Friday, 29 August 2008

No.50 : Who Dares Wins

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The whole world watched as the S.A.S. stormed the Iranian embassy in 1980 killing terrorists and freeing hostages. Considerably fewer people watched ‘Who Dares Wins’ which is a crappy 1982 cash in starring Lewis ‘Bodie’ Collins.

The film starts with a ‘Ban the Bomb’ demo that has some really catchy slogans “5-6-7-8 we don’t want to irradiate” they chant. A man is the killed by a crossbow (very environmentally friendly there) and we learn that he is a government plant who had been discovered by the radicals. The Brass now have a problem - they know the Peoples’ Front have a high profile target, but what can it be?

In order to infiltrate the gang S.A.S. Captain Peter Skellen fakes some brutality on his men and is kicked out. Acting (term used loosely) all disaffected Skellen meets and instantly beds the terrorist leader who, to be frank, is a bit easy - but he is wearing his good blazer. Now on the inside Skellen starts to feed info to his contact but isn’t trusted by Triffid botherer John Duttine, who plays Red Rod.

When he is spotted snogging his wife and chatting to men on boats Skellens’s cover is blown but when his family is kidnapped he has to play along with the terrorists’ plan. They seize the American ambassador and a room full of brass and make the reasonable request that the government nuke Holy Loch for their release. Can Skellen help the impending rescue attempt from the inside using all his specialist training?

When I first saw this film when 12 I thought it was pretty cool and Lewis Collins a God, but sadly it isn’t and he’s a tosser. The whole set up is ridiculous for a start. Why is an S.A.S. captain being used as a covert operative? M.I.5 and C.I.5 all busy? I suppose this does explain why Skellen is a rubbish agent, getting made by everyone as soon as he shows up.

The scene where he seduces the lady terrorist is a laugh as blazer clad Lewis opens with “I want to take you to bed” and gets an immediate ‘OK‘. This hard as nails bitch basically gets all her pals killed as the next day Lewis is moving in and calling the shots. As a feminist radical Judy Davis’ character is a joke and she must have cringed when directed to fawn over Lewis and then simper up to him, asking advice.

The back up crew of Edward Woodward as the head copper and Richard Widmark as the ambassador basically show up for the paycheque. There is one laughable scene where Widmark debates the situation with the terrorists under gunpoint and still has them running off in tears - one up for the good guys!

The rescue is basically a straight steal of the real life event, even down to the trooper getting set on fire by flaming curtains. Only one gung-ho hostage bravely dies for a return of every terrorist including the black Scottish guy out of ‘Porridge’.

You obviously can’t take it too seriously with its caricature Red baddies and desperate acting, especially in a career ending performance from Collins, but it is OK as throwaway entertainment. The attempts at politics and commentary were heavy handed with a nasty Arab handing over fat cheques and dining with pinkos at parliament.

Another childhood memory tarnished thanks to the ‘W’ quest! That said, the two hours passed quickly and I still got a thrill when Lewis lead the troupe through the embassy with his Uzi. Just don’t tell anyone I said that.

Best Bit : Lewis smooth talks the knickers off the baddie

‘W’ Score 14/23

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