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  • Director Steve Carver! Action star Michael Dudikoff! An action adventure delight!? Throw in actors Donald Pleasance, Robert Vaughn (both playing Nazis), Herbert Lom and L.Q Jones. Sounding good. Set in the Amazon jungle with its many beauties and but also constant dangers. Oh this should be humidly exciting, but the cheaply produced Cannon production shortly gave way for complete tedium. Carver… tedium? No way. Dudikoff… tedium? Can't be. But it's a yes indeed. Well more so the first 45 minutes (although within that time we are treated with some midget boxing and the intro is cool enough with its atmospheric score) and after that it somewhat picks up in something of a stop and go affair. It took me two sittings to watch it, as the first time I could only get halfway through it before dozing off. Lucky I recorded so I could sit there and try to watch it again, but it did kind of get better the further along it went.

    Dudikoff plays Hamilton an adventurer who becomes an Amazon guide for a doctor and his daughter in their quest to find the origins of a deadly disease that's affecting the natives. There they end up at the lost city, where the doctor is killed and the daughter captured. Hamilton manages to escape and barely makes back to civilisation. There he recovers, gathers a team and heads back to rescue the girl… but others in the party have their own motivations (gold, justice and revenge--hurt feelings) especially the man (Donald Pleasance) backing the expedition who believes a Third Reich Nazi doctor (Robert Vaughn) hides out in the lost city continuing his sadistic experiments.

    The plot is adapted of an Alistair MacLean novel and it comes across as dumb low-grade pulp. It throws around shadily random developments, growing mystic, devious twists (whom playing whom?) and one-note characters (who seem to be looking for death) in a very muddled, paper-thin fashion. Very talkie at times, sluggishly paced and constantly inconsistent, but the action does have its moments. Probably a little too repetitive and not as explosive (but there are numerous explosions). Still it's gritty and unpleasant, as the party when they not flying, hiking or using their riverboat they are thwarted by Amazon pirates, aggressive natives and of course evil Nazis led by a mad scientist (Vaughn is simply wasted here) who just wants to take over the world. Pleasance (who masterfully hams it up "Hey Wolfie") and Vaughn's exchanges are just odd, mainly in the opening sequences which do set everything up. Vaughn's blank, cold-hearted turn suit's the character, but was he really acting. Hard to tell. Dudikoff is acceptable, always having that concern look on his face. Maybe info overload. It was better when he stop thinking and went heroic --- a prophecy in the making. But it wasn't as funny as his croaky narration… please somebody hand him a cough lolly. Director Carver ("An Eye for an Eye (1981)" & "Lone Wolf McQuade (1983)") crafts out an old-fashion stapling, where it's resourcefully executed but lacking the energy and ticker to sustain its long-winded running-time. When not using staged sets, he makes good use of it sweaty locations (South Africa) with some nice scenic shots.
  • Cheesy, Low-Budget, but Colorful Action/Adventure with Scary looking and Color Coordinated Amazonian Tribesmen, South American Nazis Circa 1965, Big Haired Babes, and Non-Actor and Fan Favorite Michael Dudikoff.

    Along for the Fun is Robert Vaughn and Donald Pleasance Playing Dueling Old Fogie Nazis. The Pacing is too Slow and the Action Lackluster and looking Staged, the Film has Complications like Biological Scourges, and a Hidden Jungle City that Go virtually Nowhere.

    The Movie may Take Itself Too Seriously to be much Fun, but it Ends Up being a little Entertaining if You can Get into It. Whether it's Worth the Try will be a Matter of Tolerance and Taste.

    Overall, Average for this Type of Pre-CGI, Direct to Video Stuff. It's a Canon Production and the Hacks there Did and Do Have a Fan Base for this Type of Glossy Trash.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Seen when I was 14, a pretty kid, this Dudikoff adventure flick seemed wildly responsive to my desires from an adventure outing. The result was that I began considering Dudikoff an impressive cult—actor, an impressive action—star, something I've never really felt about, say, Lamas. I passed this conviction on to my family as well—such that a movie like that one (In Her Defense ) where Dudikoff loves Mrs. Marlee Matlin was quite respected. I can say I imposed Dudikoff as an essential movie star in my family.

