The Island (1980) Poster

(1980)

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Shiver Me Timbers!!!!!
G-Man-2517 April 2000
This movie should have done better at the boxoffice. Not too many people know about it, but it's an intriguing modern-day pirate tale with plenty of surprises and it's spiked with a healthy dose of black humor. Michael Caine plays a journalist assigned to investigate some mysterious disappearances in the Bermuda Triangle and decides that the trip would be a perfect vacation opportunity for him and his son to reconnect after being somewhat estranged due to divorce. They soon run afoul of a roving band of modern-day pirates who kidnap them and try to turn the son against father via brainwashing. Will Caine and his son escape the clutches of these scurvy scalawags? Finding out will be all the fun!

To go on would definitely spoil some of the many surprises, but be ready for plenty of amusing action, sharp humor and some hair-raising violence (including a finale that would make Sam Peckinpah DAMN proud!) A very entertaining adventure that deserves to be re-discovered. ***stars
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Fun Rubbish...But Rubbish Nonetheless
BaronBl00d7 December 2003
Make no mistakes here. The Island, based on the novel by the same name by Peter Benchley, is far - far from being a good film. The basic premise has Michael Caine and his son, in a relationship that is strained by divorce and a workaholic father, flying to Florida to "discover" what is causing the disappearance of so many ships - in and by what is known as the "Devil's Triangle" or "Bermuda's Triangle." Soon they discover that an island not far off has housed pirates still thinking they live in the times of James I (circa early 1600's). Okay. These pirates capture Caine and son and in two days or so totally brainwash the boy to become one of them. Okay. From there things get even less plausable. The pirates do such things as take a drug ship and even out-maneuver a Coast Guard ship. Wow! The knowledge and technology of the 20th century cannot detect life on a small island just outside the coast of the United States? I really had some difficulty with the plot, but even after I was able to "accept" many of the proceedings things went from ridiculous to sublimely ridiculous. The scene on the drug trafficers boat being the zenith of this ridiculousness(or nadir of film if you prefer). After watching his companions slain and captured, one of the guys on the boat comes up and sees all the pirates and begins smiling and doing karate moves. The scene is totally out of character for the rest of the film, and one has to feel very bad for Michael Caine watching this go on. There were also other scenes which were just inappropriate. That being said, Island, as many viewers have noted, is very watchable in a this is a bad movie yet fun to watch vein. Caine does an adequate job with what he has to work with. The woman playing his pirate wife is very good, and Frank Middlemass gives a good turn as a morally bankrupt historian helping the pirates. There is a lot of violence in the film, much of it totally lacking credibility and need. The opening scene with the doctors on the boat is one such scene. The finale is also a real hoot. Thank God our Coast Guard are not this inept!
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7/10
Terror on the High C+
Jay Nix12 November 2005
Michael Ritchie's telling of Peter Benchley's novel "The Island" is a true study in contrasts. "The Island" stars Michael Caine as Blair Maynard, an investigative reporter from NY in Miami looking into a rash of mysterious disappearances involving pleasure craft near the Caribbean island of Navidad. While on a fishing trip with his son, they are captured by a band of buccaneers directly descended from the fearsome 17th century pirate L'Olonois. The younger Maynard (Jeffrey Frank) is adopted by the murderous clan while Blair is kept alive only long enough for him to act as stud for a widowed pirate wench. Can he escape and rescue his son before he has outlived his usefulness? The contrasts in this film are not so much with the material as with the actors involved. The set-up scenes with the fishermen and the pleasure boaters are acted with the conviction and style of an in-house furniture store commercial. The night scenes are so poorly lit that one might need Braile subtitles to follow the action and the ending is a true letdown. On the other side of the doubloon -- the film is true to Benchley's meticulous research into the habits, tactics, speech and appearance of his piratical villains and Jean David Nau and his crew are well acted by David Warner and others. The pirate colony is an interesting glimpse into how the pirates may have existed in the 1600's and the suspense building up the pirate attacks is heart felt indeed. Not a cinematic masterpiece by any stretch of the imagination, but for those with a thirst for adventure and an interest in pirates, this movie delivers.
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6/10
Rushed film adaptation of an excruciating novel bears both Pros and Cons
TruPretender6 January 2006
I made darn sure to read the novel first, before pursuing the film itself. A real Benchley fan, I was curious about this film, as "Jaws" and "The Deep" had both left great impressions on film, as as the novels were packed with constant suspense. Well, I ended up reading the novel "The Island" only knowing one thing about it: Pirates. The book itself is a real piece of literature. This may be a single opinion by myself, but I was in utter shock, and at the edge of my nerves while digesting a novel filled with compelling action and suspense. It was my smart decision to first read the book, that ultimately set me with a certain understanding, which could have been a real misunderstanding otherwise.

