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For every Natalie Imbruglia there are 10 Sarah Vandenberghs; there's a
carload of Rachel Blakelys for every Kylie Minogue. What I'm getting at is
that post-"Neighbours" life can be a sorry one - consider Kimberley Davies,
aka Annalise. Now back on her home turf after an unsuccessful turn in the US
(chiefly in "Pacific Palisades," a series from Aaron Spelling where she
played a sexy real estate agent which was so unsuccessful that the producers
drafted in Joan Collins - now THAT'S desperate), she's stuck in stuff like
"Seconds to Spare." And she still can't act, but fortunately she's still
gorgeous, which is one of the few things this Australian-American TV movie
has going for it.
To be honest, no one has the right to expect much from a movie where the names "Carlton America" and "Antonio Sabato Jr." appear in the opening credits; ASJr plays an ex-DEA agent chasing a criminal to Australia, who's fallen in league with a band of eco-terrorists who steal some canisters of nerve gas to make a statement against the Australian government's stance on toxic dumping, and hijack a train in order to get their point across. "Die Hard" on a train it's not (that was "Under Siege 2," anyway), in more ways than one; the movie not only lacks real suspense but has villains who are ultimately and infinitely more interesting than our plank-esque hero - the leader of the treehuggers (Kate Beahan) doesn't want to use violence to win, which puts her in conflict with the main villain (Jerome Ehlers, clearly enjoying himself).
Chugging along at a pace considerably slower than the train, with a lacklustre score and effects work, and dire acting and dialogue ("All the while she was doing my root canal, my husband was..."), there's not a surprise to be had in the entire movie - with the exception of the name of co-executive producer Sabato Jr's production company (Namtab Productions Inc. - though given his uselessness, Etimtab Productions Inc. would have been more appropriate). Unless Nine Network Australia wanted to prove that the US doesn't have a monopoly on making naff actioners, there's not much of a point to this; and unless you want to see Nick Tate in something even sillier than "Space: 1999," there's no reason to watch.
Kimberley Davies still fills out a white T-shirt wonderfully, however. (Okay, there's at least two reasons to watch.)
The only thing worth watching about this movie is Kimberley Davies, and
that's just looking at her, not her acting (she can't act - but then
that only puts her on par with the rest of the cast of this
Mmm. Should have given it 1/10 instead of 2. Certainly the special effects aren't even worth that.
Read a good book, watch something else, eg. flies crawling up the wall, or maybe grass growing, or photos of Kimberley, or some of the wonderful non-action-genre movies that have come out of Australia in the last twenty years.
One day Australians will realise that they make great intelligent movies without trying to match Hollywood for action blockbusters which they will never be able to do. Until then we are stuck with these occasional misguided unsuccessful forays.
Contemplating this movie's showing on overseas TV networks makes me cringe as an Australian.
Don't bother with this one.
SECONDS TO SPARE
Aspect ratio: 1.78:1
Sound format: Stereo
After serving time in prison on a trumped-up charge of corruption, an ex-DEA officer (Antonio Sabato Jr.) travels to Australia in search of the man responsible for his ordeal (Jerome Ehlers), a rogue CIA agent who has hijacked a passenger train and is threatening to detonate a nerve bomb in the heart of Sydney...
Antonio Sabato Jr. is the perfect action hero: He's dark and handsome, and he can kick butt with the best of 'em. The only 'trouble' is his chest - he's got the best pecs in the business, and his costume designer knows it. When he wears a tight-fitting T-shirt (as he does frequently throughout this opportunistic mini-epic), or - better still - when he isn't wearing a shirt at all (there's only one gratuitous 'topless' scene, but welcome nonetheless!), some viewers will be hopelessly distracted by the size, shape and all-round magnificence of those plate-sized pectorals. Thankfully, Sabato wears another (loose fitting) shirt just long enough for Brian Trenchard-Smith's ho-hum actioner to emerge into some kind of focus, and while there's nothing new in either the script (by Trenchard-Smith and Dennis Pratt) or direction, the movie contains enough explosions and punch-ups to satisfy the target audience. Former soap star Kimberley Davies (sporting a rather magnificent chest of her own!) is Sabato's potential love interest, prone to falling into the wrong hands and being rescued by her hunky would-be boyfriend, while Kate Beahan suffers gracefully as Ehler's naive associate, a good-hearted soul who realizes - too late! - the hijack will end in disaster for millions of innocent people. Professional in all departments, the movie is no more than a routine time-waster, but Sabato's pumped-up torso is worth endless repeat viewings. Drool, slobber...
Basically what we have here is a bargain basement action thriller set
mainly on a train and utilising numerous bits of other film's scripts
(spot the photocopied plots from Under Siege 2, Death Train and
numerous others here).
Add every cliché in the book, some truly awful acting, standard issue one liners that don't work, various cardboard characters, the token eye candy and a cast that seemed to be only in this as they desperately needed the money to a budget of about ten dollars and this is the mess you wind up with.
