Rules of Engagement (1989)

TV Mini-Series  -   -  Thriller
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Political intrigue and murder occurs when the English town of Portsmouth is sealed off by the military during the eve of World War III.

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1989  
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Cast

Series cast summary:
Anna Calder-Marshall ...
 Joanna Goodman (6 episodes, 1989)
...
 Martin Goodman (6 episodes, 1989)
Amanda Fawcett ...
 Suzanne Wallace (6 episodes, 1989)
Derek Fowlds ...
 Oliver Davidson (6 episodes, 1989)
Karl Jenkinson ...
 Clive Evans (6 episodes, 1989)
...
 Dave Gillespie (6 episodes, 1989)
Leo Kay ...
 Sean Gillespie (6 episodes, 1989)
Cathy Tyson ...
 Annie McPhee (6 episodes, 1989)
Fiona Victory ...
 Sandra Gillespie (6 episodes, 1989)
Peter Atard ...
 Albie Curtis (5 episodes, 1989)
...
 Mick Rendall (5 episodes, 1989)
Andrew Gubbs ...
 James Goodman (5 episodes, 1989)
Rudolph Walker ...
 Harry Cartwright (5 episodes, 1989)
Helen Lovering ...
 Nicola Goodman (4 episodes, 1989)
Philip Lowrie ...
 Nigel Quinn (4 episodes, 1989)
Bill Wallis ...
 Duggie Bullock (4 episodes, 1989)
Andy Bradford ...
 Tail / ... (3 episodes, 1989)
Ian Collier ...
 Colonel Lipscoombe (3 episodes, 1989)
Charles Lewsen ...
 Interrogator (3 episodes, 1989)
Debbie Thrower ...
 News Presenter (3 episodes, 1989)
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Storyline

Political intrigue and murder occurs when the English town of Portsmouth is sealed off by the military during the eve of World War III.

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tv mini series | See All (1) »

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Thriller

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12 June 1989 (UK)  »

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(6 episodes)

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Trivia

The film was part of a 1980s cycle of films about atomic bombs and nuclear warfare which had started in 1979 with The China Syndrome (1979). The films included Silkwood (1983), Testament (1983), Threads (1984), WarGames (1983), The Day After (1983), The Atomic Cafe (1982), The Manhattan Project (1986), Whoops Apocalypse (1982), Special Bulletin (1983), Ground Zero (1987), Barefoot Gen (Barefoot Gen (1983)), Rules of Engagement (1989), When the Wind Blows (1986), Letters from a Dead Man (Pisma myortvogo cheloveka (1986)), Memoirs of a Survivor (1981) and The Chain Reaction (1980). See more »

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User Reviews

 
When British television was at its dullest
7 September 2005 | by (London) – See all my reviews

In the 1970's it was widely regarded that Britain put out the most consistently innovative and entertaining television. Then, in the 80's, the whole thing began to unravel bit by bit. Action drama was all but dead, sitcoms had lost their way and British movies and shows were either flashy, vacuous stuff or leaden paced and tedious. "Rules of Engagement" is definitely the latter.

The political conspiracy thriller was all the rage in Britain in the 80's. You had "Threads" (an anti-Thatcherite post apocalyptic drama), "Edge of Darkness" (an anti-Thatcherite nuclear power drama), "Harry's Game" (anti-Thatcherite Northern Ireland drama), "A Very British Coup" (anti-American and by way of that, anti-Thatcherite as well), "Between the Lines" (anti-Police and natch, anti-Thatcher), "Defence of the Realm" (yep, you guessed it) and this.

The mini-series was supposedly set on the eve of WW3, although this is left vague. There's some national disaster which needs martial law and state of emergency powers in...erm, Portsmouth but we rarely see troop movements, people talking in shops, bars, pubs, offices about the crisis. In fact, you rarely see anyone outside of the main characters, not even extras. Kenneth Cranham plays the government minister put in charge of handling the emergency and for such a good actor, he's totally unconvincing in the part. He gets interviewed on the television, supposedly to calm people's fears and yet his delivery is so stock shifty politician/villain with eye rolling, slow and sinister speech and shifting continually in his seat that you don't buy anything he says.

Then there's the "romantic" sub-plot between Karl Johnson and Cathy Tyson. In all this "world crisis", they just amble around trying to find each other and look nervous. It's a shame because Tyson went from being in "Mona Lisa" and stardom to "oh yeah, whatever happened to her?" after this. The pace of this drama was turgid, and they tried to make it look like a top draw conspiracy drama by having a cut to credits title card of the main actors done up like chess pieces moving across a board...only this was a match that went on for 6 weeks and ended in a tame draw.


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