The story has a man, Blair Maynard (Michael Caine), who, upon working for a magazine, eyes a news story about mysterious disappearances in a particular area off the coast of Florida. Against the wishes of his employer, Blair finds a way to put the story to good use, and decides to investigate the nearby locations surrounding the events. He does, however, have one problem: He has custody of his son for the time being. Swamped with this incredible story, Blair has no choice but to take his son along the expedition. Maynard also uses this trip as "bonding time" with his son. After numerous events (most of which are unseen in the film) lead them to a small resort island, a fishing trip on the side turns into a nightmare beyond words as Blair and his son are taken hostage, and held captive by a community of rough, gritty pirates. Blair is then used as a tool for petty survival tactics, while his son is brainwashed by the menacing beasts.

The book is, as I said, very hard to digest, as Benchley endures us with sordid, if not explicit details. A lot of people claim to despise the film, with various reasons counting. Some say it suffers from a lack in character development, or a rushed plot, or anything else that has been stated. Truth, a lot of complaints are made with good reason. The film is seemingly rushed, as most moments concerning the exposition of the story are missing in the film. Benchley wrote the script, so I find it hard to believe that a finalized print as it was, could be the result of his script. Either the film ran much longer, and was cut drastically by imposition of the studio, OR, Benchley kept straight to the book, without explaining certain elements that should have been looked over. In the full picture of things, this film is both loathed and adored. I personally had no problem with it. Seeing as I read the book prior to watching the film, I can attest to the fact that it does, in fact, go directly by the book, except for some segment that obviously didn't work.This film also marks the rumor that Caine walked on the set, and snubbed a check. Knowing the character development, and specific thoughts on marked incidents, I could read into the reality, and depth to which all the characters are representing. I guess what I am saying, is that if we all read the book, then watched the film, it would certainly be more acceptable and entertaining a film. For all I know, the film could actually be seen much friendlier if edited the right way. There could easily be a totally different film sitting in a vault somewhere such as Richard Donners version of "Superman II". I doubt we will ever know about it, or if that is even an accurate speculation. Even so, the film is interesting enough, if just a little rushed in the opening. It eventually slows it's pace, and makes for a good action film. My final stand is that it deserves at least a good watch. You might like it.
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Not So Bad
J. Wellington Peevis26 August 2003
Journalist and son investigate mysterious boat disappearances in Caribbean and end up victims themselves, kidnapped by pirates, real pirates, who still cling to the traditions of the buccaneer past. Funny how I've developed nostalgia for the bad films of the 70s and will more readily sit through them then 90% of the junk that's released today. As far as being quality effort movie making wise, this really isn't so bad. The story is unique and interesting, far-fetched yes. Most of the plot turns are equally nonsensical, but the acting and direction is first rate. The violence is heavy handed, and it really bugged me as a kid. But I think viewing it now; it well captures the true brutality of the pirate mentality. The one thing that really sinks the film is the kid. He's terrible and terribly annoying. They overdub his voice, like they seemed to do with kids quite often back then, and it's a total distraction. Also his characters transformation and brainwashing, never sits right with you. You are not ready to forgive him in the end as intended. Good weird sex, and some terrific action sequences however, make this movie worth a look and not nearly as awful as critics paint it.
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8/10
A Memorable Movie
lpersons-227 August 2011
I watched this movie many, many years ago, and like all good movies it left an impression on me. I think about this movie from time to time and remember it bringing out many emotions in me, mostly fear. I would love to watch it again if I can ever find it available. I don't remember to much about it, but loved Michael Caine and felt he did an excellent job in his role. This is a modern day pirate story, that seems to be probably fairly close to reality. I did not read the book so I can't compare the two. I figure that the fact that the movie has left such an impact on me all these years later, gives the movie a positive rating. I wonder if I watched it now if I would still enjoy it?
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8/10
Great Movie
Richard Willetts28 October 2007
One of those films you have seen when you were younger and never forget. Good story, and great ending, I would recommend this movie for anyone who has the fortune to come across it on a late night television channel. Unfortunately, this is probably the only place you will actually get to see it, unless you can find it on VHS. Micheal Caine delivers a great performance, as well as David Warner, who always seems to have obscure rolls in movies. This actor should definitely receive a lot more attention. This is certainly a little treasure to add to your "old movie" shelf. If you have the chance to read the book, it is great as well.
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6/10
A rum do
Cheese Hoven11 April 2011
This film is a true oddity. In some ways it could have been a good children's film, with oddball pirates and exotic locations, but unfortunately is full of nudity and violence, particularly at its gory climax. Some truly bizarre scenes, such as the pirate who sets light to his hat during raids, a mating ritual involving some kind of mud and an otherwise naked man who carries a leather pouch in front of his genitals when he turns up on a hunt party. Intermingled among this weirdness is some intended comedy, sometimes inappropriate, such as when one pirate sniffs another's feet during a burial at sea. No doubt it is things like this which has earned the film a cult status.

