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 What cult movies have you been watching lately?
Marty McKee
Posted: Mar 18 2012, 10:02 PM


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QUOTE (William S. Wilson @ May 18 2011, 03:56 PM)
WHITE PHANTOM (1987) - This is from the co-director of SAKURA KILLERS (1987) reviewed just a few posts above. What made me laugh is, once again, we get a b-star billed as "The Colonel" (it is Bo Svenson this time). And the villains are the Sakura family. What is going on here? Are these two films related? In the same universe? Who knows. All I know is this wasn't nearly as entertaining as SK. Ninjas steal some plutonium and Bo Svenson puts his best girl on the case. We know she is a top agent because her first scene has her doing a striptease in a ninja costume. Also hanging out is a white ninja (literally) named Willi.

Full review:
http://originalvidjunkie.blogspot.com/2011...antom-1987.html

WHITE PHANTOM (1987)—Directed by Dusty Nelson. Stars Bo Svenson, Jay Roberts Jr., Page Leong, Jimmy Lee. Ninjas hijack a truck carrying weapons grade plutonium that is guarded by just one man—the driver—who is easily subdued in about .2428 seconds. On the case is Colonel Slater (Svenson), who appears to be based in China, even though the hijacked truck had California plates. Slater blackmails Mei Lin (Leong), a dancer and the girlfriend of chief hood Hanzo (Lee), into helping him retrieve the plutonium from Hanzo’s Sakura crime family (spelled “famliy” here). The real hero of WHITE PHANTOM, however, is Willi (Roberts), an obnoxious American who digs drinking, hookers, and the harmonica (Roberts fakes the playing badly). Willi is a Yankees fan, which is obvious shorthand for “this guy is an entitled American jagoff.” Occasionally, a masked white ninja pops up to beat on some Sakura hoods. For some reason, director Nelson treats this like a big mystery, as if we’ll never figure out the ninja’s identity. If you’re in the mood to laugh at a terrible movie about ninjas, WHITE PHANTOM will do, though I can think of many others that will do the trick even better. The script is a mess; it certainly isn’t explained why the theft of material capable of destroying an entire city is being investigated by just a colonel and a stripper. Roberts is one of the least appealing leading men I’ve ever seen, and the film’s attempt to weave together its parallel storylines involving him and Svenson makes no sense. At least Nelson knows to end the picture with a taciturn hand-to-hand fight between white ninja and black ninja. I really don’t know why Svenson is in this, unless it was the free vacation.


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Marty McKee
Posted: Mar 19 2012, 02:21 PM


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SUMMER LOVE (1958)—Directed by Charles Haas. Stars John Saxon, Judi Meredith, Molly Bee, Rod McKuen, Jill St. John, John Wilder. Young John Saxon (then 22 years old) and many other cast members returned for this tame Universal-International sequel to ROCK, PRETTY BABY. Henry Mancini was a composer of the original songs, and it’s weird to see noted poet and musician McKuen (who composed a calypso song for the movie) playing one of Saxon’s combo. Jimmy Daley (Saxon) and his band get a month-long gig playing at a summer camp, but they arrive to find out they’re just playing on weekends and expected to perform menial jobs the other five days. Voomy Erica Landis (teenage St. John) causes tension within the band by flirting with drummer Mike (Wilder) and scheming to steal Jimmy from his girlfriend Joan (Meredith). Of course, Mike and Joan conspire to make their squeezes jealous. That plan always works, right? Songs include “Beatin’ on the Bongos,” “Ding-A-Ling,” and “Calypso Rock.” Rock-and-roll has never been squeakier. Meredith later co-starred with Saxon in QUEEN OF BLOOD. Fay Wray (KING KONG) and Edward Platt (GET SMART) return from ROCK, PRETTY BABY as Saxon’s parents with Shelley Fabares (THE DONNA REED SHOW) and George Winslow (a bad kid actor) also back as his younger siblings. Also with Gordon Gebert, Bob Courtney, Beverly Washburn, and Troy Donahue as Daley’s sax player. Filmed around Big Bear Lake and Lake Arrowhead, California.


