Much belated follow-up to THE GUNS OF NAVARONE/’61* brings over a couple of the earlier film’s characters, but little else. It’s simply another far-fetched WWII derring-do mission, but with less gravitas (a plus); a shorter running time (another plus); ludicrous plotting (a minus); sucker-punch witticisms for dialogue (minus); sub-standard action direction until the final blow-out pyrotechnics (another minus); and a notch or two less star power (surprisingly, a wash). Robert Shaw & Edward Fox are the theoretical holdovers (in for Greg Peck & David Niven) with add-ons Harrison Ford (sporting ‘70s hair-styling) & Carl Weathers (sporting ‘70s black empowerment attitude). The gimmick is that they don’t start out on a mission together, but are forced to collaborate when their transport plane goes down near their various assignment locales. A clever set-up, but the execution of both the film and narrative structure is catch-as-catch-can sloppy until James Bond specialist director Guy Hamilton finds just the right tone (at last) for his slam-bang finale.
DOUBLE-BILL: *Big, plush and slightly corporate, all patriotic boys go a bit bromantic for THE GUNS OF NAVARONE whose true follow-up was the decidedly dull disaster MACKENNA’S GOLD/’69, a true guilty pleasure, that. A better match-up with FORCE 10 might be WHERE EAGLES DARE/’68 with Richard Burton & Clint Eastwood making an unexpectedly good heroic tag team.