But viewed as an adult film, it makes little sense. This starts early in the film when a gun shop is quite happy to sell a weapon to a 12 year old boy (are US gun laws really this slack?). Next Michael Caine decides to take his son with him on what is a potentially dangerous trip (his son wants Disneyland). Next a wacko pilot (and his pet pig) take Caine and son to Navidad where they are flagged down when trying to land (no explanation for this is given) and the plane crashes. The pilot is remarkably chipper about this. And this is merely the first 20 minutes before we meet the pirates and their peculiar ways.

This bizarreness does make the film strangely watcheable.
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Superb modern day pirate tale!
mjshannon25 May 2000
I've always loved this movie. The first part of the film nicely details the troubled relationship between father and son (played by Michael Caine and Jeffrey Frank respectively)and helps you build a sympathy for them that then makes the final part of the movie all the more intense and gut wrenching as a result. As this is essentially a modern day pirate tale you can rest assured that there is no shortage of crusty pirate talk, filthy bodies (although the pirates wife's body makes for a pleasant exception to the rule)unrelenting carnage and David Warner,all of which add up to make a splendid entertainment! The locales are also lush and pleasing. You really have to love a film that can take such beautiful surroundings and add that edge of real menace and danger. The finale is a whole lotta fun too. Check this one out , it's a work of art!
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8/10
"The Island" is an underrated film from "Jaws" writer Benchley Benchley
ersinkdotcom29 December 2012
Warning: Spoilers
It is hard to believe "The Island" did not do well when it came out three decades ago. You would think that audiences would have clamored to see it after the huge successes of "Jaws" and "The Deep," which was author Peter Benchley's other big screen adaptations.

Investigative reporter Blair Maynard (Michael Caine) heads to the Caribbean with his son (Jeff Frank) to solve the mystery of disappearing boats, their crews, and passengers. He is obsessed with debunking the myths surrounding what many call "the Bermuda Triangle." During his search for the truth, Blair and his son are apprehended by marauding pirates. They take the two to their island where they are still living life as centuries-old buccaneers. Blair must find a way to escape the island and save his brainwashed son from the pirates and their leader (David Warner).

I imagine the movie version of "The Island" can be trusted as what Peter Benchley wanted viewers to see since he wrote the screenplay. The film moves along at a nice pace and establishes its characters strongly. It does a good job of building up to its climax even if the ending does feel abrupt.

