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Two-Minute Warning
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Reviews & Ratings for
Two-Minute Warning More at IMDbPro »

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20 out of 21 people found the following review useful:

Undervalued thriller.

8/10
Author: Spikeopath from United Kingdom
18 September 2008

A lone gunman has his sights set on a sell-out crowd at a championship football game. Captain Peter Holly leads the desperate fight to try and stop the maniac from picking people off at will. Perched high on top of of the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, the gunman has his pick of the targets, the Mayor-the President-or merely the innocent? Either way he has to be stopped before all hell breaks loose.

Much like Roller-coaster a year later, Two-Minute Warning is wrongly lumped in with the disaster movie genre that flooded the 1970s, and just like Roller-coaster, Two-Minute Warning is an excellently taut thriller. The build up is paced to precision, all characters are introduced to us to give us something to associate with should things go very wrong. As this is happening we get little POV snippets of our killer, accompanied by Charles Fox's harshly impacting music, the killer is never seen but we feel the dread, the impending sense of murder is a constant presence.

Once we are at the game and the authorities are aware that a sniper is on the roof, the film shifts up a gear and lays on the suspense thick and heavy. Captain Holly {Charlton Heston} is joined by the SWAT team, led by the cool and serious Sgt. Chris Button {John Cassavetes}, whilst stadium security manager Sam McKeever {Martin Balsam} prays that disaster can be averted. Then the final third of the picture is a ripper-heart pounding stuff, a final third that rewards the viewers patience for having invested in the film and its characters. Filling out the cast is Gena Rowlands, Jack Klugman {brilliant interplay with Mitch Ryan's priest}, Beau Bridges, Walter Pidgeon and David Jansen. Two-Minute Warning is a quality thriller that is sadly undervalued on the IMDb site, go on, give it a go and you might just be pleasantly surprised. 7.5/10

Footnote: I should point out that my thoughts are on the original unedited cut of this film, I have never seen the watered down TV cut and have no plans to ever do so.

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9 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

A faceless gunman shoots innocent bystanders in a tower overlooking a Los Angeles football stadium

6/10
Author: ma-cortes
21 July 2012

Thrilling and entertaining disaster movie but full clichés and stereotypes with enjoyable performances from Charlton Heston and John Cassavetes . This catastrophe movie blends action , intrigue , disaster spectacle, suspense and emotional byplay . ¨Two-minute warning¨ was a successful film that grossed at box office . A psychotic sniper wielding a rifle with telescopic sight plans a massacre during a major championship game . The two protagonists , the police Captain Peter Holly (Charlton Heston) and SWAT commander Sergeant Button (John Cassavetes), learn of the plot and spend most of their time devising various ways for avoid to psychopath sniper carries out his aims : a massive killing spree in Los Angeles football stadium filled to capacity . As our heroes get stuck in the stadium before it blows up and when slaughter takes place they go into action ; as they pay tribute to policemen . There takes place a struggle between two forces , the cops and the sinister assassin and ultimately erupts when the crowd turns almost effortlessly and devours itself in a climax of panic .

Exciting film that contains noisy action , unsettling scenes , thrills , emotion and turns out to be pretty entertaining . This formula suspense movie belongs to catastrophe genre of the 70s , being the undisputed king , ¨The towering inferno¨ along with ¨Earthquake¨ , ¨Roller coaster¨ and many others ; this formula disaster movie was widely developed by Irwin Allen , previously winner of numerous Oscars for ¨Poseidon¨ until the failures as ¨Beyond Poseidon¨, ¨Swarm¨ and ¨When the time ran out¨ . ¨Two-minute warning¨ results to be an intriguing and suspenseful film , there was a later version released that had footage not shown in theaters , in the original theatrical version, the sniper's motives were not known. In the later television version, it was revealed that the attack was done to cover an art robbery next door . Filmed at the height of the disaster genre from the 7os , this entry in the spectacular series profits of a strong acting by starring trio Charlton Heston , John Cassavetes and Martin Balsam . Succeeds in combining various talented actors , an all star cast came together that tie for film's top casting honors ; furthermore a top-notch secondary casting such as Gina Rowlands, Beau Bridges , Jack Klugman , Marilyn Hasset , Pamela Bellwood , Mitch Ryan , Brock Peters, David Janssen and Walter Pidgeon as a pickpocket who formerly co-starred in 'Harry in Your Pocket' , a film about pickpocket s. This edgy , paranoid film was deemed too violent to show intact on broadcast television, so they re-wrote the story and added a heist element , the re-written material minimized both the main storyline and the subplots . Colorful and gripping photography in Panavision by Gerard Hirschfeld , including persistent high-angle shots , subjective camera-work and use of long lenses . Intriguing and atmospheric score by Charles Fox . This big-budgeted disaster movie was professionally though coldly directed by Larry Peerce , an usual TV movies director . Rating : Good and entertaining , it's a fairly watchable disaster movie.