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Hal Horn
Posted: Mar 19 2012, 03:56 PM


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QUOTE (Alan Maxwell @ Mar 18 2012, 10:59 PM)
The camp mugging by Cummings gets extremely tired very quickly and his smartalecky wisecracks are not remotely funny. Like a cross between Cary Grant and Jerry Lewis but without the wit or charm of either, his presence derails the film from the moment he appears.

I still need to get around to FIVE GOLDEN DRAGONS in the Netflix queue. Cummings' best film work came before his TV fame, notably in KING'S ROW, REIGN OF TERROR and SABOTEUR.

I wrote the following on his best-known role for his 100th birthday a few years back:

http://hornsection.blogspot.com/2008/06/so...-his-100th.html


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Brian Camp
Posted: Mar 19 2012, 06:22 PM


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QUOTE (Hal Horn @ Mar 19 2012, 03:56 PM)
QUOTE (Alan Maxwell @ Mar 18 2012, 10:59 PM)
The camp mugging by Cummings gets extremely tired very quickly and his smartalecky wisecracks are not remotely funny. Like a cross between Cary Grant and Jerry Lewis but without the wit or charm of either, his presence derails the film from the moment he appears.

I still need to get around to FIVE GOLDEN DRAGONS in the Netflix queue. Cummings' best film work came before his TV fame, notably in KING'S ROW, REIGN OF TERROR and SABOTEUR.

I wrote the following on his best-known role for his 100th birthday a few years back:

http://hornsection.blogspot.com/2008/06/so...-his-100th.html

I still say BEACH PARTY is Cummings' best. He's got both Annette Funicello and Dorothy Malone pursuing him--and he was 55 at the time!

BTW, why are there only three topics visible on this board?

This post has been edited by Brian Camp on Mar 19 2012, 06:22 PM


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Marty McKee
Posted: Mar 19 2012, 07:01 PM


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QUOTE (Brian Camp @ Mar 19 2012, 06:22 PM)
BTW, why are there only three topics visible on this board?

Change the pulldown menu from "the last 30 days" to "the beginning."


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Mark Tinta
Posted: Mar 21 2012, 08:49 PM


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ASSASSINATION (1987) - Watchable but mostly forgettable Charles Bronson outing was a PG-13 change-of-pace for the actor and gave him a chance to work with wife Jill Ireland one last time. Ireland was offscreen since 1982's DEATH WISH II and had been battling breast cancer since 1984. She was in good health again by the time of ASSASSINATION, and only appeared in one more film (a small role in the barely-released, Billy Graham-financed 1987 religious drama CAUGHT), before her cancer returned and she died in 1990.

Bronson is veteran Secret Service agent Jay Killian, assigned to protect incoming First Lady Lara Craig (Ireland), codenamed "One Mama." One Mama proves to be a bit of a feisty bitch, and doesn't feel like listening to Killian even when it becomes clear that someone is trying to kill her. But why? Killian and One Mama end up spending the second half of the film on the run cross-country, stopping to buy motorcycles in Kokomo, IN, an area that's curiously filled with palm trees and mountains on the horizon (there's also some visible palm trees in a few DC shots), from a team of assassins working for someone who ranks high in the government.