    I thought RIVER was ideally crafted. Generally, I delighted in such formula movies—the more they conformed to a pattern, the more I liked them—Nazis hidden in South America—how thought—provoking is this? I liked Dudikoff's adolescent, charming air, a strong and handsome lad.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    "Indiana Jones" style late 80s adaptation of Alistair MacLeans' book is a watchable adventure that should have been more fun, as it has some irresistible ingredients. (Like veteran actor Robert Vaughn playing a demented Nazi scientist.) But the execution just doesn't have enough "oomph" going for it. Its action scenes are fine, and the story is a fairly enjoyable one, despite its characters not being terribly interesting, for the most part.

    American ninja Michael Dudikoff stars as John Hamilton, a jungle guide in the late 1960s who takes a doctor (Victor Melleney) and his sexy daughter (Sarah Maur Thorp) through the Amazonian wilderness to a fabled "lost city". When he alone escapes the clutches of hostile native tribes, he feels just guilty enough to want to go back. And there are a variety of parties who want to make the return trek with him, like German "businessman" Heinrich Spaatz (Donald Pleasence) and his associate Maria (Cynthia Erland), each with their own agenda in mind.

    While it's commendable to see Dudikoff step outside his personal comfort zone and try something different, he just isn't enough of an actor to make his character all that compelling. (One can hardly fail to notice that his narrator voice is somehow more gravelly than his speaking voice in the rest of the movie.) Fortunately, heavy hitters like Vaughn, Pleasence (who absurdly sports a wig part of the time), Herbert Lom (as a grumpy and officious police officer), and L.Q. Jones (coming off well in the most colorful role of the picture) do their part in keeping the story alive. Lovely Erland is passable in the most tragic role.

    Striking scenery (this was actually filmed in South Africa) and photography do help to a degree, as well as a fine music score by Sasha Matson. Undemanding viewers may be amused.

    Six out of 10.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Rugged adventurer John Hamilton (a solid and likable performance by Michael Dudikoff) gets hired by a team of shady folks with assorted secret agendas to find a fabled lost city located in the Amazon. Things go awry when the search party stumbles across evil Nazi scientist Dr. Wolfgang Manteuffel (a nicely sinister portrayal by Robert Vaughn).

    Adequately directed in workmanlike fashion by the usually more competent and on the money Steve Carver (whose other much better films include "Big Bad Mama," "The Arena," "An Eye for an Eye," and "Lone Wolf McQuade"), with an often sluggish pace, an overly convoluted script by Andrew Deutsch and Edward Sampson that gets bogged down in rather tedious talk, and infrequent, but still decently staged action scenes, this one has all the essential ingredients -- Nazis, a band of scurvy pirates, a tribe of deadly cannibals, plenty of treacherous back-stabbing characters, and a few okay plot twists -- to qualify as a possible contender, but alas the fairly tepid execution fails to make all these promising elements cohere into an exciting and satisfying whole. Fortunately, a fine supporting cast of reliable veteran thespians ensures that this picture remains watchable: Donald Pleasence as the shifty Heinrich Spaatz, Herbert Lom as the corrupt Colonel Ricardo Diaz, and L.Q. Jones as grizzled old rascal Eddie Hiller. Moreover, there's yummy distaff eye candy in the fetching forms of Sarah Maur Thorp as the sweet Anna Blakesley, Cynthia Erland as Spaatz's sexy secretary Maria, and Foziah Davidson as the tough Dalia. Both Avraham Karpick's slick cinematography and Sasha Matson's moody score are up to par. An acceptable diversion.
  • This thrilling picture deals with an adventurer named Hamilton (Michael Dudikiff) who decides to go in search of the lost city in the Amazon jungle , entering the dangerous world of a forgotten tribe . A motley crew of other people (Donald Pleasence , Herbert Lom , L.Q. Jones) in search of wealth , tripping over Neo-Nazi scientific and war criminals . But to their terror they find out that they have bit off more than they can think . As a Nazi doctor (Rovert Vaughn) , Joseph Mengele-alike , still doing his experiments on people in the same place and endeavouring to reconstitute the Nazi movement from his Amazonian sanctuary by creating an army and a deadly weapon .

