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The talent of Richard Harris at using widely differing dialects is the most compelling aspect of this highly manipulative and tritely written film wherein Harris portrays Danny Travis, a visionary but failed inventor who, despite widowerhood, has raised three children, albeit in a state of genteel poverty with their home being a Los Angeles apartment building that has been condemned by State officials in order to erect a massive mixed purpose complex upon the site. Urban renewal in this case translates into large monetary profit for the responsible insiders, and when a County Marshal attempts to dislodge Danny and his brood, Travis takes him prisoner and becomes a national celebrity due to contrivances arranged by a television reporter, played by Karen Black, and in the face of the best efforts of a former neighbour (well-played by Martin Landau) of Danny, the police captain in command of the hostage situation. A self-described Irish immigrant, Travis has virtually no accent and this noteworthy acting skill of Harris possesses far more interest than a plot that has only the most tortured connection with credibility and is further marred by an extraordinarily poor depiction of L.A.P.D. Swat tactics; the title refers to uncertainty as to which will have the final word: government, media, or an individual; curiously, a rushed ending leaves any answer in doubt.
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