ASSASSINATION is very plodding, slowly-paced film that feels much longer than its brief 88 minutes. My dad and I saw this when it opened in January 1987 and I recall both of us being disappointed. I haven't seen it since then, and remembered almost nothing about it other than the terrible rug worn by Michael Ansara, playing a senator. I revisited MESSENGER OF DEATH last week, and the PG-13-rated ASSASSINATION feels even more like a bland TV-movie. Bronson gives it some life in his scenes with Ireland. No one ever accused Ireland of being a great actress, but Bronson loved her more than anything and he was clearly in good spirits being able to work with her. And Ireland has one legitimately hilarious bit where she's trying to dodge Bronson and disguises herself in a black wig and dances down the street. I think you can actually see her trying not to laugh. There's more (intentional) humor than usual here, especially with Bronson being aggressively pursued by his much younger partner Jan Gan Boyd, but sadly, it just never gets rolling despite a capable action director in ON HER MAJESTY'S SECRET SERVICE's Peter Hunt, who previously directed Bronson in 1981's DEATH HUNT. Also with Stephen Elliott as Bronson's boss (who gets a "No way that would fly today" throwaway line where he refers to the Asian-American Boyd as "Charlie Chan"), William Prince, Erik Stern, Peter Lupus, Frank Zagarino, and, in the film's oddest casting, Billy Hayes as one of the hired killers. Yeah...the subject of MIDNIGHT EXPRESS. THAT Billy Hayes. Harmless and not awful, but probably the weakest film from the Golan-Globus era of Bronson's career, despite some promising elements that just never quite come together.


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Marty McKee
Posted: Mar 21 2012, 09:16 PM


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ASSASSINATION was the first major release of 1987 and certainly the lamest of Bronson's Cannon films. I also saw this theatrically (and years later bought the DVD) and expected more from 007 director Peter Hunt. It was Hunt's last feature.


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Marty McKee
Posted: Mar 22 2012, 04:45 PM


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THE DELTA FORCE (1986)—Directed by Menahem Golan. Stars Lee Marvin, Chuck Norris, Robert Forster, Steve James, William Wallace. One of Cannon’s biggest hits teamed the studio’s biggest star—Chuck Norris—at the height of his big-screen popularity with Oscar-winning action icon Lee Marvin (THE DIRTY DOZEN) in the last film of his career. Producer Yoram Globus and producer/director Menahem Golan cast this right-wing comic book like an Irwin Allen disaster movie with an all-star roster of fading movies stars in supporting roles. As Sandra Bernhard once asked David Letterman, “Where else can you see Hanna Schygulla co-starring with Chuck Norris?”

Filmed in Golan’s home country of Israel, his and James Bruner’s screenplay bears similarities to the hijack of TWA Flight 847 a year earlier and the raid at Entebbe Airport in 1976. Lebanese terrorists led by Abdul (Robert Forster, JACKIE BROWN) take over an Athens-to-Rome passenger jet and order the pilot (PART II WALKING TALL’s Bo Svenson) to fly it to Beirut. Colonel Nick Alexander (Marvin, looking like a Ramona Fradon drawing), leader of the U.S. Army’s great fighting force, recruits disgruntled retired Major Scott McCoy (Norris) to assist in the Delta Force’s rescue operation. The terrorists are well organized and have spread out the hostages in three different locations, including a dungeon in downtown Beirut.

Rarely has a film been both so terrible and so good in its individual parts. Golan’s revisionist fantasy is hilariously shameless in its jingoism. Americans are awesome, and everybody else sucks. A Russian passenger rambles to priest George Kennedy (you can’t rip off AIRPORT without hiring George Kennedy) for two minutes about how much he loves living in the United States. The anti-Arab prejudice is appalling, and its anti-Washington sentiments echo those of Cannon’s Vietnam wish-fulfillment action films like MISSING IN ACTION and P.O.W. THE ESCAPE.

Yet THE DELTA FORCE is undeniably well-made. Golan gives the action an aura of scope and international intrigue. After setting up the conflicts and characters in the first hour, the director goes nuts in the second with a series of crisply photographed and edited action sequences specially designed to fit into Norris’ wheelhouse, complete with scripted quips. The explosions are big, and the stunts are exciting. Who better than Marvin to bark orders and take out an important bad guy with a well-aimed head shot? There’s no denying THE DELTA FORCE’s status as a crackerjack action vehicle.

