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High Risk
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Reviews & Ratings for
High Risk More at IMDbPro »

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13 out of 13 people found the following review useful:

Getting in is the Easy Part...

Author: Bogmeister from United States
2 August 2005

Unusual blend of action adventure and comedy: 4 typical white-collar Californians (led by Brolin), fed up with barely making it, head down to the jungles of South America to steal a cool $5 million out of the safe of a drug kingpin (Coburn). But, as they soon find out, and the audience is a step ahead of 'em, getting in was the easy part. Besides the drug lord, who has a police force on his side, the 4 buddies also contend with a gang of bandits (led by Quinn, ornery in that good-natured way). Lindsay Wagner, formerly the Bionic Woman, pops up as a weed-smokin' American trapped in a jail cell. And that's just the start of the fun.

This was completely ignored on release; I saw it back then in '81 and was puzzled why no one else did. It's even more baffling that not even a cult appreciation has surfaced in the past 20 years (and no quality DVD - drat!). The filmmakers managed to present the 4 guys out of their element as stumbling and with a loser mentality, but not stupid, so that you're on their side all the way, and you have to admire the daring - the gall, really - of what they're attempting. The whole point is to stop losing, to come out winners, and somehow or other, you feel they'll stumble their way there, eventually - maybe. The picture treads the line between slapstick comedy and real action: there are moments when one or more of the 4 are in serious danger. There are some fine chase scenes around the exotic wilderness and, in the gun battles, though hardly anyone gets hurt, it feels kind of lifelike (there ARE deaths), since most people miss in real life too, unless they're an expert marksman.

The performances are all great. Watch Coburn when first confronted by the 4 dudes. He's a master of his domain, serene in his power; who are (?) these 4 bozos tying me up in my own mansion, he thinks. You get the feeling throughout the film, this is the way it would really happen; no well-timed explosions, no clichéd formula for escape, just a rough-and-tumble forward momentum. There's a great scene which shows how it would go if you really tried to knock someone out in real life - it's not as easy as in the movies. And, there's no real mystery for me about the ending; the whole story depicted a rush of one step forward and two steps back. The end, which may not be the end, just leaves the viewers with a final question mark - are they about to take two steps back again? If this had been a big success like "Romancing the Stone," a sequel would have answered it. But we really don't need a sequel. Each viewer can make up the next scene for these guys in their own minds.

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13 out of 13 people found the following review useful:

I actually saw this indie gem in a theater!

Author: SquirePM from Birmingham, Alabama
21 July 1999

Talk about an independently produced film! This one's a wonderful example of how hard the indies work, and what good movies they make.

How they ever convinced a cast like this to go sweat it out in a jungle, I can't imagine. James Brolin shines, but so do they all.

And I still can't believe they got somebody to handle a snake that BIG just for a 5-second shot, which you better believe they captured in one perfect take, 'cause that snake was headed for home the instant they released it!

This is a fine, light hearted action film, fast paced, well written and plotted and with a lot of depth. Each actor obviously got way into his role, especially Anthony Quinn. And those whacko airplane pilots! The old C-47 STILL RULES!!!

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12 out of 12 people found the following review useful:

I'll never forget taking a chance on this sleeper featured on a double-bill with some chop-sockey movie!

Author: ( from auburn, california
31 July 2001

I absolutely love this film! Whenever I have theatre nachos (which is not often) I think back to 20 years ago when I fell in love with this forgotten gem at the Meridian Quad theatre in San Jose. That's what I ate during the film. They went together perfectly. I had the original one-sheet poster hanging on my wall for awhile. Many people who saw the poster had no idea this film even existed. If it ever comes out on DVD, I'll purchase it. Anthony Quinn was priceless as the bandit Mariano; and Borgnine's one scene is a classic! I recommend it to anyone looking for a genuine diamond-in-the-rough eighties film! Just terrific!

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11 out of 11 people found the following review useful:

Action/Adventure Sleeper

Author: chez-3 from Chicago, Il
4 February 1999

Don't be surprised if you've never heard of "High Risk." I know few people who have. But if you like adventure and excitement with some humor thrown in then this is your ticket.

James Brolin stars as one of four friends sick and tired of working hard and being paid little. They decide to take a trip to Colombia to steal money from a reputed drug lord. According to plan they'll walk in, get the money, and head back to the states via two airplane pilots they've hired that more resemble Cheech and Chong then they do pilots. Naturally, things don't work out as planned and the chase is on.

The reason you may never have heard of this film is that it was released back in 1981 for a one week only stint. It happened to be the week before another action film opened I'm sure you've heard of - "Raiders of the Lost Ark." This film got lost in the hype.