    This absurd and mindless adventure/thriller deals with a misfit crew who travels Amazons , being led by star Michael Dudikoff along with other people with reasons of their own decide to join him for the wealth of the lost city . The picture contains frenetic action , thrills , intrigue , shootouts with no much sense and a silly finale . The story is a crossover between Indiana Jones adventures , ¨Boys from Brazil¨ and films about tribes of Amazons . But it results to be too complex to be harmlessly agreeable . The acting of the little interesting characters is unbelievable and unconvincing . Good support cast , though widely wasted , including notorious secondaries such as Robert Vaughn as Wolfgang Manteuffel , Donald Pleasence as Heinrich Spaatz ,Herbert Lom as Colonel Ricardo Diaz and special mention to L.Q. Jones or Justus McQueen who still today playing . Based on an Alistair MacLean's novel , a best-selling author , whose stories have been much better rendered in other occasions . Alistair employed the pseudonym Ian Stuart several times in order to prove that his books were best-sellers due to their content and not solely because his name appeared on the cover. This is one of the several adaptations based on his novels and most of them set in WW2 , such as the successful ¨Where the eagles dare¨ and ¨Guns of Navarone¨ . Furthermore, ¨Ice Station Cebra¨ that is the first of two movies based on an Alistair MacLean novel set in rugged icy and snowy terrain , the second would be ¨Bear Island¨ . ¨Ice Station Zebra¨ is one of two filmed Alistair MacLean adaptations directed by John Sturges , the other was ¨The Satan Bug¨ made and released about three years earlier . ¨River of Death¨ produced in low budget by Avi Lerner and British Harry Alan Towers was middlingly directed by Steve Carver . He's an expert on action/thriller genre such as ¨Capone¨, ¨Big Bad Mama¨, ¨Steel¨, Drum¨ and directed two successful hits for Chuck Norris as ¨Lone McQuade¨ and ¨An eye for eye¨. His last films have been failed as ¨The wolves¨, ¨Dead center¨ and this ¨River of death¨ . Rating : below average . Too ridiculous for the complexity to be worth watching .
  • One of Alistair MacLean's poorest books becomes one of the poorest films based on one of his books in this jungle dud. Michael Dudikoff leads the expedition into the heart of the Amazon, culminating in some silly revelatory scenes in which most of the characters turn out to be someone other than who we thought they were. It transpires that they all have various motives for searching for a Nazi scientist in a lost city, but none of the revelations are very convincing. The actors have done better work, some of them have been in great movies (Donald Pleasance, Robert Vaughn) but none of them would be proud of this. It's purely a case of them taking the money and running. Even the jungle backdrop is under-used. You'd think that a film set in the jungle would at least have pretty scenery and some spectacular photography....but oh no, not this one!
  • This movie is the pits. The worst kind of B film making. The acting isn't bad, but that's not saying much. Robert Vaughn and Donald Pleasance are included in the cast, and sleep walk their way through their respective scenes. Dudikoff doesn't do much apart from wandering about and mouthing his dialogue. There is some gun play and pyrotechnics later on in the movie, but the pace is so deadly slow you probably won't notice. The jungle locale' isn't used to good effect, and the photography is listless. This movie is a pointless exercise in monotony. There is nothing to get your teeth into, the scenario is so uninteresting, it all amounts to very little. Even Dudikoff fans won't be able to find anything redeeming about this outing. Consider the bullet dodged.
  • Michael Dudikoff goes Indiana Jones in this jungle adventure yarn about former Nazi scientists operating in the depths of the Amazon. Okay, so Dudikoff is no Harrison Ford (who is?), but he comes off well as the same kind of hero, even if he doesn't get to do as much adventuring as Indy does. He just sort of walks through the jungle for most of the film, leading a group of people through treacherous territory and avoiding killer river pirates. I've only seen this one a couple times (despite having it on video), but I could never really tell what the point of whole thing was. I guess I need to watch it more closely next time. All I know is former Nazi commander Donald Pleasance (great as always) wants something to do with former Nazi scientist Robert Vaughn, and I know the girl who's part of the team wants revenge on Vaughn for killing a relative of her's during World World II. Veteran character actor L.Q. Jones lends his always-welcome presence in a small role. Based on a novel by Alistair McLean, RIVER OF DEATH is no RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK. In fact, I would say that it's probably my least-favorite jungle adventure movie without a whole lot going for it, other than Dudikoff playing a different type of character, some okay scenes, and some nice location shoots. Even jungle adventure movie fans might be disappointed.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    "Michael Dudikoff as Indianna Jones!", This is a watchable Dudikoff yarn, with fine performances, however the uneven pacing sinks it quite a bit. All the characters are pretty cool, and the story while uneven was not too bad, plus Michael Dudikoff and Donald Pleasence are simply amazing in this!. It never truly bored me and kept me watching, however, it could have been a lot more then just a decent rental!, plus the ending was quite unsatisfying. The opening was really cool, and quite unsettling, and i thought Robert Vaughn was great as the main villain, plus while the ending was unsatisfying it did have a cool little twist in it!. it's no Idianna Jones and far from Dudikoff's best that's for damn sure, however it's still a decent time waster, and Dudikoff is wonderful as the main lead, plus the movie was quite violent at times!. The scenery isn't bad, and it had a cool shootout, plus the dialog amused me. This is a watchable Dudikoff yarn, with fine performances, however the uneven pacing sinks it quite a bit!, worth the watch. The Direction is Not bad. Steve Carver does a decent job here with good camera work, and keeping the film watchable throughout nothing special, but he got the job done. The Acting is very good. Michael Dudikoff is AMAZING as always, and is amazing here, he is very likable, relaxed on top of things, carried the film, had a great presence, had some cool lines, was fantastic in the acting department, and while he is no Harrison Ford he still did an amazing job!, in my opinion. (Dudikoff Rules!!). Robert Vaughn is great as the main villain, he had a blast hamming it up, and was very interesting to watch, and added class. Donald Pleasence is AMAZING as always, and is amazing here, he was extremely interesting to watch as always, was especially good in the finale, added a lot of class, and i loved every moment he was on screen!. (Pleasence Rules!). Herbert Lom is great in his role, he was evil as usual and did a great job. L.Q. Jones does okay but is kinda wasted here. Cynthia Erland is hot and did fine with what she had to do. Rest of the cast do okay. Overall worth the watch. **1/2 out of 5
  • River Of Death tells the story of an adventurer who helps a mysterious man and woman track down a nazi criminal who has been experimenting all kinds of nasty stuff on people and tribal villagers. Along the way there are attacks by natives, lots of martial arts and downbeat ending in this adaption of the novel. River Of Death is actually more well made than the usual Cannon output at the time. Indeed the production values are adequate and Dudikoff makes for a decent rough and tumble hero. However this just isn't very exciting material, which consists of bored performances (Pleasance and Vaughn) which show us the reality that nobody wanted to give anything but the bare minimum of effort. The tribal attacks do make some impact but most of the way through this rather sub-par stuff.