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12 out of 16 people found the following review useful:

Another so-called "what if" disaster movie of the '70s

8/10
Author: Katz5 from Arlington, VA
8 August 2005

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Like Black Sunday, which came out a year after this movie, "Two-Minute Warning" was billed as a disaster movie that used the "what if" basis of other genre examples of the '70s (and I'm including "Towering Inferno" and "Earthquake" along with the "mad bomber" movies like "Rollercoaster" and "Juggernaut"). "Black Sunday," "Two-Minute Warning" and "Rollercoaster" are really the three most believable now--the disasters are man-made and show us how vulnerable we really are (I, for one, am praying members of terrorists group don't watch the movie "Rollercoaster"). In Two-Minute Warning, a sniper with no apparent motive climbs to the top of an LA football stadium and starts shooting at the two-minute warning. It is possible the sniper had political assassination on his mind as the President was scheduled to come to the game. But it's never really explained, which bothered many critics including Roger Ebert. But after the events in the DC area in the fall of 2002 (which I lived through--I'll never forget having to pace back and forth quickly while pumping gas, to avoid being a target), snipers are never really understood--they're psychotic, plain and simple. "Targets," the early Peter Bogdonavich film, which Two-Minute Warning reminded me of, spent a good part of the movie explaining the alienation of its sniper. To a degree---you saw his family, his interaction with his wife, and saw what appeared to be his isolation. It's certainly not a justification for killing innocent motorists, but the film did show his face. "Two-Minute Warning" doesn't even show the face of the sniper until the end. The point of the filmmakers is clear: The sniper is unknown and deadly. This movie goes a little over-the-top in the gratuitous violence (unlike most other '70s disaster movies), but is absolutely suspenseful and the acting is very good (especially by John Cassavettes as the leader of the SWAT team). Gena Rowlands, Cassavettes' wife and muse, also appears as a spectator.

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8 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

Not a far fetched film after all!

10/10
Author: Kieran Green (greene515@hotmail.com) from Scotland
30 March 2008

Two minute warning is A crime thriller-disaster film, laden with an all star cast with Charlton Heston as the head of the LA Police Department and John Cassavettes as the leader of the SWAT team, at a major-league football stadium (the LA Coliseum) filled with 91,000 fans during a championship game between Los Angeles and Baltimore, and an anonymous psychotic sniper with a high-powered hunting rifle perched on the top of the stadium's scoreboard. This cliffhanger brought suspense to film-goers and mass panic among the spectators as they stampeded in the film's finale. in light of recent events such as 'the Washington sniper ' this film proves that the incident is Not a far fetched after all!

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10 out of 13 people found the following review useful:

A bleak and cynical, yet still gripping thriller

8/10
Author: Woodyanders (Woodyanders@aol.com) from The Last New Jersey Drive-In on the Left
6 February 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

A very bleak and cynical 70's all-star cast suspense thriller about a crazed motiveless sniper who for no rationale reason decides to blow away a bunch of spectators in a crowded stadium during a football game. It's up to ramrod police chief Charlton Heston, assisted by coldly efficient SWAT team commander John Cassavetes and antsy stadium manager Martin Balsam, to stop the mysterious lunatic before it's too late. Among the many folks in jeopardy are Beau Bridges as an unemployed dad who's trying to show his wife Pamela Bellwood and kids a good time, David Janssen and Gena Rowlands as a pair of middle-aged lovers, Jon Korkes as a pathetic jerk whose date with the lovely Marilyn Hassett goes disastrously awry, Mitchell Ryan as a gentle priest, Walter Pigeon as an elderly pickpocket, and Jack Klugman as a hapless compulsive gambler who's bet what little money he has left on the big game.

