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Aboard the cargo vessel converted into a luxury cruise ship SS Campari somewhere in the Caribbean is lying in port due to a succession of delays. Chief Officer Johnny Carter, who has to put up a moody captain and the unwanted charms of the beautiful young Susan Beresford, realizes these delays are due to sabotage and that there is something seriously wrong. When the Campari finally sails, a member of the crew is suddenly missing. An unsuccessful stem to stem search for the crew member, with violence suddenly erupting endangers the whole ship. The ship is then controlled by a master criminal whose intention is not a simple hijacking and ransoming of the wealthy hostages on board, so what exactly does he have in mind? Written by
Action-packed suspense thriller finds innocuous-looking purser Carter (Harris) the unlikely hero when the floating casino on which he works is hijacked by a heavily armed group of mercenaries, led by John Vernon, the pirates en route to a rendezvous with another ocean liner, loaded with gold bullion. A cast full of supernovas, dazzling set & stunt work, and a catchy theme tune by Jeff Wayne create a pleasing audio-visual experience light on logic but fast paced and entertaining nonetheless.
While Harris clearly has centre stage, Jackson, Vernon and Meredith benefit from key supporting roles in this somewhat bloody thriller. Vernon in particular, is sadistically ruthless and calculated as a business-like assassin, cool, methodical and neither fooled nor intimidated by Harris' faux bravado. Turkel (Mrs Harris at the time) affects inane dialogue without displaying much acting talent, while capable cast including Janssen, former leading lady Malone, Beatty and horror maestro Carradine are wasted in frivolous supporting roles that look as though they were edited down to virtual bit parts in post production; in point of fact, some key plot development is conspicuously absent, and the narrative can at times, lack cohesion.
But in spite of the obvious flaws, this remains an easy viewing nonsense, with an attractive international cast, pulsating sound and plenty of graphic action - the scene in which the mercenaries first rappel through the casino windows is sure to catch a few off guard, and sets the tone for the remainder of the movie. Not the best translation of an Alistair MacLeanthriller, gratuitously violent (lots of claret), and yet somehow, irresistibly entertaining.
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