The swarthy terrorists are portrayed as one-dimensional monsters, yet Forster brings an intensity to his role as the dedicated mastermind that forces you to take his cartoon villain seriously. Although the casting seems ripe for HOLLYWOOD SQUARES jokes, none of the veterans is sleepwalking. Martin Balsam (DEATH WISH 3), Shelley Winters (THE POSEIDON ADVENTURE), Joey Bishop (OCEAN’S 11), Lainie Kazan (MY FAVORITE YEAR), Susan Strasberg (PSYCH-OUT), a young Kim Delaney (NYPD BLUE), and Schygulla (THE MARRIAGE OF MARIA BRAUN) join Kennedy and Svenson as on-board hostages and turn in effective work. Robert Vaughn (THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN) does yeoman duty as a general sending the Delta Force into action. Alan Silvestri (BACK TO THE FUTURE) composed the cheesy synthesized score, which admittedly includes a catchy theme. Norris returned as McCoy in 1990 with DELTA FORCE 2: OPERATION STRANGLEHOLD.


DELTA FORCE 2: THE COLOMBIAN CONNECTION (1990)—Directed by Aaron Norris. Stars Chuck Norris, Billy Drago, John P. Ryan, Richard Jaeckel. Cannon was on its last legs when it produced this desperate sequel to one of its biggest hits. It was titled DELTA FORCE 2: OPERATION STRANGLEHOLD in its brief theatrical run in 1990, but has since been retitled DELTA FORCE 2: THE COLOMBIAN CONNECTION on television and home video.

It brings back Chuck Norris as Colonel Scott McCoy, who helps DEA agent Page (Richard Jaeckel) bring down a ruthless South American druglord named Ramon Cota (Billy Drago), who has a gas chamber in his house. As with Cannon, Norris was also no longer much of a big-screen presence by this time, though he soon became more popular than ever as the star of his own prime-time cop show, WALKER, TEXAS RANGER.

DELTA FORCE 2 is notable for a fatal helicopter accident that occurred while shooting on location in the Philippines. Five crew members, including the pilot and a stuntman died, leading to a PREMIERE Magazine expose. Obviously, DELTA FORCE 2 isn’t worth five lives, but it’s an eminently watchable action picture armed with fights, big explosions, and hilariously disparate acting styles. It’s also shockingly meanspirited—Cota kills a baby (off-camera) so he can smuggle cocaine inside its corpse.

Aaron Norris, directing his third Cannon picture (his second, PLATOON LEADER, is easily his best), and second-unit director Dean Ferrandini assemble some exciting action sequences, including a helicopter/limousine chase, a skydiving freefall, and a climactic assault upon Cota’s mountain fortress, which is guarded by dozens of goons wielding machine guns and a few missile-launching choppers. What scenery Drago doesn’t chew is eagerly pounced upon by John P. Ryan, who is hilarious as McCoy’s superior officer. Chuck says even fewer words than usual, but his feet and fists do plenty of talking. Score by Frederic Talgorn (ROBOT JOX). Also with Mark Margolis, Begonia Plaza, Mateo Gomez, Michael Heit, Dick Warlock, Paul Perri, and Filipino extras unsuccessfully passing for Latino.


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Mark Tinta
Posted: Mar 22 2012, 05:04 PM


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Did DELTA FORCE 2 actually come out as a Cannon release? I recall it being distributed by MGM.


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Marty McKee
Posted: Mar 22 2012, 06:42 PM


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QUOTE (Mark Tinta @ Mar 22 2012, 05:04 PM)
Did DELTA FORCE 2 actually come out as a Cannon release?  I recall it being distributed by MGM.

The hi-def print that aired on Sony Movie Channel HD opened and closed with the Paramount logo. The MGM R1 DVD opens with the 1990 MGM lion. DELTA FORCE 2 is a Cannon production, however. Cannon's name is all over it, and Yoram Globus and Christopher Pearce were the producers.

Ads, reviews, and my memory tag its original subtitle as OPERATION STRANGLEHOLD (and the word "stranglehold" is uttered many times in the film). The trailer just says DELTA FORCE 2. Pre-production ads in Variety had other titles and subtitles. I wonder if it ever played theatrically as THE COLOMBIAN CONNECTION. I guess I'd really like to know why the title was changed, especially because new credits had to be created for the film print.

