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August 29, 2009

Force 10 From Navarone

Being a child of the 70s and early 80s, and also a fan of military history and war movies, I was very lucky. Some of the best war movies of all time were made during that period, and I've enjoyed every one of them.

So when we were at Futureshop the other week and happened upon a Blu-Ray sale, and I noticed that there were a couple of World War II movies in there, I just had to take a look. Even more so when I saw that Force 10 From Navarone was in there. Made in 1978, immediately after Harrison Ford's explosion on to the scene in Star Wars, I have loved this movie since I first saw it.

It's kind of a sequel to The Guns of Navarone from the 1960s, but it doesn't have the same actors. Starring Harrison Ford, Robert Shaw, Edward Fox, and Carl Weathers, it's a tale of a commando mission into German-occupied Yugoslavia to blow a bridge that is the main route for the German army to attack a Partisan camp. However, Mallory and Miller (Shaw & Fox) have an alternate mission. The man who betrayed them on Navarone is now working with the Partisans. It's their job to kill him.

Edward Fox is a royal treasure in any role, and he portrays Miller as a devil-may-care explosives expert. He definitely knows what he's doing, even when the so-called engineers think otherwise:

Barnsby: Now, look. Our experts have been studying that bridge for weeks, and they say it'll blow. I don't know where you learned your job, but I'm talking about the best construction engineers in the business!

Miller: Yes. Well, they're probably experts at building things, whereas I'm an expert at blowing them up, and you can take it from me that one would need a good eight hours to make a decent job on that bridge.

Shaw is always amazing, and he does an excellent job here. Ford is very good too. Weathers...well, I've never been a fan of Weathers, but he portrays the hothead sergeant who ends up going along for the ride pretty well.

Shot on location in Yugoslavia, the scenery is lush and beautifully shown. The story takes a few twists and turns, with Richard Kiel (Jaws from the 007 movies with Roger Moore) doing his typical evil turn. Franco Nero is excellent as Leskovar as well. Barbara Bach doesn't have a lot to do, and she does it with her usual talent (you can take that how you will). It's always interesting to see how the good guys will adapt their plan to match the circumstances.

I just spent this early afternoon watching this disc, and it's been remastered beautifully. There are no extras except for the theatrical trailer, which is very disappointing. But as a cheap Blu-Ray war movie, it can't be beaten. I'm glad it was $10, though. Without any extras, it's not worth more than that. But it was wonderful to immerse myself in the movie itself. It's been a while since I've seen it, so it actually even brought back some childhood memories.

Check it out if you're into WWII movies. It's one of the good ones.


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