Director Michael Ritchie did a great job capturing the beautiful locations used to make the film. Everything from the tattered clothing of the pirates to the natural settings evokes a sense of authenticity. His knack for timing shines through in particular scenes with suspenseful build-ups. Richard A. Harris's editing gives viewers just enough of shockingly brutal scenes to induce a queasy feeling in the stomach of viewers who aren't regular watchers of gory genre films.

Michael Caine does his usual wonderful job portraying Blair Maynard. He keeps Maynard balancing desperately between calm and frenzy as he sees how the pirates live and what they plan to do to his son. Jeff Frank is convincing in his role of Caine's son, Justin Maynard. He might possibly have the toughest role in the film. He has to convince the audience he is a true convert and has become a buccaneer. David Warner is perfect as the reserved-yet-volatile leader of the pirates.

"The Island" is an unnerving suspense thriller which holds just enough violence and gore to please horror and slasher fans. I recommend it for viewers who enjoyed "The Wicker Tree" and Benchley's "The Deep." Although it is not perfect, this is a film that deserves more recognition than it received in its initial release.
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5/10
Better seen with a yo ho ho and a bottle of rum!
billyfish4 August 2009
Warning: Spoilers
30 years out, this has got to be good, dirty fun! Michael Caine plays a straight man throughout, as the modern man kidnapped by real-life pirates of the Caribbean, but he's fun to watch, in spite of how flat the rest of the characters are. I haven't read Benchley's book, but I'd like to believe that it was a bit more realistically painted than this comic-book version. David Warner is completely wasted as the pirate commander, but even so he is an interesting presence on screen. One has to believe that this is a movie worth doing again, perhaps taking it both a bit more seriously and a bit more tongue-in-cheek. The 17th-century pirate lingo was not researched carefully (of course), but that in itself would make for a compelling new version of the story.

Even with all its pitfalls, it's still a watchable movie and I found myself (guiltily) enjoying it. Not bad for a 30-year old movie. I think you'll get a lot more yo ho hos out of it if you watch it with a bottle of rum, me heartie!
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7/10
Average movie with a few great scenes
David4 January 2010
Warning: Spoilers
This is an average movie but it has at least two great scenes that I would rate 10/10.

The first one is the deliberately ridiculous, incredible parody scene where the Bruce Lee-wannabe drug smuggler fights with the pirates. I find it funny and entertaining.

The second one is, of course, the massacre scene where Michael Caine's character finally gets the opportunity to annihilate them. What an unexpected and satisfying plot twist! (It wasn't their annihilation that was unexpected, but HOW it was done.)

By all means watch it.
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9/10
Great Pirate movie
steeplejack1726 December 2006
Where do, I begin... This movie was great from beginning to end for a small budget and great plot. The only main historical error, I could find with the movie is you get the idea if you follow Pirate history is David Warner plays character Jean David Nau who obviously his ancestor would be Francois L'Olonnais (Jean David Nau) who was shipwrecked with his crew by Navidad. They seem to obviously survived the native attacks, the only problem, I have is when they hoist up there black flag after taking the Coast Guard ship it is of Emmanuel Wynne's. Anyhow they made it a believable story of Pirates that survived on this island and started a colony for 300 years. Which you mix it up with the Bermuda Triangle. Wow! It explains the shipping loss aspect. I am not going to ruin it with getting into the plot the other writers summed it up pretty well just wanted to give a bit of historical aspect of the movie and general opinion of the movie. Great characters and acting a movie worth being released on DVD and hopefully it will have an uncut version of the movie and possibly deleted scenes due to the small budget..
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7/10
See it!
alex-52221 August 2002
This is a breath-taking caper bursting to the rafters with butchery, fun, adventure and dagger wit. If you're into art house films and intelligent discussion this movie has nothing to offer you. If on the other hand you're looking to sink into an armchair with a can of beer this is a superb caper, and a bible of idiocy. A fabulously entertaining fantasy with a horde of unforgettable hilarious scenes. Excellent!
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4/10
Terrible Beginning of a New Year
Claudio Carvalho1 January 2014
In New York, the journalist Blair Maynard (Michael Caine) convinces his editor to travel to Florida to investigate the mysterious disappearance of ships in the Bermuda's Triangle area. Maynard is divorced and his ex- wife sends their son Justin (Jeffrey Frank) to stay with him while she is traveling with her boyfriend. Maynard brings Justin with him and promises to go to the Disneyland with him. However he tells Justin that they will travel to the Bermuda's Triangle but their plane crashes in an island. Maynard rents the boat of the local Dr. Brazil (Dudley Sutton) to fish barracuda with his son. But they are attacked by pirates and Maynard kills one of them in self-defense. They are captured and find that they are trapped in an island with pirates under the command of John David Nau (David Warner). Maynard is forced to be the substitute for the husband of the widow Beth (Angela Punch McGregor) and Justin is brainwashed and converted into a pirate. Now Maynard tries to find a way out from the pirate island.

