Saturday, May 12, 2012

North Sea Hijack (1979)

Roger Moore's career in the seventies might have been a lot of James Bond, but in-between the spy romps he starred in an interesting series of quite good action/adventures. Two of them together with director Andrew V. McLaglen, The Wild Geese and North Sea Hijack (they made a third together, released in 1980: The Sea Wolves). The Wild Geese is the best of the bunch. More edgy, violent without loosing it's very British identity. This is Die Hard - long before Die hard ever was written, well, almost anyway. The basic idea is there, but it's still very different.

A band of criminals, lead by our favourite-psycho Anthony Perkins, hijacks a boat and threatens to blow up two very expensive oil rigs belonging to the UK government. The explosive expert/terrorist is played by Michael Parks and who's the only one to handle psychos like this? Roger Moore, but not as James Bond but the extremely eccentric, cat-loving woman-hater Rufus Excalibur ffolkes! Him, together with his team of super-soldiers gets the mission to take back the boat and the two oil rigs - in just less than twelve hours!

North Sea Hijack (or "Ffolkes") is, what I would consider, a very cozy movie. Not to hard to follow, not to simple so it will get boring. It's actually quite low on action - at if comparing to movies of today - and most of the movie is focused on the very quirky character Rufus Excalibur ffolkes, which is a Roger Moore in a beard and who drinks whiskey all the time. Moore is obviously enjoying himself here, far from the suave gentleman-asshole he's in the Bond-movies. He's still an asshole, but prefers his alcohol directly from the bottle and HATES women to the degree - why? It's told by him in a very illustrative way, but it includes five sisters and five sisters of his ex-wife. He prefers the company of the highest being on earth, the cat - and he has many of them.

North Sea Hijack boosts a very nice cast of the usual suspects in seventies cinema: Anthony Perkins, doing another psychopath - and he's very intensive. I would love to know who he gets those cold shark-eyes! James Mason is almost doing his dry British gentleman like he never done him before, dry like mummy! But that's of course the point, because his wit and acting talent still gives him the charisma he needs. Michael Parks was already here a veteran in cinema and TV (it's weird that he's gotten his break during the last ten years) and he's brilliant here, doing a small act with super-strong glasses and a deadpan delivery of dialogue.

Even if the movie is rated PG, it's still a quite violent flick - not bloody - but there's stabbings and shootings and one long scene with a man who dies from drinking poisoned coffee.  McLaglen makes the best of the script and delivers some thrills and adventure out at sea. But it's mostly a comedy, or near-comedy, with some priceless dialogue from Moore. Its interesting how Ffolkes hate for women was meant to be the opposite from Bond, but it all ended up with just another man who treats women like shit - but it's quite harmless here. It's easy to accept the eccentricity of the character - and a man who loves cats can't be that bad?

Gladly for us in Sweden this movie has just been released in Sweden from Studio S, another fine DVD that brings up cozy memories from the days of video rentals!


Anonymous said...

Michael Parks....very underrated....but Tarantino loves him.

Playing sheriff in From Dusk Till Dawn (1996), Kill Bill: Vol. 1 (2003) etc.....but I love his pimp in Kill Bill: Vol. 2 (2004.

Very creepy....

Anonymous said...

Wow been a long time since i saw this one. Will buy it very soon. I am a fan of Moore, and enjoys the movies he made in between the Bondmovies. Loved GOLD, SHERLOCK HOLMES IN NEW YORK, and even SHOUT AT THE DEVIL.