Director Larry Peerce relates the tightly streamlined plot in a fiercely stark and unsentimental manner, artfully using subjective camera-work, long lenses, and high angle shots to stoke the gut-wrenching tension to a nerve-jangling fever pitch. The set-up of said suspense tends to be a bit laborious at times and the background exposition on the many secondary characters is likewise a tad extraneous (and even a bit tedious, too), but the final climactic eruption of raw violence and sheer pandemonium (the crowd explodes in a frenzied blind panic when the sniper starts shooting them) is both gripping and disturbing in comparable measure. But what really gives this film an extra unnerving edge is its bitter cynicism and surprisingly upfront amorality, especially when it comes to the frequently brutish tactics used by Cassavetes to nail the sniper. The scene where Cassavetes gives an innocent spectator a severe beat-down and doesn't even apologize to the poor guy after-wards is particularly unpleasant and upsetting. This guy is the iron lung of law enforcement who's portrayed with a wired intensity and seething psychosis by Cassevetes that's genuinely frightening to behold. Whether intended or not, it's this nice nihilistic blurring the line between the cops and the sniper which in turn makes "Two-Minute Warning" a distinctly 70's kind of gritty and absorbing dead serious thriller.

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13 out of 19 people found the following review useful:

Good sniping fun

8/10
Author: filmbuff-36 from Houston, TX
22 October 1999

The sheer atmosphere of this film tells the tale right off the bat. First off all, we see the sniper shoot a man riding a bike for no reason. This is to show us that this man is really nothing but a psychopath, and we have no choice but to hate him for the remainder of the film.

Charleton Heston, Hollywood's most conservative actor (my kind of guy!) decides to try to take the sniper out when he sneaks into a football game and spend the majority of the film looking at people through his rifle scope. With the help of John Cassavettes and his team of SWAT supermen, the cops try to figure some gameplan to stop the sniper before he opens fire on the crowd.

The film itself is uneven, (don't even try to watch the tv version) but you will be cheering for the good guys when the two minute warning is called. By the way, for the reviewer who dissed this movie two reviews ahead of me, quit reading to far into things! The sniper is a cold blooded killer; from when we see him shoot the bicyclist we know he has a compeupance in store for him. I don't want to feel sorry for him!

Anyway, this is a decent movie to watch on a slow day. By the way, for all the people who thought that slasher movies invented first person perspective camera work of seeing what the killer sees, obviously they never saw this movie. I think this was the first time in Hollywood the camera tried to show such a perspective.

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8 out of 10 people found the following review useful:

A very likable and suspenseful film!

Author: williampalmer552 from San Bernardino, California
9 June 2001

As a fan of suspense, I definitely have rated this film as a classic edge-of-your seat cliffhanger. It contained all of the elements of a real-life thriller. The actual mounting of the suspense itself up until the end is the most rewarding effect this film possesses. As frightening and terrifying as the climax was, it nevertheless demonstrated how the actions of one individual can cause a catastrophe to unfold.

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10 out of 14 people found the following review useful:

Terror At the Coliseum

6/10
Author: bkoganbing from Buffalo, New York
8 December 2006

The Seventies was the decade of the disaster film, but oddly enough Charlton Heston has never been credit for being King of the genre. We know Heston for his work in big budget spectacles like The Ten Commandments and Ben-Hur, but he's probably appeared in more disaster films than any other player.

Think about it, Heston during the seventies starred in Earthquake, Grey Lady Down, Skyjacked, Airport 75 and this film Two Minute Warning. All of them with a cast of well known players put in harm's way of a terrible act.

In this case it's some psycho freak with a rifle with telescopic sight who decides he's going to take out a whole load of people at a championship football game at the Los Angeles Coliseum. As in all disaster films the guessing is as to who among the cast will survive until the end of the movie.

We're not sure what the freak's motivation is, we do know that as the film opens for target practice he shoots down one of a pair of bicyclers driving past his motel. On some level I really don't care. The time for societal soul searching stops when the bullets begin to fire. After that it's only one thing, get him.