"The Island" is a very bad movie with a dumb plot despite the name of Michael Caine in the credits. The plot is unreasonable and silly with shameful moments. The pirates taking the vessel of drug dealers and the Coast Guard fully equipped and modern ship are awful moments. But the drug dealer surrounded by armed pirates acting like Jackie Chan in a comedy is ridiculous. Watching "The Island" at dawn was a terrible beginning of a New Year. My vote is four.

Title (Brazil): "A Ilha" ("The Island")
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8/10
Exciting action-adventure
CooperCom28 December 1999
The Island is an exciting action-adventure movie which was mush better than I expected. I saw it on TV for about a year ago and I must admit that the first 40 minutes was a bit boring, but the rest of the movie was really exciting (and bloody) and gave me a bit of a shock. Good actors, and great plot. (8 out of 10 from me)
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8/10
Great plot and human interest. Believable action.
bizzy-910 December 2006
I read one guys commentary that totally shot this movie down. He said that it wasn't only one of Caines worst movies, it was one of the worst movies ever made. I absolutely disagree.

This movie shows great human interest in many ways. It's far more human than most recent movies I've seen.

There's the arch villain that protects the bad guys out of a strangely noble love for the lost and dying breed that they represent. There's the tension between the main character and his estranged wife. Her selfishness actually affects the plot greatly even though she's only involved in the first 10 minutes of the movie. They show the frail loyalty of the heroes' son overpowered by his desperate will to survive and also his innately human ability to assume a totally new identity to survive. A fathers undying love is tested against the murderous disloyalty of his son. We see a grieving widows rage screaming "would him, would him!!" against her husbands killer (Caine). After facing pirate law, her rage turns to pragmatism.

Throughout the movie a desperate stealth and cunning make short work of privilege and modern firepower.

Yes, there are some stupid scenes that should have been done better, but overall the movie is good. Very dramatic. As much realism as could be expected from an action movie.

I class this flick beside Beside the James Bond series, the Star Wars series, Lord of the rings, and AI. I class it beside them because although they are more detailed, when I consider the budget constraints and special effects of the era, the plot and acting combine to create a believable, exciting movie that unlike most movies doesn't insult my intelligence too badly. Watch it.
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8/10
Strange happenings in the Caribbean
Chris Gaskin12 September 2005
Warning: Spoilers
The Island was one of several bad movies Michael Caine appeared in at this time. Others include The Swarm and Beyond The Posiden Adventure. I liked them all, despite reading bad reviews.

In this one, Caine is a reporter who, with his son, is sent to investigate why ships and people have disappeared in a remote area of the Caribbean. These disappearances are the responsibility of modern day pirates, who are descendants of 17th century ones. After being kidnapped by these pirates, Caine is paired with a woman and the pirates brainwash his son. More ships are hijacked, with the victims' belongings being taken. After the pirates turn over a coastguard ship and kill all on board, Caine then machine guns them all to death, apart from the leader, who is killed just after and Caine and son are reunited.

The Island is by the same author who wrote Jaws, Peter Benchley but this is not so good as that.

The rest of the cast includes David Warner (Time Bandits, The Omen, Titanic) as the leader of the pirates, Frank Middlemass, Don Henderson (The Ghoul) and Dudley Sutton (Lovejoy). Caine's son is played by Jeffrey Frank with Anglea Punch McGregor as his lady.

The Island is worth watching if you get the chance. Great stuff.

