1 March 2006 | rsoonsa
Fate of Characters Predictable In Film Having No Particular Merit.
If a viewer might have a sense that this film has been seen before, but yet not remembered, it shall be accepted that such a presentiment is shared by most others who may happen to watch it, as there is precious little of originality or, indeed, interest to be found within this production, a rather hackneyed affair that leaves the memory unburdened. Robert Ginty, who also contributes to the screenplay, performs as J. F. Cooper, a building demolition virtuoso who, after being released from his New York employment, travels west to California where he visits with a former Marine Corps comrade, Harry (Cameron Mitchell), the latter cajoling J. F. into joining with him in a quixotic plan to smuggle arms to rebels in an imaginary Latin American nation, Santa Maria, and although Cooper is initially reluctant to join in this roguery, once arrived in the embattled nation, he becomes avidly committed to aid the guerrilla fighters with their conflict against a despotic government, a decision that leads to a somewhat tedious series of "action" sequences. These, shot primarily in the Mexican Highlands, move the film relentlessly forward, with barely a nod to constraints of logic, and there are continuity flaws aplenty, but an abundance of local extras is on board to die in the many scenes featuring explosions and automatic weapon combat that comprise the spine of the work, rationality being sent to the rear as when Cooper, renamed (by a journalist) "Robin Hood" Kennedy, requests use of a helicopter from his ragtag band of peasant companeros and, lo, one immediately becomes available for him. The crew is competent, as is most often the case, and the largely inexperienced extras are put through their paces well by the stunt coordinator, despite their tactical deployment that, in reality, could only result in their shooting each other. The players are a mixed bag, with Ginty a less than charismatic commander of men, Mitchell hamming it up as is his habit, and Olivia D'Abo is fairly ridiculous as a bandoliered rebel soldier, but solid turns come from Henry Darrow, and Merete Van Camp, as a corrupt government functionary, and his wife, in addition to Brooke Bundy in a small role as Harry's spouse, while Jorge Reynoso, owner of a charter for glowering Mexican villains, is consistently malignant.