Charlton Heston is the police captain at the precinct where the Coliseum is located and John Cassavetes is the SWAT commander assigned to kill or capture. By the way it is also shown earlier Cassavetes SWAT team actually taking a suspect alive, so it's not that they are just looking for an opportunity to use the weapons.

Among the crowd at the football game there are some performances I especially liked, one of them being Beau Bridges as a young father out with his family for the game who spots the sniper and tries to warn the already informed police. Also Mitchell Ryan and Jack Klugman have some nice scenes as a priest who happens to be sitting next to a gambling addict who literally has his life riding on the point spread.

Two Minute Warning is not the best or worst of the Seventies disaster films. The cast is competent enough, a bunch of real professionals without a sour note among them.

Terror is real, an evil unto itself without reason and Two Minute Warning dramatically drives that point home.

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4 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Flawed But Interesting

Author: Eric-62-2 from Morristown, NJ
8 October 2011

This is truly amazing. A review I wrote for this movie back in 1999 as a response to the ravings of "Nick Potter" who headlined his "Putrid Propaganda" and loaded it with uncalled for invective aimed at Charlton Heston because of that reviewers left-wing perspective, was deleted because someone filed an abuse report. And yet the one I replied to is still there all these years later, which should tell you something about the peculiar standards of this place. I am submitting it again since I think people should see for themselves that what I wrote back then as a normal response to a left-wing extremist's injection of his personal hatred of Charlton Heston into his review, was not the one that merited an abuse report.

ORIGINAL 1999 Review.

The previous reviewer completely misses the point. The reason why the sniper in "Two Minute Warning" isn't given any lines or isn't shown to have humanity is because what this man is doing is a crazy, psychotic act with no rational purpose to it, and that is what makes him a more terrifying threat (I can't begin to imagine how watered down the threat would seem if I ever saw the alternate version that made him part of a rational plot) and makes the story suspenseful. Only those with a visceral hatred of Charlton Heston because of his off-camera politics would try to read anything else into that (it is amusing that Heston has to suffer this from so many liberal reviewers while Hollywood liberals like Paul Newman never have to worry about conservatives reading between the lines of every film they're in).

That said, "Two Minute Warning" ultimately is flawed because it does have a less than stellar script when it comes to the supporting characters, not very interesting performances from a largely TV cast (Jack Klugman, David Janssen) and also the sense of realism is hurt by the fact that the NFL didn't give permission to use the names of real football teams thus creating too much of a sense of artificialness with people just rooting for a generic "Baltimore" and "Los Angeles". "Black Sunday" works a lot better in that regard because it made sure to get permission from the NFL and do actual filming during the Super Bowl.

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10 out of 16 people found the following review useful:

Closer to reality now

Author: TSMChicago from Palatine, IL
30 December 2002

First of all, you have to suspend all logic and common sense to watch this film. It is probably one of the most laughable disaster scripts ever conceived with cardboard, stereotyped characters placed in a dangerous situation. That said, this is also a dark, ugly film about a subject that speaks to us now because it is starting to reflect reality.

Some of the previous folks have commented on the unrealistic lack of security at the "Championship X" football game. 9/11 showed us that security may not be all that it should be. The bottom line is that a detirmined lunatic is there with a rifle and how will the police deal with the situation. The placement of S.W.A.T. sharpshooters on the light towers to take out the sniper would most likely be the logical response since sneaking up on the guy might provoke him to shoot into the crowd. I'm also sure that in the heat of the moment all kinds of scenarios, both crazy and serious, would be considered by the authorities. As for the one spectator locating the sniper with his binoculars, I believe that is a realistic touch as people focus on all kinds of things away from the action at a game. The needs of a feature film require that tension be created and resolved which often doesn't reflect reality.

I found this film to be slow and tedious when the stock characters were introduced and placed at the game. Once the sniper took his position and became a threat this film turned gritty and violent as shots were exchanged. The fact that the shooter was faceless just added to the scariness of the situation. Who was this guy and what was his major malfunction?

The recent events in the Washington D.C. area add an air of reality to this movie. No one really believed that people were capable of such ugly crimes.

"Two-Minute Warning", aside from the formula melodrama, is a creepy film that might be a little too real now.

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