Rating: 3 stars out of 5.
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8/10
Different, chilling, a must see
braycy17 July 2005
I remember seeing this movie years ago, found it chilling. Was believable movie, not a lot of science fiction, which makes it more chilling to watch. In other words, could of actually happened. Good story, theme, you will want to watch to the very end. this is more or less an unknown movie that others should see who not only like drama, but the more realistic, the better. Gruesome. I don't care for gore and science fiction. This is drama, adventure, thriller. I got excited to see a new movie is going to be released, also called The Island. Not the same story, not the same theme. Big disappointment its not the same, because this movie could be awesome if done with 2005 effects. 1980 movie was rated R, Michael Caine excellent actor. Very good in his role, (as usual).
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6/10
Pirates are ALWAYS cool!
Space_Lord16 February 2005
Warning: Spoilers
This film isn't so bad as what the IMDb rating suggests! I found it rather entertaining! It has a solid story and great performance from the cast, and I usually can't stand Michael Caine!! Anyway, the film is about a tribe of inbred pirates that have avoided society for three hundred years. The problem is they are so inbred that they are no longer able to reproduce, so they abduct an investigative journalist (Caine) and his son to add new blood to their depleted gene pool. Caine's son is then brainwashed by the pirates and adapts to their plundering ways with ease. Caine gets to stick around just to make a baby with one of the buccaneer women. What's wrong with that? They'll kill him after, that's what! Modern day pirates! That's what the world needs, I tell ya!
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8/10
Pirates Rule...
Tsquare5524 December 2006
This movie should already be out on DVD, capitalizing on the pirate franchise and available for the home theater... The story line is solid and the plot line just twisted enough. In this day of the GPS and satellite imaging it would be a tough premise, but having spent time in the Caribbean and sailing the waters it not that big a stretch that some one could have pulled off this type of social engineering. Think "Lord of the Flies" as grown up pirates. It has been so long since I have seen this I cannot comment on the production value of the film, but I still carry several scenes in my head all these years later, and the richness of the scenes are great, at least on the far reaches of My Space.
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7/10
This is an excellent film with lots of action and suspense. I have not seen it done before or since, if you are a fan of Michael Caine this one is a must!
Scorch14929 August 2006
This is an excellent movie before the days of CG characters when actors really could act. If you like pirates and drama and are a fan of M. Caine then this film is a must! A tale of intrigue and history that spans into modern times. I have not seen this done before or since and I hoped the new film of the same name would pick up where this left off or be a re-make but alas it was not to be. In this version a man and his son take a boat ride and end up meeting the modern versions of Blackbeard! The story continues as they try to escape and the pirates do what they are known for! Its realistic and believable. In short a good film with action and suspense. I love the ending! Be careful next time you are out boating!
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Here we have a GOOD bad movie!
radioman970us21 September 2003
I wasn't sure what to expect with THE ISLAND. One critic thought it was smelly fish chum and another thought it was a great modern-day pirate story. I originally thought it was a sea creature story like Jaws.

I was thrilled to watch it this morning and discover that it is that rare breed of a film: so much is wrong like bad dialog & unlikely situations, bad acting from every single extra in the film (casting call at the community college everybody!!), kid turns WAY too quickly against dad but dad is probably the most incompetent dad you'll see (hey, this is much better than Disneyland...hired the worst pilot on the face of the planet because you're too cheap to pay for a boat and now held captive in a 3rd world nation. Thanks dad!), cheezy violence, that music that plays during the violent ship attacks would work for Errol Flynn but not here.

But it's films of this badness that can be more fun than so-called great films. Especially the first time you watch them. I'm the type that seeks out films like Bad Taste, Hysterical, Evil Dead and The Island because they go against the copycat stream of Hollywood films.

NOTE: I would've spanked that kid within an inch of his life and I don't even believe in physical punishment of children. I think we all agree here! LOL
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fun film
davidandrew013 July 2003
This is one of the most entertaining films I've seen recently. The pirates are believable; I enjoyed their antique English dialogue. I do not understand why the viewer ratings for this film are so low; I would give it an 8 out of 10.
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