So go out and find this movie at the local video store (the television version is usually butchered). You won't be disappointed.

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8 out of 9 people found the following review useful:


Author: ED (gandamack1) from MISSISSIPPI
7 January 2004

I am a long time fan,and i feel this movie has the best surprise ending of any I have seen.Really good character devlopment,it is certainly a REPEAT VIEWER,but stay with it until the very last or you will miss out.Some of the best action and dialogue are in the closing scenes.

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7 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

Good action movie

Author: Logan_5 from Dallas, Texas
3 May 1999

This is a good action movie that was over looked because Raiders of the Lost Ark came out at the same time. Hard to find a video, but it is an excellent comedy-action movie.

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5 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

"Look, we've got four million dollars. We could put Donald Duck in the White House."

Author: bensonmum2 from Tennessee
2 March 2005

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

- Four regular guys come up with a plan to rob a South American drug lord of $5 million. The money is locked inside a safe in a heavily guarded compound. Getting to the money proves to be fairly easy. But getting away is another story. In addition to the drug lord's men, the guys are chased by a rebel army who would like to get their hands on the money.

- It's amazing how good this relatively unknown movie really is. I had never even heard of it until I found it in the $1 DVD bin at Wal Mart. The plot and cast (James Coburn, Anthony Quinn, Ernest Borgnine, Cleavon Little, James Brolin, Lindsay Wagner) looked good, so I decided to "risk" a whole dollar. The movie is definitely worth spending $1 to see.

- The movie reminded me of Romancing the Stone - similar setting, similar South American bandits, etc. The biggest difference is that High Risk has a harder edge to it. I mean some of our "heroes" actually get shot and there's a real danger they won't make it through the movie.

- I've read that High Risk was released the same weekend as a little, insignificant movie called Raiders of the Lost Arc. Too bad. It looks like High Risk got lost in the shuffle. It definitely deserves a wider audience.

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4 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Blue Collar Guys-on-a-Mission Movie

Author: Raegan Butcher from Rain City, Pacific Northwest
13 December 2009

A group of unemployed auto-workers decide to rip off a South American drug lord in this very enjoyable "blue-collar-guys-on-a-mission" movie.

In the wryly amusing first act the desperate group of amateurs tell their wives they're going fishing for the weekend. Then they buy a crap-load of guns from Ernest Borgnine.("You guys aren't going to be doing anything to hurt any animals, are you?" he asks before selling them the weaponry.) Finally they hire some sketchy mercenary-types to fly them to South America, with a promise to return in two days. What could go wrong?

James Brolin has the right flinty charm as the nominal hero.("I sold everything I own for this deal! I sold my house, my car, hell, I even sold my damn dishes to raise the money for this!" he snaps at one point when morale is flagging.) Cleavon Little, Chick Vennera and Bruce Davison provide reliable 2nd banana support. Lindsay Wagner is sparkly and sweet in her role as a hippie they meet and help spring from jail during the course of their misadventures. James Coburn smiles like a shark in his cameo as the vicious drug lord. But it is Anthony Quinn as a feisty bandit/revolutionary who could've stumbled in from The Treasure of the Sierra Madre who steals the show. He is clearly having fun and it is infectious.

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4 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

From The Back Of The Box

Author: viewerschoice from Great White North
3 February 2002

Headlining this all-star, action-adventure are four modern-day Robin Hoods, out to steal from the rich and give to themselves. They parachute into a steamy South American jungle; locate the secluded compound of a notorious Colombian cocaine dealer; get past a veritable army of his sentries; cooly break into his safe and remove five million beautiful dollars; make it through a rain forest hotly pursued by armed guards with attack dogs; survive an encounter with a crazy band of greedy revolutionaries; zigzag through a hail of bullets at a wild airstrip rendezvous to escape in a plane with most of the money intact...without getting themselves killed.

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

A 25 year old sleeper!

Author: from USA
1 September 2006

This is a great movie for 30-40-50-somethings and anyone who remembers Borgnine, Coburn and Quinn (probably won't appeal to the youngest generation - they won't get it). Great performances from James Brolin, Bruce Davidson, Cleavon Little, Chick Vennera and Lindsay Wagner. Cameo appearances from Ernest Borgnine , James Coburn and Anthony Quinn. Pretty much non-stop, roller-coater action from the get-go and it just keeps building up until the very end. Best of all is the ending. I won't spoil it, but you don't often get a drama/action movie with a such a happy ending. And that final quirk!? Watch it - highly recommended! Be warned, however, that the DVD transfer is absolutely awful.

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