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7 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

Not what it seems.

9/10
Author: Paul Morris from Brisbane, Australia
23 September 2005

The other two reviewers seem to have this TV-movie confused with some kind of Japanese animation show. Surely they would realize from the summary and cast listing that they're on the wrong page. I found an old copy of this on VHS for sale at a video store here in Australia, and it appears to be the pilot for an abandoned TV series called "Final Tactic", in which a police lieutenant reluctantly hires ex-cons who are the best in their fields to help crack-down on organized crime, because the police department's usual methods are failing.

Bradford Dillman makes a surprise appearance as the evil-doer and spends much of the movie-length show outwitting the lieutenant and his cons, until a rather spectacular climax at his hilltop estate in Hollywood. There are a number of exciting action sequences, including a lengthy car chase and a helicopter crash into Dillman's pool! The plot involves the star player of a state basketball team being thumped across the head in a parking lot in an apparent mugging, but the shady financial dealings of team officials proves otherwise. There is a good story here, and the lieutenant investigates and carries it on nicely, with his new recruits doing all of his dirty work along the way.

"Final Tactic" or "Force Five" as it must have been called in the US (which makes sense, as there are five on the team - lieutenant and four cons) also makes excellent use of the various southern California locations made famous in movies of the early seventies. Places long-gone like J.C. Agajanian's Ascot Park Raceway and the original toll booths on the Vincent Thomas Bridge make wonderfully-nostalgic backdrops against the action, and for a TV movie from the seventies it does seem to have quite a modest budget and has all the magic and sparkle of a Hollywood blockbuster. A shame that it never appeared to evolve into a TV series, and even more of a shame that such TV series' and even TV movies aren't as well-written and acted as this one was! A thoroughly recommended viewing if you can track it down somewhere.

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