I was too young to have viewed this movie when it originally aired, but my parents taped it and for some reason kept it around for thirteen years. I finally decided to give it a whirl, thinking it would be an adaptation of the Franz Kafka story (I know, I know.....). This was my first mistake.
My second mistake was actually watching the thing at all. At 870 minutes, this makes the 10-hour "The 10th Kingdom" seem like a short subject by comparison, yet the whole thing could have easily been pared down by half without compromising the storyline. Why? Simple: the plot is pathetic. You would think that by 1987 people would have realized the Soviet Union was NEVER going to take over the U.S., but I guess someone forgot to tell writer-director Donald Wrye, since he insists on rehashing the tired old "communist subversion" schtick that went out -- and deservedly so -- in the mid-60s. The dialogue is corny and hackneyed and seems to begin repeating itself at the halfway mark, while the direction is uninspired (although pretty much average by TV movie standards). Sam Neill manages to maintain his dignity in this midst of all this nonsense, but everyone else comes out looking as silly as the film itself.
By itself, "Amerika" is harmless piffle that, if nothing else, would make a good double bill with "Dr. Strangelove," which so effectively manages to ridicule and ultimately destroy the reactionary plot. But the ideology behind the story, and the reactions it has inspired among some of my fellow IMDb reviewers, is completely idiotic, almost frightening. The series' ultimate and highly questionable message is that we should remain ever vigilant against the communist threat, and that it will take any guise need be to bring down our society from within -- latter-day McCarthyism if I ever heard it. Thank goodness this 870-pound turkey is scarcely remembered today.
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