This post has been edited by Marty McKee on Mar 23 2012, 12:49 PM


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Mark Tinta
Posted: Mar 22 2012, 07:52 PM


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Yeah, I knew it was a Cannon production, but I figured by that point they were in such trouble that MGM had to release it for them.


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John Charles
Posted: Mar 22 2012, 08:15 PM


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This Wikipedia page spells out what was going on with MGM and Cannon in the late '80s. That is why MGM got the rights to DELTA FORCE 2 and DEATH WARRANT (video rights to the former had already been pre-sold by Cannon to Media Home Entertainment).

The opening credits of the MGM prints said DELTA FORCE 2: OPERATION STRANGLEHOLD at the start and DELTA FORCE 2: THE COLOMBIAN CONNECTION at the very end of the movie. Can't remember what the title(s) is on the MGM DVD version.

This post has been edited by John Charles on Mar 22 2012, 08:21 PM
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Marty McKee
Posted: Mar 22 2012, 10:11 PM


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QUOTE (John Charles @ Mar 22 2012, 08:15 PM)
The opening credits of the MGM prints said DELTA FORCE 2: OPERATION STRANGLEHOLD at the start and DELTA FORCE 2: THE COLOMBIAN CONNECTION at the very end of the movie. Can't remember what the title(s) is on the MGM DVD version.

THE COLOMBIAN CONNECTION.


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William S. Wilson
Posted: Mar 24 2012, 06:34 PM


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QUOTE (Bob Cashill @ Nov 2 2005, 09:05 AM)
DEMON SEED (1977). Another one from the WB vaults, which I remember seeing on NBC's Saturday Night at the Movies, no doubt heavily edited. The restored Panavision framing is a revelation even if the film itself bites off more than it can chew in 94 minutes. Another outstanding score, too (Jerry Fielding) and not as distateful as I feared given that it's another addition to the canon of rape-happy 70s movies, with a 2001 gloss and Julie Christie really giving her all in what had to be an uncomfortable part. Donald Cammell is another unpredictable talent missed.

Watched this one today for the first time and really enjoyed it. The film is far superior to its shocking plot reputation ("computer rapes woman") with Cammell getting almost existential on the audience. It is the type of film that I'm shocked that Hollywood hasn't remade yet as the scenario could work even better today. And a remake might be able to patch a few of this versions plot holes (like husband Fritz Weaver not checking up on his wife for 30 days or his missing assistant). Reading up on the Dean Koontz source novel, he apparently re-released the book 24 years later with the same plot, but completely rewritten. Interesting.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demon_Seed_(novel)


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Mark Tinta
Posted: Mar 24 2012, 06:44 PM


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QUOTE (William S. Wilson @ Mar 25 2012, 12:34 AM)
And a remake might be able to patch a few of this versions plot holes (like husband Fritz Weaver not checking up on his wife for 30 days or his missing assistant).


Or Julie Christie being married to Fritz Weaver


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William S. Wilson
Posted: Mar 24 2012, 07:15 PM


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QUOTE (Mark Tinta @ Mar 24 2012, 06:44 PM)
QUOTE (William S. Wilson @ Mar 25 2012, 12:34 AM)
And a remake might be able to patch a few of this versions plot holes (like husband Fritz Weaver not checking up on his wife for 30 days or his missing assistant).


Or Julie Christie being married to Fritz Weaver

Hey, sophisticated ladies dig binary code.


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Mark Tinta
Posted: Mar 28 2012, 08:55 PM


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MAN ON FIRE (1987) - I saw it was airing on HBO a few nights ago and felt a curious urge to take another look at the Scott Glenn version. Yep...still not good.


MAN ON FIRE (1987)


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Marty McKee
Posted: Mar 28 2012, 09:44 PM


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QUOTE (Mark Tinta @ Mar 28 2012, 08:55 PM)
MAN ON FIRE (1987) - I saw it was airing on HBO a few nights ago and felt a curious urge to take another look at the Scott Glenn version. Yep...still not good.


