A gangster, a crooked banker, a hitman and an arab terrorist are stranded and on the run in a small village in South America. Their only chance of escape is to drive two trucks filled with unstable nitroglycerin up a long and rocky mountain road in order to plug an escalating oil refinery blaze. With their deadly cargo likely to explode at the slightest bump, the four men must put aside their differences and work together to survive.
During a sequence involving the detonation of an enormous kaoba tree, William Friedkin was faced with a problem of inadequate explosive power. Initially, Marcel Vercoutere, a special effects man who previously worked with the director on The Exorcist (1973), was to be responsible for the explosion. However, it did not achieve the required effect and barely damaged the tree. This prompted Friedkin to reach for the services of an arsonist hailing from Queens, New York, going by the pseudonym "Marvin the Torch", who arrived at the Dominican Republic three days after the call and utilizing flammable materials obliterated the tree in one take the following morning. See more »
One of the soldiers killed by Nilo is seen breathing and moving after dead. See more »
At the end of the film as the last of the end credits scroll up, the music fades away and is replaced by the sound of an idling truck. See more »
The European version of the film was re-edited and shortened by CIC, the European distributor, without director William Friedkin's permission. The prologue sequences set in New York, Paris, Vera Cruz and Israel that show what happened to the main characters and why they had to flee to South America, were changed to flashbacks running throughout the film. See more »
An underrated film with a typically stellar Roy Scheider performance, an eerie Tangerine Dream soundtrack, and brilliant visuals. This film's reputation suffers from its inexplicable title and unfavorable comparisons to the original. But it's useless to compare since this film is an altogether different beast. Friedkin gives it his usual nihilist/fatalist/existential stamp, making it a much darker film than the French version. Very suspenseful and well-made. Made by Friedkin at the height of his powers. His third best film after Exorcist and French Connection.
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