Twitter Plot Summary: A commando team return to Navarone, this time with the intention to blow up a dam.
Five Point Summary:
1. Apollo Creed joins the crew.
4. A traitor in their midst.
5. Knife fight!
A common thread throughout movie history is the existence of much delayed sequels, in this case there is a gap of 17 years between The Guns Of Navarone and Force 10. It goes without saying that the odds of the original cast returning to pick up moments after the end of the first film were slim at best – more so because some of them were dead or getting on a bit by 1978. In my experience this mostly relates to war films – The Dirty Dozen in particular being subject to a number of sequels made many years after the 1967 original.
The credits read like a veritable who’s who of big names from the era, but I’ll get onto that momentarily. The key problem is the recasting of Mallory and Miller – Mallory was clearly American in the original film whereas now he’s played by the very English Robert Shaw. I know that there’s a gap of 17 years between the two movies, but even taking this into account a little more care in terms of continuity wouldn’t have gone amiss. On the other hand, Robert Shaw and Edward Fox are never boring so at least you get your money’s worth from their buddy pairing.
It doesn’t matter so much that the plot is basically the same as the original, it remains gripping albeit to a slightly lesser extent. Furthermore there’s the array of now famous faces to keep your attention. The likes of Apollo Creed himself, Carl Weathers, shows up to do his thing, whilst Harrison Ford does his grumpy face and Richard Kiel shows up for a bit to prove that he’s done just a little bit more than a couple of James Bond movies. In fact this is almost a James Bond cast reunion of sorts as other than Kiel we also have the aforementioned Robert Shaw (From Russia With Love) and Mrs Ringo Starr herself, Barbara Bach (The Spy Who Loved Me). She’s the one piece of the puzzle that doesn’t quite fit, a waif of a figure yet powerful. That’s not a slight on womenfolk, by the way, and you can’t say her performance doesn’t lack power despite her diminutive disposition.
Then there’s Franco Nero, the original Django and who is showing up with some frequency in my film viewings of late. Suffice to say, if you don’t realise he’s the traitor from the start then you need to go and read the typecasting manual. That might be considered a spoiler, but come on – it’s Franco freakin’ Nero! He’s actually outed as the villain quite early in the day, so you can’t bemoan me for that one.
There’s very little that’s original about Force 10, let’s be honest, but if you enjoy ticking off big name actors making surprise appearances, a by the numbers action romp across a Greek island with a couple of twists and turns for good measure, and marvelling at Franco Nero’s moustache, then you will at least get something out of this.