie, and that is with the protagonists. For some reason, I found it hard to sympathize with these fellows - they came across as greedy and not that desperate for money. Also, they make some really stupid decisions along the way, stupid acts that even an amateur in real life wouldn't make. Recommended only when you can't find a better movie.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    (There are Spoilers) Fed up with working for a living and getting nothing for it, except bills and parking tickets, in these high inflationary times four buddies from L.A decide to help themselves and well as the War on Drugs. The four plan to travel down to the steaming jungles of South America and rip off one of the top cocaine dealers on that continent Serrano, James Coburn, thinking it would be a piece of a cake. It wasn't and thats what makes the movie worth watching.

    Hard to take yet very entertaining film that has these four soldiers of fortune, together with a little cute white poodle, lead by tough as nails Mr. Stone, James Brolin, get not only involved with the Serrano drug cartel but a gang of mountain bandits. The bandits are lead by by their bumbling and butterfingered leader Mariano, Anthony Quinn, who during the entire time on the screen is seen suffering, depending on the mood he's in, from either a very bad case of saddle sores or of poison ivy in his you know where.

    Breaking into Serrano's hacienda Stone and his three buddies Dan Rockney & Tony, Bruce Davidson Clevon Little & Chick Vennera, are shocked to find out that the wily Serrano changed the combination to his safe where he keeps his ill gotten gains, 5 million in US currency and about 20 kilo's of cocaine. Being the determined bunch that they are the four grab Serrano, with what seems like dozens of his bodyguards out to lunch, and force him to open it.

    On the run with the Serrano mob as well as the paid off police and military hot on their tails the four split up in the jungle with Rockney & Tony ending up getting captured by Serrano's boys. Later Stone and Dan, who escaped with the cash, get caught by this band of kooky bandits lead by the even kookier and inflamed butt hurting leader Mariano. All is not lost when jailed by the police Rockney and Tony get acquainted with another American languishing in the prison cell next to them Olivia, Lindsey Wagner. All soon escape with both Tony and Rockney losing their shirts, as well as their pants, in the process and make it to the prearranged spot, the jungle waterfall, where their to be picked up and rescued by a cargo plane.

    Back in the hill country Stone and Dan end up being worked over by Mariano's men who used their diet of beans hot tamales and high fiber food to their advantage, by gleefully and sadistically breaking wind in their faces, in torturing the two helpless and tied up men. It wasn't until the little dog, who was left behind at Serrano's hacienda, showed up and untied Stone by biting through his hand tied rope that they made their escape without the 5 million,that Mariano and his men took from them; only to come back and rip it back off from Mariano that very night.

    The film builds up to it's very happy ending with everyone involved in the big drug & money rip off, including the cute little dog, making it out alive from the jungle, and back to the good old USA. Those out to get and do them in both Serrano and Mariano as well as their bands of bandits drug pushers dealers and enforcers are left holding the bag to the very satisfying music, five years before Arnold Schwarzenegger used it in his action movie "Raw Deal", of "I can't get no Satisfaction".
  • Warning: Spoilers
    I first watched the movie while, my father was posted in Panama CZ, and it was a really great and fun film. I had to work at it, but I did get a copy of it on VHS much later. Last year, 2007, I found the film being sold as dollar movie at Wal-Mart, I of course bought about four or five copies. You might still be able to find some out there, if I see anymore I'll probably buy additional copies. The actors are pretty good for what had to be a cheap film, and 'Adios Airlines' will always be in my vocabulary.

    The film starts out with a couple, four, out of work guys meeting an arms merchant. They buy some guns, chosen more for the looks on the screen than a logical evolution for an assault, but then these guys aren't really crooks they're just out of work guys trying to pay their mortgages. After flying down to S.America, Adios Airlines really makes the film special, they parachute in, make their approach to their target, hit the target and that's when everything goes wrong. They end up tangling with Revolutionaries come hill bandits, meet some gays in jay, end up cross dressing, meet a new love their life and end up in some cool shoot outs, more realistic for the amount of ammo expended for noting hit than anything else.