The locomotives acted better than the cast, probably because they did not have to recite the cheesy clichéd dialogue that basically ran from start to finish, it is little wonder that one comment from an Australian (where this Antipodean codswallop was made and is set) wanted to hang his head in shame that they where producing stuff like this.
Stick to Mad Max films please.......
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
***SPOILERS*** Tracking down the guy fellow DEA Agent Emmett Larkin
payed by Jerome Ehlers, who has a striking resemblance to he late
Brtish actor Laurence Harvey, disgraced and on the lam, from breaking
out of federal prison, DEA Agent Paul Blake, Antonio Sabato Jr, finally
finds the creep on the other side of the world.
It's in the wilds of Australia that Larkin has made plans to steal a number of the country's deadly poison gas canisters also known as weapons of mass destruction-WMDS-to use for his own selfish and greedy purposes. Not in what he lead his boss in this operation fanatical environmentalist and president of the EDL, Earth Defense League, Kate Beahan, Eve Lambert, into thinking that he's doing it to save the environment for future generations. Larkin wants to us them to blackmail the Australian Government to pay him off, with 25 million dollars, or else the city of Sidney with a population of 5 million will end up a ghost town! With everyone in it dead when he detonates the poison gas canisters that he'll ship into the city under the cover of darkness by rail! In the train that Larkin and his crew are planning to hijack!
Spotting-on a tip-Larkin on the train at the loading station Blake uses pretty Sidney native Rhonda Newcombe (Kimberley Davies), whom earlier at the train station he almost knocked off her feet, as a front to keep Larkin and his gang from knowing that he's on to them. Blake wants Larkin to think that he and his lovely date Rhonda are taking a romantic ride through the Australian countryside. Rhonda at first thinking that Blake is some love-sick romantic looking for action is later sadly disappointed in finding out that it's Larkin not her that he's after and it has nothing at all to do with love! Straight or gay! It has to do with him getting even with Larkin for setting him up in a phony drug sting as well, in finding out later, preventing him and his gang from pulling off a super 9/11 on one of Australia's major cities!
Good action scenes with Blake-undercover-knocking off Larkin's men one by one as the terror train hurdlers towards its target Sidney with only minutes if not seconds left, with the timers on the gas bombs set to go off, to stop it. Back in Australia's top intelligence agency's headquarters Commander, the guy who runs the whole show, Haggarty played by Nick Tate has to make the biggest decision of his entire life! Have the runaway train blows to smatterings and kill everyone on it, hijackers as well as Innocent civilians, or allow it to smash through city limits and wipe the city of Sidney off the face of the earth!
***SPOILERS*** Exceing and Unbearable tension as Rhonda, not Blake as you would suspect, saves the day by disconnecting the train's locomotive that has the poison gas canisters on it and having it incinerated, by attack helicopters, thus rendering them harmless! Larkin seeing that his whole grand plan has suddenly, thanks to both Blake & Rhonda, gone up in smoke tries to make a run for it only to find, guess who, an angry and take no BS or prisoners former DEA Agent Paul Blake standing in his way! In the end it was poor and naive Eve Lambart who got the very worst of it from both her partner in crime Larkin as well as from Blake and the Australian Government! Foolisly thinking that Larkin was really interested in saving the environment Eve unknowingly made it possible for him to destroy it, with the poison gas canisters, for many many centuries to come!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Hollywood actioners which involve Terrorists/Trains/He-Man Heroes,etc
were already tediously out-dated when this Australian hybrid was
made;the only fun to be had is see if the Aussies can make them as
derivatively and dully as Hollywood.The answer is they certainly can
after this film,only on a lower budget!
Kimberley Davies(Annalise from 'NEIGHBOURS)stars,and despite her limited acting ability is not helped by the hopelessly hackneyed script.She is,in fact,the only reason for watching;the dull,monosyllabic hero makes Arnie S seem like Larry O;the comic book villains are alternately over-the-top or wooden,with the wimpiest of cowards thrown in for good measure.Some incidents are reworked from SILVER STREAK(1976)and loads of other(equally clichéd)films.At least SILVER STREAK was often intentionally funny;the humour here is always unintended.Only watchable on that level.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
If I have a problem with the modern environmental movement it`s with their
pacifism at all costs stance . You see the modern environmental movement was
founded by quakers who`s ethos of non violence is the primary idealogy of
the green movement . This is to critical free thinkers a flawed ideal ,
after all how you going to deal with evil men like Adolph Hitler and Osama
Bin Laden without using force ? So it`s totally ironic that films always
portray environmentalists as gun toting nutters . Can anyone remember these
stupid holistic minded thrillers where Steven Seagal shows the world that
ecology is all about blowing away everyone who works for an oil company ?
Well it`s the same with SECONDS TO SPARE though thankfully someone came up
with a great idea to make the greenies the bad guys
!!!!! MILD SPOILERS !!!!!