    *1/2 out of 4-(Poor)
  • Warning: Spoilers
    I only decided to watch this movie because of the potential for ninja action based on the main actors that's what he's known for. Instead what I found was a very odd mix of Indiana Jones, apocalypse now and king Solomon's mines. If you think that sound like far too much in one movie you would be correct. The story begins with a group of explorers in the jungle who are attacked by natives. The group manages to escape but are recaptured apart from the hero who escapes and vows to return to save the group of explorers. The remainder of the film is the hero's trek back into the jungle to rescue his explorer buddies. Sounds straight forward but add in a Nazi scientist and not one but two people out for revenge against the Nazi scientist, the plot starts to get too complicated for what's basically an action movie. The hero occasionally narrates parts of the film a la apocalypse now and the river boat action scenes with murderous natives further add to the apocalypse now style. What is very strange however is the heavyweight acting talent in this movie. There's quite a few well regarded actors in this but it's still not a good film. The action scenes are not bad but the ending is quite unsatisfactory. There's no real depth to any of the characters and it's hard to understand what's going on and exactly who some people are. There's basically too many people, too much plot and far too many idea for this to be a coherent film. It's not even good from a so bad it's good perspective. I'd say it's entirely forgettable but it's hard to forget when it hasn't even registered.
  • I'm sure that the original novel by Alistair McLean was a whole lot better than this film would indicate. It would almost have to be. This is a style of film making not seen since the pleasant days of Republic and Monogram Pictures were active. It's almost like a bad serial without as many chapter breaks.