    In many ways, the film should be a classic but has been overlooked by most. Anthony Quinn and Ernest Borgnine along with James Brolin really make the movie. It's probably the movie the brought me to appreciate Anthony Quinn, when I was young and I still enjoy getting the movie out and watching, the plot hasn't been used since and was really original at the time.
  • All you gotta know is that the DC-3 in the film is flown by "Addios Airline" and has a big marijuana leaf painted on the tail. What a cool film

    Borgnine's best line "It's not how many bullets you fire - It's what you hit with them that counts"
  • This film has Peckinpah character actors throughout, sometimes in cameo roles. There are Peckinpah shots and Peckinpah edits throughout. There are Peckinpah themes throughout. When it looks like a duck and walks like a duck and quacks like a duck - I'm not saying he's the genius directing the whole film; but if he had nothing to do with it, I'll eat my shotgun. And I'm certainly not saying this is a great, or even a good Sam Peckinpah film. But it is a Sam Peckinpah film. So why the silence? Especially on the part of Coburn (Pat Garrett) and Borgnine (Wild Bunch)? Well, at the time Peckinpah's name was the kiss of death in Hollywood, especially to himself. And since it's not a very good film, why add more badness to a bad legend? But this is a Sam Peckinpah film, shot after Cross of Iron and before his brief resurrection working with Don Siegal, and it has some interesting stuff in it. Peckinph fans pay note.
  • Really liked this flick when I was only 10. Hadn't seen it since then and even stole a gag from it for something I was writing. Just found it at Amoeba in the bargain bin for 2$. Had to see if that gag was as funny as I remembered. It was. The ending, however, I can't explain. Sorry. Still, I enjoyed the performances and how silly that the dog kept finding them all over the country, then ended up racing down the runway with them in the end. The bad James Brolin wig on the matador double was great. The escape from prison with the little boy was also a nice bit, an old gag taken to a higher level. This film enjoys being a film and that's what I like about it.
  • windboyz3 April 2005
    I caught this flick on cable back in the day. It will have you laughing your butt off while biting your nails off. A dramidy, a comma. I'm not sure, but it mixes the best of drama and comedy to produce one of my favorite films. James Colburn, Ernest Borgnine and the Bionic Woman play bit parts because they knew this one would be FUN! Remember to think twice before you decide to go to Columbia to rip off a drug lord. Especially if he's got a mean streak. Then remember that you have to get home alive with the swag before the wife finds out that the fishing trip you went on ran into a few snags. My favorite moment, out of many favorite moments is when, to shut up an unsuspecting guard that our brave heroes run into while executing a not so smooth getaway, one of them hits the guard over the head with a gun to knock him out. The result is not the one anticipated.
  • I am surprised by the fairly low rating of this fine movie. Yes, the budget was clearly not very high, but the film is exciting and very well acted and directed. It doesn't have flashy special effects, but those have really become a colossal bore in current films.

    This film combines some good action with humor and a sense of comradeship among the amateur adventurers. One of the best aspects of this movie is that you feel like the guys are normal and rooted in the real world. There is a down-to-earth feeling about this whole movie,which makes the dangers the guys encounter much more vivid. If you like adventure combined with humor, give this one a try.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Great little film I first discovered via Siskel and Ebert back when they were on PBS. This was a small little film that was kind of being dumped into theaters with no fanfare and the pair both liked it and recommended it. The film has suffered since then and apart from some screenings on cable not long after it came out, this film has been seen no where other than the discount bargain bin. Don't let the cheap price fool you this is an excellent little film about four friends who decide that they can make quick money by parachuting into South America and robbing a drug lord. The robbery goes off pretty much as planned, however the trick is for them to get to the plane home as they are chased by various factions who all want the money. Good action, with a nice sense of humor and of danger this is a spiffy little movie that you really need to search out. I have no idea why this film isn't better know especially since th cast headed by James Brolin, Ernest Borgnine, James Coburn, Anthony Quinn and Clevon Little is excellent. Find this movie ad pay the buck or two and see this. You'll enjoy it
  • This movie pulled me right in. A bunch of guys are bored with their lifestyle, and they decide to go rip off some money from a drug lord in Mexico. Now this is not your lame corny movie. The music is captivating, the choice of actors is A 1, and it shows. Check out the casting - Anthony Quinn, bionic woman, and a pile of other amazing actors. Outstanding performance from everyone on the set - they're all very convincing, and nothing seems out of place. It's got music from the Rolling Stones, but throughout the movie it has a 70's, but not disco uncool, tune that'll keep you focused. I really think this movie should have been recognized a lot more, and I disagree with the low ratings. Give this movie a go, if you can find it. I found it on DVD at a grocery store for $5 in Canada. Sit down with some popcorn or other snack, and savor the moment...
  • This movie does rule. No particular reason, nothing Oscar-winning about it but it's a lot of fun if you ever spent a lot of time in your youth reading "Soldier of Fortune" magazine and dreaming about flying a small plane into dangerous situations.

