Captain Tony's Saloon is a real bar in Key West, FL, and was owned by the real Captain Tony, who was also mayor of Key West for a time. He appears in the film as a watcher on horseback in one of the scenes when "Tony" visits the Cuban coast. See more »
This is a muddled (to say nothing of misguided) adventure-cum-political thriller, ostensibly revolving around an assassination attempt on the life of Cuban dictator Fidel Castro. One such attempt had really occurred in 1961, cue muffled newsreel footage of the era and an amateurish re-enactment of the event which was stifled before it had even begun, when the American forces were intercepted and annihilated at a place called Bay Of Pigs!
A survivor of that debacle Robert Vaughn is called upon by his old boss Raymond St. Jacques to try again some twenty years later; however, Vaughn has to make do with the dubious help of an abrasive and foul-mouthed Italian mobster (Michael V. Gazzo) and the "salty" skipper of a tugboat (Stuart Whitman), who's suspicious of the whole affair shades of Howard Hawks' adaptation of Ernest Hemingway's TO HAVE AND HAVE NOT (1944). Eventually, it transpires that the assassination plot was just a ruse to transport a cache' of heroin from Cuba to Key West, Florida as a matter of fact, once the deal is closed, the boss sells the expendable members of the outfit to the Cubans! Then, as was the case with the excellent Jean-Paul Belmondo vehicle THE PROFESSIONAL (1981; which, coincidentally, I've just watched), Vaughn obsessed by his personal hatred of Castro decides to pull off the job nonetheless, a' la Fritz Lang's MANHUNT (1941; where the target had been Adolf Hitler), but is thwarted in the attempt.
Also in the cast are Woody Strode as Whitman's loyal and imposing black sidekick and Sybil Danning as Gazzo's moll (in charge of overseeing Whitman's family which has been kidnapped as a safeguard); for good measure, another female 'agent' has been brought in to seduce the hard-boiled skipper, but she too is callously gotten out of the way once she has served her purpose! An out-and-out B-movie, this isn't exactly laugh-out-loud bad though there are certainly a number of cringe-inducing (and, as it happens, wholly irrelevant) bits involving the antics of a gay regular (with a huge head of hair!) at Whitman's bar and a sumo-type match between a couple of strapping black wrestlers. Equally amusing, however, are the scene in which the irate Whitman drives his jeep through the wall of Vaughn's headquarters and Gazzo's come-uppance at the hands of a bevy of man-eating sea turtles!
The film must not have appealed to anyone at the time and, in fact, has a plethora of alternate titles attached to it depending on the element the producers wished to stress, these included such awkward titles as ASSIGNMENT KILL CASTRO and SWEET DIRTY TONY (referring to Whitman's rugged hero). Finally, given the excessive softness of the image, one can only assume that the DVD I watched was sourced from a VHS transfer!
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