Thursday, 29 August 2013

No.206 : Wild Geese II

Wild Geese 2 at the IMDb
Few would deny that ‘The Wild Geese’ is the best film ever, but what about its less well known sequel? Can it match the spectacle of Richard Burton puffing in his combat fatigues or Roger Moore looking cool while chewing on a cheroot?

The film follows the same set up as the original, with an evil conglomerate, this time a media one, trying to secure a mercenary for their outlandish mission. They ask Edward Fox, who is the brother of the now late Richard Burton from the first film but he tells them to bugger off. He does however put them in touch with Scott Glenn whom we’ve already witnessed wrestling with men in a public toilet. No, not like that.

They take him without a look at his credentials and advise he can have all the cash he wants if he can deliver them the 90 year old Rudolph Hess who is languishing in Spandau prison in Berlin. They think the old man will have loads of secrets to spill that they can use in their media empire and possibly influence current political figures. They don’t seem to worry that he’s been in jail for 40 years and that most of his tales will involve prison soup and the price of snout.

Glenn heads off to Berlin and is soon joined by Barbara Carrera who, along with her brother, is the representative of the shady American backers. After touring the sights of Berlin and engaging with some of the local troublemakers the plan begins to take shape. As you’d no doubt guess it involves wearing stolen uniforms and engineering a kidnap after a faked medical emergency. As they’ve already got him in the cast they call in the previously reluctant Fox who for unexplained reason now thinks the plan is a goer.

Alas the two hour run time demands some padding so we get Stratford John’s laughable Arab fix it man and Patrick Stewart’s career worst Russian general. The also employ that bloke off casualty and some other hired guns to form their motley crew which they then train up in an old garage for five minutes.

Eventually the plan gets underway and using the cover of drunken football fans the snatch is on. Will they get away and get paid? Will Hess or rather Laurence Olivier survive the whole shoot and will we be able to understand why all these people keep getting shot in the head?

Although it shares a producer and one character name with the original this film is nothing more than a brazen attempt to secure some reflected glory. They also steal some musical cues and the ‘telescope’ end credits but apart from that this is a bog standard thriller with nothing to recommended it.

The plot is basic at best and although they try to mix it up with a few double crosses it just seems too contrived and confusing for its own good. There is a lot of waffle about the British wanting Hess out so they can shift the Russians but there is also a local gang boss who does his own kidnappings and bad line in acting to keep things the wrong side of convoluted.

Scott Glenn has no charisma whatsoever and doesn’t convince as the rock hard leader of men. He manages to bed Carerra in the tamest of love scenes but he is so wooden he should be sprayed for Dutch Elm disease.  Fox is a bit better doing his usual ‘top ho’ English gent bit and he is a bit tasty with his rifle but in truth his whole character is an import from the far superior ‘The Day of the Jackal’. Carerra adds a touch of glamour but her acting is terrible especially when her brother gets his ticket stamped and she yells the place down, in an unconvincing matter.

The big action set piece was really botched with the Red Caps bumbling about and taking orders from Glenn’s obvious doppelganger. It was hard to work out what was happening and why the army hung around for five minutes to allow the switcheroo to take place - maybe the production was confused as to who was the real dead body - the stiff or poor old Larry Olivier who looked on his last legs.

The last scenes made a mockery of all that had gone before, with seismic character changes allowing a totally mystifying ending. All in all this was a shocker that rightfully remains in the shadow of its illustrious predecessor.

Best Bit : hmmm… ‘We’re drunk football supporters, hic!’
W Score 7/23

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