    Recommended but not a date movie, a hanging-out-with-the-guys-pretending-like-you-still-have-your-freedom movie.
  • RELEASED IN 1981 and directed/written by Stewart Raffill, "High Risk" is an action/adventure about four wannabe soldier-of-fortune Californians who fly down to Colombia to make a commando-like raid on the hacienda of an American-born drug lord (James Coburn) for an easy $5 million, but things don't go as easy as planned. The four-man team is played by James Brolin, Bruce Davison, Cleavon Little & Chick Vennera. Anthony Quinn is on hand as the leader of a motley crew of jungle bandits while Lindsay Wagner appears as a desperate woman who joins the protagonists. Ernest Borgnine has a glorified cameo as an arms dealer.

    This is an obscure action flick that's solid for what it is with little fat. The plot is reminiscent of "Where Eagles Dare" (1968), but with a jungle locale and taking place in the modern era. There are also occasional flashes of amusement, unlike that thoroughly austere WWII movie. It's great to see Lindsay Wagner; I forgot how beautiful she was in her prime (not that she's my type, but she's undoubtedly striking). Quinn was 65 during filming and well plays the part of a desperate-but-likable post-revolutionary.

    The characters played by Davison and Little are too nonchalant and naïve in life-or-death situations to be believable, but that's a minor cavil (and can be defended on the grounds of their greenhorn status); besides, the film moves so quickly that it hardly matters.

    THE DVD I viewed was the "Digitally Remastered" version from Digiview Productions and it was fine for such an obscure flick.

    THE FILM RUNS 94 minutes and was shot in Mexico.

    GRADE: B
  • Warning: Spoilers
    TITLE: High Risk opened in theaters in the United States on May 1 1981 and the time on this movie is 94 minutes. Starring in this movie was Lindsay Wagner, James Brolin, and Anthony Quinn

    SUMMARY: This picture opened in theaters around the country in May of 1981 starring James Brolin as Steve, Anthony Quinn as Marino, The Beautiful Lindsay Wagner as Olivia, James Coburn as Serrano and Ernest Borgine as Clint. This movie is about four Americans that are broke and tired of being poor Steve is the ringleader and gets the other three guys to tell their wives and girlfriends that there going on a fishing trip. So they put the usually things in Steve's truck like sleep bags, fishing poles, nets, and tackle boxes. So Steve and his three friends head down the road until they come to an open field and stops. Along comes Clint who's a side winder who deals in anything from rifles, guns, knives, machine guns and anything else you can use if you're going to drop in on someone. When Steve's three friends find out what kind of firepower there going to need they start to have second thoughts. Steve talks them out of leaving and so they sit and wait until the plane arrives. The plane that there waiting for is going to take them to Mexico where a man named Serrano lives who has millions of dollars in his safe with high walls and guards to watch the place. Therefore, Steve and friends hold up outside of the walls where Serrano hides waiting for the right moment to attack the place. One of Steve's friends has a white female poodle that they lower over the wall to attract the guard dogs in which it does. Therefore, the men go over the walls, sneak in the building, downstairs to where the safe is only to found out that the combination was changed. Therefore, Steve and another man go upstairs to get Serrano to bring him down to open the safe. Steve and his men get the money but while on their way out, they get into s shootout with not only Serrano army but the Mexican Army also and end up in a Mexican Bull Ring with a real live bull. As the men are on the run two of them get caught while Steve and another get away. The two that where caught ended up in one of Serrano cells. Along comes Olivia who has been in one of Serrano cells for a long time. Meanwhile Steve and the man that's with him get caught up by a bunch of bandits. Along comes Marino who's a poor Mexican along with their people who track Steve down and take their money.

    QUESTIONS: Will Steve and the man survive these Bandits? What about the two men that is in Serrano custody? What happens to Olivia and does she ever get out of Serrano cuffs?

    MY THOUGHTS: I thoughts this was a good movie because it did have adventure, action and drama. I bought this movie because Lindsay Wagner was in it. I wasn't disappointed with her acting or how beautiful she is, I was disappointed that it took almost 30 minutes before we saw her. Her talents were wasted in this movie and someone that looks like she does she be the leading actress. On Lindsay Wagner, I give her 10 weasel stars because I could watch her all day. The movie itself I give 7 weasel stars
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