MAN ON FIRE (1987)

Yeah, not that good. Too talky and arty. I think Glenn is pretty good in it though. It's always good to see Brooke Adams.


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William S. Wilson
Posted: Mar 30 2012, 12:00 PM


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THE PHOENIX TEAM (1980) - This opens with a Government official being killed during a pheasant hunt in Essex, England, with the assassin mentioning something to his victim about Section D. Cut to Ontario, Canada and David Brook (Don Francks), former Canadian Intelligence field operative turned desk jockey, is on his way to work when he sees his boss Mr. Mason kidnapped off the street by his own people. Wait a sec, Canada has a counterintelligence division? Anyway, curious Brook inquires with his mysterious superior The General (Mavor Moore), who converses only via video screen, and is told Mason was a double agent for the Soviets. For some reason this doesn’t sit right with Brook and he begins to investigate. Aiding him in his quest is old flame Valerie Koester (Elizabeth Shepherd), a MI6 agent who has flown over from London on her own to investigate Section D. She also drops a bomb on Brook by saying, “Mason killed my father.” Duhn-duhn-duhhhhhhhhnnnnnn! So our not-too-super spooks decide the best course of action is to kidnap Mason back (he is being held in a public hospital!) and figure out what in the hell Section D really is.

If that synopsis sounds rather episodic, it makes sense as the Trans World Entertainment VHS release of THE PHOENIX TEAM is actually just a two-part episode from what was a Canadian TV series (the opening credits even read “Old Time’s Sake Part One”) for the CBC (Canadian Broadcast Corporation). Entering with hopes of finding the Canadian THE AVENGERS or MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE, I instead got a show that was as slow as Canadian maple syrup. I think I figured out what the “D” in Section D stands for – dull! Seriously, nothing exciting happens during this telefilm’s 90 minute running time. The opening shotgun blast is the only gunfire in the film and a chase a few minutes later encompasses the action content. It is a shame as the scenario is ripe for some nerve wringing. For example, the idea of posing as doctors to sneak a patient past security and out of the hospital is a time honored suspense creator. Instead writer/creator John C.W. Saxton – who wrote ILSA, SHE WOLF OF THE SS (1975) before this and would later write CLASS OF 1984 (1982) and HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME (1982) – has the thrilling idea of Brook and Koester hiding in a room with their patient and talking. Hell, Koester even takes a nap. How does a guy with those exploitation credits fail to exploit the spy genre properly? To add insult to injury, the script also has so much bureaucratic babble (“I want to file an M-15 request” or “I have access to a gray card”) that it almost sounds like a spoof at times. I did get a chuckle out of a line when the true nature of Section D is revealed (SPOILER: it is a hit team) and the villain says, “Who would suspect it out of Canada?”

It is a shame the proceedings are so boring as THE PHOENIX TEAM has a lot going for it. Director John Trent gets the most out of some wintery locations in Ontario and he has a capable cast. Most notable is Francks in the lead. With his Peter Graves sound-a-like voice, Francks was immediately recognizable to me, but I couldn’t figure out from where. Then it hit me – he was the sheriff in the superior Canadian slasher MY BLOODY VALENTINE (1981). He is very good in the lead and actually won an ACTRA (Association of Canadian Television and Radio Artists) award for his work on this show. The series was short-lived, lasting only 9 episodes, with the majority of them airing in the fall of 1980 before it disappeared into the foggy memories of our friends up north. My link below has a few press clippings about the show (courtesy of proud Canadian, John Charles).

http://originalvidjunkie.blogspot.com/2012...-team-1980.html


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Marty McKee
Posted: Mar 30 2012, 01:26 PM


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Don Francks has appeared in a ton of American and Canadian television shows and movies. He must have moved to Hollywood for awhile in the 1960s. He starred in the CBS adventure series JERICHO and guest-starred in two MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE episodes.


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