Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Beyond the Poseidon Adventure (1979)

Synopsis: Michael Caine makes yet another cinematic turd for a big paycheque, Example #18

Blurb From the VHS Jacket: “More danger. More survivors. More secrets. Just go beyond.”

What Did I Learn?: It’s hard to swim to safety when you’re carrying a priceless bottle of champagne.

Really?: 1) Why in the world would Telly Savalas and his henchmen all wear white suits to a salvage operation, and why don’t any of them get even the slightest smudge on their clothing when they’re surrounded by dirty water, soot, and other debris? 2) Wait – the good guys and the villains are firing machine guns at each other while there’s an oil drum full of plutonium sitting in the middle of the room? WTF? 3) Um… shouldn’t Svevo’s (Savalas) henchmen be a little concerned, considering he killed Suzanne because she was the only other person besides him who knew about the plutonium, and then he blurts out the information to everyone else? 4) Why doesn’t Svevo kill Mike Turner (Caine) and crew from the get-go, rather than go through the elaborate charade of pretending to be a rescue ship? 5) For a Han Solo-ish mercenary tug boat captain, Turner is surprisingly concerned about the safety of every involved, and surprisingly blasé about losing so much gold during the adventure. 6) Um…I can’t imagine it would be terribly easy to remove an oil drum of plutonium from a rapidly-sinking cruise ship. 7) There’s working SCUBA gear on the Poseidon? Hey, that’s convenient.

Rating: Beyond the Poseidon Adventure is pure, 1970s disaster movie cheese. The plot and dialogue are cringe-inducing in places (Peter Doyle plays a character that’s a blatant rip-off of Ernest Borgnine’s from the original, while Slim Pickens is a guy named “Tex” for crying out loud!), but Caine and Sally Field enjoy some off-beat chemistry and Savalas is a pretty cool villain. Beyond the Poseidon Adventure is a borderline bad movie, but it’s enjoyable if you put your brain on pause. 5.5/10 stars.

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