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Marvin LaRoy Sanders
On the eve of Christmas, an urbane, loutish and acidly cynical Montreal radio talk-show host is taken hostage in his own studio by a band of crusading terrorists who want a new on-the-air trial of a comrade they feel was wrongly convicted. For collateral, the terrorists have also taken hostage his rich wife and mentally retarded son in their own home. The listening audience shall act as the jury and phone in their verdicts. As the trial progresses, disembodied voices, Christmas hymns, religious imagery, one of the terrorists relating the story of "The Wind in the Willows," the voice of a child singing "Come All Ye Faithful" in Latin reflect the psyche of the characters in moments of truth. All the while, the talk-show host must sustain the role of grand showman and project his wit and cavalierness to the listening audience, despite the tense situation. Captor and captive engage in a furious battle of wits. Written by
Despite the presence of the usually fascinating Patrick McGoohan, "Kings and Desperate Men" is almost a total failure. From a plot standpoint, the elaborate hostage taking scheme over a comrade's 15 year sentence for vehicular homicide seems unlikely at best and totally unbelievable at worst. The relationship of the hostage takers to the imprisoned criminal is never explained, and a who cares attitude permeates the film. From a technical standpoint, things are even worse. Long segments of dialog are incomprehensible, and the camera-work could only be described as annoying. What you get is a boring movie that will be a form of punishment for almost everyone. - MERK
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