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Mike Catton was once a world-renowned construction foreman (at least in the construction world), but an accident left him with a serious fear of heights. Unable to climb the big skyscrapers while under construction, he retired and became a truck driver. But when an old friend needs him to help put up a building, and when the old friend gets harassed and threatened by an Evil Corporate Type, he comes out of retirement and assembles the creme de la creme of the construction world. Together, they race against time to finish the building while the Evil Corporate Type tries to stop them. Written by
Lee Majors made several pictures during his stardom period of "The Six Million Dollar Man." Most weren't particularly good ("The Norseman" was the absolute pits), but this is a neat little surprise. It's along the same lines as "The Magnificent Seven" in that it brings together a disparate group of professionals in order to achieve a seemingly impossible goal--in this case they're a construction crew that has to finish off the top nine stories of a building in the short span of three weeks. The tone is a bit lighter than usual for this kind of film, with some welcome humorous touches, notably the antics of Terry Kiser and Albert Salmi as a libidinous steelworker and a prankish crane operator, respectively. Majors was never an actor with much range, but here he's actually quite good as the crew leader and plays well off the other actors. The movie has a roster of first-rate character actors whose presence raises its interest level several notches. It's also one of the few films where veteran heavy Richard Lynch gets to play against type as a good guy (albeit a tough one), and he's quite effective at it. Jennifer O'Neill is still as beautiful as ever and still can't act to save her life, but she doesn't drag the picture down as she did, for example, in the John Wayne western "Rio Lobo", in which she was so astoundingly inept it was actually embarrassing to watch her; she's better than that here. Director Steve Carver paid his dues with Roger Corman, and while he never attained the levels of success as fellow Corman alumni Martin Scorsese or Jonathan Demme, he was usually a more than competent filmmaker, and he's done a good job of putting this one together. It's well paced, with a few twists and turns, and the cast seems to be having a good time. You could do worse than rent this on a night when you have nothing much to do.
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