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Films that live up their title: "Juggernaut" (1974)


JonnyGeetar
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Wow.

 

I have always had this on my "want to see" list as the title is brilliant, I'm intrigued by the "disaster" genre, and I remember this used to play on Cinemax years ago...I caught some of it then, but had to go to work or something and it has always stuck with me.

 

For those who missed: a terrorist has planted seven bombs on a British ocean liner on a pleasure voyage in the north sea. He demands a half-million pound ransom or he'll blow up the ship (which can't be evacuated due to the rough seas) Bomb expert Richard Harris has to come in to save the day (just having your life depend on the steady hand of Richard Harris is enough of a premise to build immeasurable suspense on!)

 

What a wonderful film! Fast-paced, no fat, none of the "two-days-from-retirement" stereotypes, believable (with a couple of slightly dubious theatrical moments involving the owner of the cruise ship line and the representative of Her Majesty's government- which nonetheless are inn-teresting, and as resonant and relevant now as I'm sure they were then.) Crack dialogue, smart mix of scenes dealing with the action on the ship and the hunt on the ground for the terrorist bomber...THIS THING WAS ROBBED OF AN OSCAR NOMINATION FOR BEST EDITING!

 

Terrific ensemble acting- wisely there is no "star" of the show, although Richard Harris takes acting honors, abandoning his guy-liner (and looking about twenty years older then he did in Camelot from seven years before this) and delivering his world-weary, slightly nihilistic lines with a downright Shakespearean flair.

 

Best of all, I really enjoyed the adept use of comedy- the kind of strange, ironic black comedy that comes in real life but is so hard to accurately capture in film and books.

 

It's laugh-out-loud, scream-out-loud, never a dull moment, don't stop for air, don't stop to ask questions, move-move-move, bang-bang highly intelligent action- in essence: everything that movies made today are not. (And what higher compliment is there than that?)

 

If you missed it, rent it on Netflix or check it out the next time it airs (especially those of you who are writing screenplays as it is a great example of how to present a smart story that moves, is believable, and is as entertaining as a five-alarm fire.)

 

Well played, all involved, well played.

 

Edited by: JonnyGeetar on Nov 18, 2011 10:20 AM

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