    A Mengele like scientist played with relish by Robert Vaughn as the Allied armies are closing in on both sides of Nazi Germany has to flee. Those concentration camp inmates, wonderful subjects for experimentation are going to become unavailable shortly and he wants to continue his research. He kills a Swiss investigator and his SS backer Donald Pleasance he merely wounds in a rather stupid double cross.

    Fast forward twenty years to the Sixties and two fisted adventurer Michael Dudikoff is looking for a lost Inca city in the Amazon head waters where all kinds of strange things have been happening to the natives. All sorts of other people want to get to the city as well for varying motives. They team up with the intrepid Dudikoff leading the motley expedition.

    River Of Death is a throwback to those old action adventure films that used to be churned out of those B studios by the bucket load. That's not necessarily a good thing. It might have been better had this been a satire of same, but River Of Death is as serious as a crutch.

    What a serial this could have been, river pirates, corrupt police, lost city, Nazi scientists, what more could you want?
  • Michael Dudikoff plays a freelance guide Hamilton, an expert in jungle expedition. While on his journey with a doctor and his daughter into the deep dangerous jungles of the Amazon, Hamilton, along with his clients, is attacked by indigenous primitive tribe of the mythical Lost City. The doctor is killed and the daughter captured.

    Barely escaping death, Hamilton manages to return to the outpost of the Amazon basin and report the incident to the chief police. The chief police warns him not to return to the jungle but Hamilton adamantly tries to find other ways to return and rescue the kidnapped doctor's daughter.

    As fate would have it, he looks for his associate, an ex-WW II pilot who then introduces him to a wealthy businessman and his friends who want Hamilton to lead their journey into the Lost City. Hamilton accepts their offer after striking a lucrative deal. With an addition of several vested interests tagging along, Hamilton heads back into the perilous Amazon jungles to search for the Lost City and rescue his dead client's daughter.

    Based on Alistair MacLean's novel, this adventure film fails to keep audience interested much less thrilled. Regardless of the time you watch it, you will doze off halfway through the film or keep wanting to check the remaining run time on the screen. This is worth watching only for Dudikoff's die-hard fans.

