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Lost MacLean: Death Train

Well, what do you know? Turns out Detonator: Death Train was indeed a prequel of sorts to Detonator II: Night Watch. Apparently, Pierce Brosnan was intimately involved in an Alistair MacLean made-for-TV movie cult back in the 90s.

“The mission is impossible. The consequences deadly,” warns the tagline. How truly it speaks! The mission to make a decent movie out of the enjoyable novels of one of the world’s most popular writers’ bestselling work is impossible in the hands of this crew. Even though it stars Pierce Brosnan, Patrick Stewart, Christopher Lee and Ted Levine! And its consequences will indeed be deadly as seen by the movie Night Watch.

But! But! But first come these fascinating 90 minutes or so of a great cast:

In A Top Secret Location (Evil)

Fu Manchu: Where’s my bomb?

That Guy, Now Playing Scientist: What is this Russian shit? The plutonium exploded all over me and now I’m going to turn into rotting meat.

Fu Manchu: Don’t make me vahnt to drink your blood. Where’s my bomb?

That Guy, Now Playing Scientist: Bomb. Bomb-bomb-bomb. Bombitty-bomb. Bom-BOM-bom. Bomb. Tr la la la la. *smirk*

Fu Manchu: Er.

In A Top Secret Location (Good)

Jean Luc Picard: I need more power to beat evil.

Baywatch Babe: Me! Take me! I have powers! Look at my legs! My very long legs. In a short skirt. And my excessive luggage! It’s what every top secret agent bent on rescuing the world needs!

James Bond: You’re totally banging that babe, aren’t ya?

Jean Luc Picard: You should say – you’re totally banging that babe, aren’t ya, sir? Savvy?

James Bond: Fine. I’d rather be racing bikes anyway.

Baywatch Babe: Sexist Pig!

Non-English Speaking European Military Personnel: Ha ha ha! She called him an oink! We’re totally on her side because we’re all feminists!

James Bond: Oooh, I’ve been totally schooled. I guess I’ll take her seriously now that she flounced off and made a room full of armymen chuckle.

On The Death Train

Captain Stottlemeyer: Um, hello? If anybody’s interested, I have a train with a nuclear bomb on board.

Jean Luc Picard: Oh! I see! It’s a devious plan.With Russians and bombs on trains and stuff.

Fu Manchu: May I speak to a member of the press please? I would like to explain my top secret devious plan with Russians and bombs on trains and stuff in great detail. Thanks!

James Bond: Let’s go beat this guy!

Captain Stottlemeyer: You’ll never beat me! Wait. You will? Oh.

In A Hospital Room

Secret Agent: Holy crap! Your face!

That Guy, Now Playing Scientist: I was bored and building a nuclear bomb was something I always wanted to do.

Secret Agent: Holy crap! Your face!

That Guy, Now Playing Scientist: Here’s what I did.

Secret Agent: Holy crap! Your face!

That Guy, Now Playing Scientist: Goodbye. I die now. In good German hospital where everything fucking works the way it’s meant to and doesn’t blow up in your face like the fucking Russian shit.

Secret Agent: Holy crap! Your face!

In An Airplane Hangar

Fu Manchu: Ha! Ha! I’m an arch villain. I speak Russian and everything! You can beat my minions but you can’t beat me that easy. I got seconds!

Russian Army Man: Let me shake your hand now that you’ve committed our nation to war entirely on your own.

Jean Luc Picard: Will someone tell me what’s going on?

Baywatch Babe: My vagina says let’s just follow the Fu Manchu guy and see what he does.

James Bond: This is a stupid plan. Not because I’ve thought about it, but because someone with a vagina said it. So it better work.

Baywatch Babe: Oh no! I have no bullets and a minion is shooting at me!

James Bond: Let me save you by shooting him dead.

Baywatch Babe: Oh, thank God, you big strong hero man! Now I’ve totally forgiven you for constantly undermining, disrespecting, objectifying, bullying, and shutting me out.

Fu Manchu: Oh no! They shoot me dead. But before I die, I will set the second bomb to go off. Heh heh. *grk*

James Bond: I will save us all by cutting through all the wires one after another.

Voice of That Guy, Who Was Playing Scientist: April Fool!

Jean Luc Picard: The fuck is going on there? Someone say something. I’m the Grand Poobah of this shindig, I’d like you to know!

