Wednesday, 13 December 2017

No. 131 : The Island

The Island at the IMDb

I’m in the middle of reading Michael Caine’s enjoyable autobiography ‘The Elephant to Hollywood’ and given the slagging he gave to ‘The Island’ I just had to move it up my viewing list.

Made in 1980 the film sits squarely in Caine’s wilderness years with rubbish like ‘The Swarm’ in the near past and ‘The Hand’ just up ahead - it’s almost like he had this blog in mind when making his flawed choices!

This effort sees him as an English journalist who bags an assignment to investigate the mysterious disappearance of dozens of ships in the Bahamas over the last few years. Over 2000 people have been lost but that doesn’t impress his editor who says the roads managed 50,000 in the same time. Not to be put off, Caine heads down to Florida with his annoying teenage son whom he buys a gun for, for no discernible reason, whilst on the way.

Caine hops on a cargo plane with the boy which manages to crash on a remote island - fair play to them, this sequence was pretty good but alas the budget when up in flames with the plane because it’s bargain basement from here on in.

Now stranded, Caine takes advice from a Hemmingway inspired old soak called Windsor played by the guy who was an old Alexei Sayle in an early season of ‘Stuff’. He’s really poor in this and you can only hope the drunk act was nothing of the kind. Anyway, Caine heads off on a boat towards the scene of many of the disappearances. He manages to finds a secret gang of pirates who have been pillaging the area for centuries in about five minutes, which does make you wonder what the authorities have been up to all this time.

The pirates have lived on ’The Island’ for 300 years and over time have developed their own dialect which sounds a lot like gibberish. Their leader is David Warner who takes a shine to Caine’s son. No, not like that. The boy is easily led and is soon giving his Dad no end of grief. Caine meanwhile busies himself with trying to escape and getting into the affections of a native lady. Can he get away and rescue his son? Will the pirates be exposed for the bunch of middle class English actors they are? Or will Caine’s sharp shooter son put his Dad out of his misery and save us all from Water ?

This was a fun romp despite being totally rubbish. It was written by Jaws scribe Peter Benchley but lacking the focus of a big shark, it meanders about as they try to find ways to advance the plot.

The pirates who include Bullman and Tinker off Lovejoy have no menace whatsoever and despite a few bloodthirsty murders they all look like they have just been pulled off the beach. Their motivations are weak given they look to avoid civilization yet regularly go on plundering sprees for NYC t-shirts and hi-fi equipment.

Caine is terrible as journalist and hapless Dad Blair Maynyard but he does have our sympathies as he’s dealing with a ridiculous script and some cringe worthy dialogue. At one point the utters ‘They’re a bunch of arseholes playing at Long John Silver’. Couldn’t have put it better myself!

THE Tag Line - Pirates of the has a beens 27%


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