    Try watching River of Death in one sitting if you are experiencing sleepless nights. It may be an effective method of sleep therapy.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    At the end of World War II in 1945, Heinrich Spaatz (Pleasence) vows revenge on evil Nazi doctor Wolfgang Manteuffel (Vaughn). Twenty years later, in 1965, we're introduced to "adventurer" John Hamilton (Dudikoff), a guy who knows the Amazon river like the back of his hand and gives tours through the dangerous jungles. In his latest tour group are people that want to find out the origins of a mysterious disease that's been ravaging the local population, as well as some Nazi hunters that believe Manteuffel is hiding out in the area. All want to find the legendary "Lost City" which should hold the key to pretty much everything. But along the way, they're going to have to face many pitfalls and challenges - everything from "river pirates" to the unknown jungle disease. Will they succeed? I guess Firewalker (1986) wasn't enough of an overlong jungle slog for Cannon, so they decided to make another one a few years later. Why they thought audiences had such an appetite for jungle slogs is unknown, but here's another one. Take the aforementioned Firewalker, add some Golden Needles (1974), and maybe some Skeleton Coast (1988), and you have a plot you've seen many times before. If you really want to see a quest for the lost city, see Quest For The Lost City (1990). Sure, River of Death might be based on a story by the acclaimed Alistair MacLean, but it lacks a Zap Rowsdower. Or even a Mike Pipper. So can it really compete? Dudikoff is as cool as ever, and his gruff narration adds...something...but honestly this isn't really an action movie, it's more of an old-fashioned "adventure" movie. Why the filmmakers thought that would be better, we don't know. It seems like a bit of a cop-out. Dudikoff doesn't even do any Martial Arts. Due to the length of the movie, and the quality cast, we presume Cannon was going for some very mainstream material. What they came out with is pretty boring, because there isn't really any character development, so you don't really care what goes on, and even what little bit of gunplay and explosions there happen to be don't help things.

    Robert Vaughn - yes, Control 5 himself! - is on hand as a Nazi. We always love seeing him, and he clearly is enjoying himself here, probably because he doesn't get too many Nazi roles. Maybe there's a reason for that? Perhaps the good lawyers at Mark E. Salomone and Morelli liked what they saw and decided to give the poor guy a break. We kid Vaughn because we love. We're also big fans of Donald Pleasence, and he gets to do a lot more here than, say, in the entertaining (but largely Pleasence-less) American Tiger (1990). Herbert Lom is also onboard with the cast of older gentlemen, which adds to the Skeleton Coast vibe. Too bad they couldn't get Borgnine.

    The bottom line here is that this movie should have been snappier, with a more vibrant pace and about a half an hour chopped out of the running time. We see what the filmmakers were trying to do, but it's all so bloated. Director Steve Carver, who only a year previously directed the fun Bulletproof (1988), should have taken a page out of his own handbook and livened things up a bit like he did with that Gary Busey vehicle. He truly shouldn't have been such a "Butthorn".

    We've seen a lot worse, and this movie is fine for Dudikoff completists or even Pleasence fans, but casual viewers will probably be turned off by River of Death's sluggish ways.
  • Michael Dudikoff stars as John Hamilton a mercenary who fights off deadly tribes and a sadistic Nazi who is still continuing his work in the jungle in this deathly dull affair. Dudikoff is just woeful here while the rest of the cast that include Donald Pleasance and Robert Vaughn are wasted in their roles. Boredom is all that floats in this river.
  • This is the stuff I live for, truly do! Despite negative reviews and low ratings, I secretly had very high hopes for "River of Death", and the actual film still surpassed them. As far as yours truly is concerned, it's a fast-paced and exhilarating trash gem with phenomenal stars (Donald Pleasance, Robert Vaughn, Herbert Lom, LQ Jones...) in deviant roles, evil Nazis, savage Amazon jungle-tribes, nasty river pirates, fiendish medical experiments, Lost Cities and exploding helicopters! The poster proudly features the name of prominent writer Alistair MacLean, but the demented tale might as well have sprouted from the mind of over-enthusiast Italian scriptwriters who also penned down the delicious Indiana Jones clones, like "Ark of the Sun God" or "Hunters of the Golden Cobra".