James Bond: Fuck this shit.

Baywatch Babe: I’d love to but the only place I’m headed is the beach so I’ll just hang out here if it’s all the same to you.

THE END.

[for LEB who expressed an interest :mrgreen:]

 
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Posted by on August 2, 2010 in Entertainment, Movies, Review

 

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Lost MacLean: Night Watch

JOKES!

You haven’t lived until you’ve seen Pierce Brosnan loudly simulate sex in a horrendous pair of white boxer briefs while his offended colleague rides him bronco style.

Welcome to Night Watch! Or Detonator II: Night Watch. Your glimpse of what might have been Brosnan’s career if he hadn’t finally landed the British super spy gig and become The Billion Dollar Bond. It is properly horrifying.

I was really excited to watch this movie for some reason. I love Brosnan and I love Alistair MacLean – how bad could it get when they got together? And to be honest, even though Night Watch has a distinctly made-for-TV feel to it, it’s only as bad as your average Lifetime movie, which is to say it’s watchable.

But from the first moment, as a fiercely mustachioed Brosnan runs towards the camera in tight fitting pants that keep getting tighter and skinnier as the movie progresses and long-ish hair that always manages to look greasy, something is very off. Let’s face it: despite his stellar work in movies like Evelyn, The Matador or The Ghost Writer, Brosnan’s USP is his looks and his ability to wear the shit out of a tuxedo. Both of which are wanting here. In fact, by the time the movie ended I was having fond memories of his dye job from The Noble House. I don’t know who Brosnan pissed off, especially in the costume department. Or did people really dress that way in the early 90s? Thank God I was just a kid.

Anyway, the plot takes us to Amsterdam where Rembrandt’s “Night Watch” has been stolen and a forgery put in its place. Mike Graham (Brosnan) is some kind of special ops agent on the brink of burnout after losing his partner during an extraction. Sabrina Carver (Alexandra Paul) is waiting for Baywatch to make her famous as the honorary non-bimbo brunette. They have, ahem, a history. Ooooooooh.

But what is supposed to be a low-stress case of art theft investigation, a little R&R for poor psychologically fragile Mike, suddenly turns violent and confusing with the introduction of a Hong Kong-based mastermind, busy inventing the means of world domination. World domination and art theft, I guess. There are also some ominous North Koreans thrown in for good measure because, you know, North Korea – boo! are you scared yet?

If you get your rocks off watching Brosnan dressed up as a cross between an American Civil War veteran and a stereotypical errand boy for the Italian mob (and let me tell you, it takes considerable talent to take the refined Mr. Remington Steele to that pass) or you like the kind of movie where the hero slides down a steep wall, dragging his fingernails all the while, only to show up with perfectly manicured nails at the end – find a copy of this movie stat!

Meanwhile, I will pray that I never have to watch Detonator I. Or will I? :mrgreen:

 
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Posted by on July 28, 2010 in Celebrity, Entertainment, Movies, Review

 

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Lost MacLean: Golden Rendezvous

Golden Rendezvous was the first Alistair MacLean novel I actually wanted to read. I’d spent a year flipping idly through the pages of The Guns of Navarone on the recommendation of a friend and had never been able to really get into it with all the other stuff lying around my room waiting to be read. But one rainy day during the summer vacation when I couldn’t think of a single other thing to do, I noticed a copy of this book lying around my grandma’s house and picked it up.

I loved it. It’s not the best of MacLean’s novels, but it’s crisp and stacked full of his trademark touches: ironic wit, manly heroes carrying the weight of the world on their broad shoulders, beautiful blondes with rich daddies and an attitude problem, villainously villainful villains who need to be taught a lesson, and lots of action. As an introduction to his work, it has a little bit of everything that MacLean has to offer and you honestly couldn’t do better.

For years, I’d heard that there was a movie version of Golden Rendezvous and I wanted to watch it. I’d seen the famous three: Where Eagles Dare, Guns of Navarone, and Ice Station Zebra, and I wanted to see all the other versions too. I should have realized that the reason those three are so famous is because they’re the only good ones.

Oh well. It’s not like I’m getting particular in my old age. So this week is all about The Lost MacLeans. Little known movies based on the novels of Alistair MacLean. Perhaps you all wished to know what I thought of Khatta Meetha (it’s crap and shame on you for even asking!), Salt (very fun – kick some more ass, girl!), or Inception (instant obsession), but this is what I’ve got instead.