There`s some really twisted logic in this movie . The eco-terrorist leader Eve is against violence so she and her cohorts join up with a former CIA man ( Has there ever been a film where a former CIA man is shown in a good light ? ) and a Serbian war criminal ( Has there ever been a film where Serbs aren`t war criminals ) get some guns , steal a large amount of nerve gas , blow up a nerve disposal unit killing everyone inside , hijack a train to use it as a missile , and it`s only then Eve realises she`s taking part in something a little more serious than a sit down protest ! Duh hello , Earth to Eve ? I suppose her full name must be Naive ?
As for the rest of SECONDS TO SPARE it`s basically one of those generic " Hero on a train that`s full of hostages " thrillers , a bit like DEATH TRAIN or UNDER SIEGE 2 so it plays out in a fairly predictable manner as with scene of bad guy taking pretty blonde hostage to quiet part of train to rape her but hero pops up and kills bad guy ,and scene with man in charge of operation making decision to save millions by sacrificing the hostages on the train .
You`ve more chance of seeing Patrick Moore and Bjorn Lomborg rejoining Greenpeace than you have seeing the bad guys carry out their dastardly plan in this type of film
Although this movie was originally titled "Seconds To Spare", for its North American release the title was changed to "Operation Wolverine: Seconds To Spare", no doubt in an attempt to make a connection with Antonio Sabato Jr.'s earlier Australian movie "Code Name: Wolverine" - even though Sabato is playing a completely different character here! Anyway, as other user comments have previously noted, this movie is a rip- off of "Under Siege 2". While that movie was not great, it looks great compared to this rip-off. It was clearly made for TV, so it's obvious that the movie didn't have a great budget, with various cost-cutting measures evident throughout. But what really sinks the movie is how surprisingly boring it is. Australians have made some great action movies, but you wouldn't know it from this movie, with one scene falling with a thud after another. By the way, has Antonio Sabato Jr. ever been in a good movie?
Ex-DEA agent Paul Blake sets out from Miami to Sydney to track down a
criminal he has a vendetta with. Meanwhile the EDL (Earth Defence
League) carry out a raid on a chemical bunker in the Australian desert
to make money and draw attention to the harm done to the earth, however
the idealistic Eve Lambert doesn't realise that the "team" that is
assisting with her work is none other than the associates of Larkin,
the very man that Drake is hunting. Having spent about 15 minutes
wandering around Sydney looking in corners, Drake spots Larkin boarding
a train having carried out the EDL job. He follows them onto the train,
meeting the sexy Rhonda at the same time however, when the Government
try to stop the train Larkin's men take over, leaving Drake the only
man able to stop him.
I might say negative things about this film but please bare in mind that I chose, of my own freewill, to watch a film with Antonio Sabato Jnr and Kimberley Davis in the title roles. Regardless of this I tuned in to find a film that took about 15 minutes to actually set up the basic story (and does it in a pretty poor way) and by the time everyone had gotten onto the train I had gotten the gist that this was basically a version of Under Siege 2 and managed to make me realise just how much fun that film is. With a "by the numbers" plot involving nerve gas, things did not look good and, sure enough, things never got above the predictable and the obvious. This leaves the fight scenes and action to really involve and, while it isn't really bad, it certainly never gets above the average and more often than not is actually around the mediocre. Every now and again people get shot, punched or thrown out of trains; it is all done without any real style or imagination and the sheer blandness of the action just sucks any remaining tension out for good.
There are people on this earth do think that the Van Damme's of this world are perhaps poor action actors but to them I simply say "you have not seen enough Antonio Sabato Jr films" because, if they had, they would hold Van Damme in higher stead. Here he is roundly poor he has no screen presence, doesn't move that well, has poor chemistry with his co-star and, dammit, just looks plain weird. Of course he hardly risks being outperformed by Davies who is just a typical simmering blonde who doesn't even get that much screen time and barely looks mussed up at any point. Beahan is a bit annoying but, as with so many of these things, the bad guy dominates the film. This is not to say that Ehlers has a lot of competition but he does seem to be having fun even if his performance is just a poor carbon copy of much better ones.
Overall this is a pretty poor film but might just about do very undemanding genre fans who find themselves stuck with nothing better to do/watch. However with so many "Die Hard in a .." type movies around you do have to wonder whether or not we really needed another one added to the pile? On the basis of the mediocre action, bad acting, predictable plotting and total lack of excitement or tension here, the most obvious answer is no.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
The train has to be stopped. Every single train in world has an emergency break in every compartment and even in bathrooms. It just has to be said above all other holes in the plot. So, the main problem of the plot was very easy to manage. Another example: It is very unprofessional for government intelligence agency to hire intimately close people in same action. I am talking about the blonde girl in headquarters and her boyfriend on the field. It just could not work. I do not like when movie-makers think that audience is stupid. Anyway, I intentionally forgot all stupid things and had fun watching this. Everybody has to see This. We should not forget how the really awful movie looks like. But... Kimberley Davies looks very perfect. I do not care if she does not know how to act. Finally, she was the reason I did not turned it off.
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