    Regardless of the fact WWII is coming to an end and Germany is defeated, megalomaniacal Nazi Doctor Wolfgang Manteuffel (Vaughn) doesn't consider his work finished, and he closes a pact with the unscrupulous General Heinrich Spaatz (Pleasance) to flee to South America and continue his experiments. 20 years later, the adventurous mercenary Hamilton (Michael Dudikoff) reluctantly accepts an assignment to trace down the mysterious Lost City, which is reputedly hidden deep in the Amazon jungle, surrounded by hostile native tribes. None of the expedition members is to be trusted, and most of them have a vengeful score to settle. This is just a very brief and general description of the plot, mind you, since "River of Death" is the type of film full of plot twists and sub stories; and each crazier than the next.

    I'm really baffled by the harshness of some of the other reviews around here. Don't know what these people were expecting to see, but "River of Death" is quite the opposite of "dull" and "boring". Of course, the film has several flaws. Dudikoff's wannabe Humphrey Bogart style of narrating is quite irritating and the entire climax is kind of disappointing, but overall seen "River of Death" ensures a tremendous good time!
  • Why does this film have such a low rating? It's a perfectly decent adventure film. It's handled really well by director Steve Carver. The ensemble performances are fine. The photography is decent. It does really well on a low budget. I enjoyed this movie more the second time around, and I'll watch it again.
  • Maziun25 November 2014
    This movie was made and released about 8 years after its source novel of the same name by Alistair MacLean was first published in 1981. "River of death" was MacLean's 24 novel and this movie was the 15 film adaptation of one of MacLean's stories. It's the first filmed adaptation of an Alistair MacLean to be made and released after the author had passed way. First and only made for cinema filmed adaptation of an Alistair MacLean story to be made and released during the 80s. Final to date made for cinema adaptation of an Alistair MacLean story.

    I haven't read the book , but I 've heard that it's one of MacLean's poorest books. So it's really no wonder that the movie sucks too. Michael Dudikoff is John Hamilton , a mercenary who leads the expedition into the heart of the Amazon in search of Nazi scientist. It turns out that they all have various motives for searching for a Nazi scientist in a lost city, but none of this is believable or interesting. Most of the characters turn out to be someone other than who we thought they were. It might look good on paper , but in reality it's all forgettable.

    The characters are VERY one dimensional , the twists are unconvincing and the plot is paper thin. The movie is TERRIBLY directed. It's strange , because director Steve Carver made some decent Chuck Norris movie before ("Lone wolf McQuade"). Here the pacing is sluggish , the action is lame and there is too much talking.

    Dudikoff is capable B class actor , but he is lost here. Good actors like Donald Pleasance and Robert Vaughn are wasted. Even the Amazon scenery seems underused. There is no pretty scenery or good photography.

    It's dull, dull ,dull. It's a cure for insomnia. It's the worst kind of B movie making. It's not even "so bad it's good" type of B class movie. I give it 1/10.
  • Never before was the swiftly-paced, sleekly exciting literature of Alistair MacLean more pristine than in the bated breath, death-defying, adrenalized adventuring of Cannon Films, exhilarating, 80s thrill-fest, 'River of Death'. Directed with a bravura, barnstorming belligerence by groovy, genre maverick, Steve Carver, with an explosive, celluloid-melting triumvirate of legendary, scorching-hot movie icons: Herbert Lom, Robert Vaughan, and Donald Pleasence, and pushing the excitement levels to the very limits of human endurance is the additionally incandescent, star-making performance of heroically handsome, 'American Ninja' icon himself, the all-round bodacious, bullyboy-blasting, bad ass dude, Michael Dudikoff! The future looks bright for this non-stop, action bonanza from Cannon films! 'This sure 'aint no sleepy holiday cruise, you snooze on this river of blood, you lose!
  • fntstcplnt5 September 2019
    Directed by Steve Carver. Starring Michael Dudikoff, Donald Pleasence, L.Q. Jones, Herbert Lom, Cynthia Erland, Robert Vaughn, Sarah Maur Thorp, Alain D. Woolf, Foziah Davidson, Gordon Mulholland, Rufus Swart, Victor Melleny. (R)