***

1977′s Golden Rendezvous promises “The action of The Guns of Navarone. The suspense of Ice Station Zebra. The drama of Where Eagles Dare.”

In that spirit, we start at the cruise ship where all the action takes place: an odd-looking man with long, 70s-style, thinning blond hair is directing sailors and being busy. I’m immediately confused because in the book, these are the actions of Johnny, our hero – a solid block of handsome manliness who I’m pretty sure had all his hair.

Suddenly, a taxi comes flying across the docks and screeches to a halt so a pretty, 70s-style, young woman built like a gazelle (that is to say, kind of elongated everywhere – there is a disconcerting shot of her in profile later on, where her neck looks disturbingly like that of a turkey’s except she doesn’t have flaps of skin hanging off it) can leap out.

Johnny Unlikely (Richard Harris) calls her Mrs. Beresford (Ann Turkel). In the book, she’s most definitely a Miss and traveling with her sweetheart, millionaire parents.

I decide to stop using the book as a reference point.

So… a bunch of things happen: An old man is gambling on board the ship and winning heavily by using some complicated system he’s invented that is apparently foolproof and legal. A crew members shows up late for duty. Mrs. Beresford is very cozy with some guy called Conway whom she “loves very much” but also spends her evenings flirting with some Latin type called Tony while Conway drinks in his cabin. A cancer patient and some coffins are transferred on board right before the ship leaves. A waiter delivers meals. A woman with big peroxided hair evidently doesn’t want to be on the ship but is there anyway while her husband is kidnapped from some top-secret facility by men with accents. A terrible waiter steals a drink and goes outside to sneak a cigarette, and is promptly paid for his sins by getting his head bashed in. Johnny Unlikely sees his body getting dumped and is only saved from the same fate thanks to his colleagues.

If you’ve never read the book, then I have no idea what you will make of it all except Very Bad Things take place and Johnny fakes a leg injury after the ship is hijacked so he can wander around in the rain inflicting, we later find out, absolutely no damage whatsoever other than killing the Big Meanie’s son in a severely anti-climactic fight as well as a couple of other random baddies in assorted skirmishes. In fact, his greatest battle takes place with Mother Nature as he struggles against rain and sea to snoop on people and look thoughtful.

Somewhere along the way Harris pulls out his inner magic (jokes!) and manages to convince you he’s Johnny rather than Johnny Unlikely. And he mainly does it by randomly planting a big wet one on the attractive Mrs. Harris Beresford – although even that bit of charm doesn’t get her to give up her unnecessarily secret subplot.

Directed by Ashley Lazarus, who appears to be someone with a knack for assembling a talented cast so he can direct them into oblivion, Golden Rendezvous chooses to zig where the novel zagged and falls right into the ravine of mistakes in the middle.

The novel wasn’t merely about “Nuclear Terror”, the title chosen for Rendezvous‘s TV debut. In fact, it was about a lot of things but nuclear terror was absolutely not it. Golden Rendezvous was a fantastic conjob as well as an action-packed thriller in which superman John Carter doesn’t merely get bloody revenge for the shipmates the crooks killed, he outsmarts them out of their money and then blows them up to kingdom come – coz if that’s the way they wanted to play it, he was more than game.

The movie John Carter smashes through a few things to a potentially great Jeff Wayne soundtrack that was apparently just slapped on, bumbles the one big switcheroo and stumbles upon the way out by pure luck. Phooey.

The best part of the movie was undoubtedly the luckless Preston (Keith Baxter) whose is introduced – in one of the three scenes he is allowed to speak – by the back of his head. I forgot to mention the camera work on this movie is insane and not in a good way. Things don’t get much better for the poor fellow.

He gets shot in the stomach, is medicated with a glass of brandy, then is knocked out and locked up in isolation at the infirmary because Johnny is suspicious of him, and subsequently spends the rest of the movie saving Johnny’s and everyone else’s ass without so much as a word – all liberally interspersed with scenes in which he is randomly tossing and turning in bed or crawling about the deck on his wounded tummy. It’s like something out of Monty Python.

Too bad the rest of the movie doesn’t match up.

 
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Posted by on July 26, 2010 in Entertainment, Movies, Review, Video

 

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