22 September 2003 | rsoonsa
After an interesting beginning, a disjointed script defeats this effort
The storyline for this old-fashioned action adventure tale is proper raw material for a successful production, and should benefit from having an accomplished director and cinematographer, but a confused point of view and too often fatuous dialogue undermine it. The Florida Straits form that sector through which Cuban expatriates flee toward the United States, and the work opens in 1981 as Major Carlos Jayne (Raul Julia) is depicted as one of a group released from a Cuban prison after 20 years for taking part in the Bay of Pigs catastrophe, all members of which are being welcomed by family, except for the mysterious Jayne. The other featured players are introduced through the gambit of a high-stakes poker game, observed by Jayne, wherein Mac (Daniel Jenkins) wins half of a charter fishing boat owned by Lucky (Fred Ward), and soon Jayne has cooked up a plan whereby the three will return to Cuba for prizes: a lost love for Jayne, and a fortune in gold for the others. A glorious exploit beckons to the trio but they soon discover many obstacles to the success of their expedition, including Fidel Castro's military forces, hostile guerrillas and mercenaries, and harsh jungle terrain. A lack of dramatic continuity is the principal demerit here, for when Julia's role is to the fore, an opportunity is taken to mine his romantically affecting circumstances, but when the characters portrayed by Ward and Jenkins are bantering, their buffoonish wisecracking becomes wearisome. Director Mike Hodges and cinematographer Dennis Lewiston are quite originative at times, the tuneful thematic score by Michel Colombier is appropriate and the costume design under the aegis of Moss Mabry is very fine; however, the film's failure to maintain a textual bearing lays it low.