    Leaden-paced jungle "adventure" with Dudikoff leading a small group into the Amazon (all with their own separate, murky reasons for going), fighting off natives, river pirates and boredom, to get to a lost city where a Nazi mad scientist is doing...stuff. "Apocalypse Now," it ain't. Unnecessarily convoluted plot is no compensation for the perfunctory, poorly-staged action scenes. Hard to say what's more listless: Dudikoff's performance or Dudikoff's inner thought narration; meanwhile, it's always sad to see once respectable actors like Robert Vaughn and Donald Pleasence cash a check and sleepwalk through a crummy movie. Based on a novel by Alistair MacLean, but this is light years from the likes of "Where Eagles Dare" and "The Guns of Navarone."

    21/100
  • This movie kept my attention for the entire time I had it on. I consider this a small achievement on the part of River of Death considering what an incompetent film it is from start to finish. But is it horrible? Nope. Just pretty bad. This is like one of those movies on a Mill Creek dvd set you would find in a Walmart bargain bin. The set would probably be titled something insipid like "Jungle Fever" and River of Death would no doubt be the best movie out of the 7 or 8 random titles in the pack. Cannibals and Nazis should both be in more movies together I think, but even they couldn't save this misguided adventure yarn that felt like it was held together by silly string. One scene seems to begin and end in the middle of the next leaving the viewer going "What the heck? I thought he was flying the helicopter?" I'm not sure if the movie could have benefited from extensive storyboarding but it seems to me like there was no planning at all. Some scenes of people walking through the jungle were filmed with helicopter shots inserted from time to time and then there would be a shot of birds trying to fly out of frame to escape this stink bomb. And the writing was just bad...complimented by worse acting including a really hammy performance from Donald Pleasance. His character is shacked up with a girl that is about 5 decades younger than him and every scene with these two that called for physical affection made me cringe and laugh at the same time. Despite the movies near countless flaws, I still really enjoyed it. Would I recommend it? No...but fans of trashy jungle flicks may want to give it a go.
  • I wouldn't be surprised if I were reading too much into it, but when I'm looking at a movie called RIVER OF DEATH, in which Nazi scientist Robert Vaughn wears a swastika armband on his white lab coat while shooting the nice SS officer, and adventurer Michael Dudikoff goes looking for a lost city only to find a secret Nazi city run by Vaughn, I stop to wonder if I'm looking at a burlesque. A very dry burlesque. With nothing funny about it. Even if it is based on a novel by the same title, written by Alistair MacLean.

    When I write there's nothing funny about it, I mean there's nothing I laughed, smiled, or thought "that's funny" about. There are some things that other people might find funny, like the black-and-white-painted naked jungle ninjas, the wrestling dwarves, or the cabaret singer who croons a love song to a plastic skeleton like she's Marlene Dietrich seducing Emil Jannings. I wouldn't think to tell you what you find funny, and if you think this is funny, well, you're entitled to your own opinion.

    And if you do, get away from me.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    RIVER OF DEATH is an action-adventure movie which has a bit of an Indiana Jones vibe to it. It was shot by Cannon Films in South Africa, which stands in for South America. The story is once again about Nazis hiding out in the jungle, their characters represented by a couple of old-time actors, Donald Pleasence and Robert Vaughn, who are fun but underutilised. Michael Dudikoff is the hero of the hour, a guide and adventurer leading an expedition to hunt for a lost city, but feels a bit aimless in the role. Dudikoff shot to fame in the AMERICAN NINJA movies but outside of pure martial arts cinema he always seems to flounder a bit; the same was true of PLATOON LEADER. In any case, this film has nice locations and a bit of action here and there, but is otherwise overlong, plodding, and misses the mark more often than not.
  • I.K16 December 1999
    This movie was as fun as enema. The "plot" is full of cliches, the actors certainly werent after any Oscars ( I wonder how an actor of the calibre of Pleasance was talked into this bizarre freak show?) Dudikoff does some of the worst acting in the history of film. The last insult was the german accent imitation by Vaughn and the anonymous German captain.
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