Ice Station Zebra (1968) Movie Review

Director: John Sturges

Writer: Douglas Heyes, Harry Julian Fink (Screenplay) Alistair MacLean (Novel)

Starring: Rock Hudson, Ernest Borgnine, Patrick McGoohan, Jim Brown, Tony Bill, Lloyd Nolan

Plot: USN nuclear sub USS Tigerfish must rush to the North Pole to rescue the staff of Drift Ice Station Zebra weather station.

Tagline – “Ice Station Zebra”… Remember The Name — Your Life May Depend On It!

Runtime: 2 Hours 28 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Sizzling Tension Filler

Story: Ice Station Zebra starts after a British research facility in the North Pole gets into a position where it requires help, with the snow stopping any flights, Cdr James Ferraday (Hudson) is assigned to captain his nuclear submarine, with specialist David Jones (McGoohan) who is on his own mission to the research facility.

On route to the station the crew pick up Boris Vaslov (Borgnine) and Captain Leslie Anders (Brown), learning that somebody might be trying to sabotage the mission, once they hit the North Pole, the four are joined by a crew to finish the mission on foot across the cold arctic conditions.

Thoughts on Ice Station Zebra

Characters – Cdr James Ferraday is the man assigned with taking the submarine on the rescue attempt, he knows what he needs to, only he is joined with somebody who knows more, he must figure out how to get more information, while become suspicious of everything that he learns along the way, including the extra guests who join the mission, he wants to do the right thing and tries to make sure nobody gets in his way. Boris Vaslov is a Russian that joins the mission, he is friendly to everybody while looking to find the answers. David Jones is the man that joins the mission from the start, he knows what they are looking for and doesn’t want to give away everything unless it will get to a stage of life and death. Captain Leslie Anders joins the mission and is stricter in how he runs the soldiers onboard the submarine.

PerformancesRock Hudson in the leading role is strong, while we do have a well known cast in Ernest Borgnine, Patrick McGoohan and Jim Brown that all do a great job with their characters through the film.

StoryThe story here follows a crew of a submarine that must travel to the North Pole to rescue a group of survivors that are in need of rescue, while also waiting to see why other nations are so interested in getting there first. This starts of looking like it is going to be a standard rescue mission, only to turn into a story that revolves around the different nations that are all interested in what could be at the base, while it could have something much bigger for the world’s control over everything. We are kept guessing on who to trust through the film, which is interesting and does keep us on edge, even if most of the moments focus on the almost moments.

AdventureThe film does make us see this as an adventure with the characters needing to go on a journey to rescue people in need, even if not everybody is on the same page.

SettingsThe film is set in two primary locations, first the submarine, which is contained, then the arctic with the station which might be open, but is isolated.

Scene of the Movie – Showdown on the ice.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Doesn’t give us enough answers.

Final Thoughts This is an interesting thriller that feels like it is just ready to burst, only for it to end up fizzling out without getting to the top level we would look to expect it to.

Overall: Fizzling Thriller.

Blitz Spirit (2019) Short Movie Review

Director: Sean Ramsden

Writer: Sean Ramsden (Screenplay)

Starring: Ellie Jeffreys, Marie Wilson, Amelia Donovan, Mitchell Sullivan, Sam Casse, Maximillian Davey

Plot: At the dawn of the Blitz, a tender young bar pianist struggles to justify his war efforts to his stubborn Mother.

Runtime: 19 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Nice Spotlight on War

Story: Blitz Spirit starts in 1940 England, World War II is underway and the people of London are struggling through their days, waiting for a potential air raid, Pianist MG (Davey) entertains the crowds in the bar, not going into battle, when an air raid strikes the city, joining his Mother (Wilson) and sister Myra (Donovan) they look at his position in the war.

Thoughts on Blitz Spirit

Final Thoughts This is a nice short that is shot like it would have been on the same film that news reports for the era would have been presented, it does show how not every person would have been for the conflict of war and the taboo that was left forced upon the young men, despite the love in a family only wants people to be safe. We do get strong performances, we get ideas of how much more to life they have from their characters and we get to see just how conflicted families could be. This could easily be an extended story, dealing with more emotional impact that MG must go through, which we only get early glimpses at through the short.

Overall: Beautifully Shot.

ABC Film Challenge – Catch-Up 2019 – A – Avengement (2019) Movie Review

Director: Jesse V Johnson

Writer: Jesse V Johnson, Stu Small (Screenplay)

Starring: Scott Adkins, Craig Fairbrass, Thomas Turgoose, Nick Moran, Kierston Wareing, Leo Gregory, Beau Fowler

Plot: After years of assaults on him in prison, Cain escapes for avengement on those responsible.

Tagline – He’s Out On Bad Behavior.

Runtime: 1 Hour 30 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Bloody, Brutal and Bad Ass

Story: Avengement starts when harden criminal Cain Burgess (Adkins) escapes from prison heading directly to his brother’s pub, holding the group including Hyde (Moran), Tune (Turgoose) and bar tender Bez (Wareing) as he waits for his brother Lincoln (Fairbrass) to arrive to settle a score.

While waiting for Lincoln, Cain has a story of how he was abandoned in prison to fight for himself becoming a deadly weapon that can beat any man in a solo fight and when it comes to numbers, they still don’t have an advantage against him.

Thoughts on Avengement

Characters – Cain Burgess was a small time criminal before he got caught and thrown in prison, here he became a fighter, finding a target on his back, becoming a man with scars on his face and revenge in his blood. He heads straight for his brother and the members of the gang that caused in prison sentence, he is tough fighter that literally won’t stay down. Lincoln is the brother of Cain that has been running a loan shark business for years, his reputation has seen countless people suffer and pay for failing to repay him. Tune is the member of the gang that will talk the biggest game, while being just another idiot member of the group. Hyde is the man under Lincoln in the organisation, he knows how to work people, being able to remain calm even with a shotgun in his face.

PerformancesScott Adkins gives the best performance of his career to date here, he has always been brilliant at the combat scenes, but when it comes to the pure emotion behind the character, he has struggled before, he shines on both fronts. Craig Fairbrass does bring the villainous character to life, though we don’t see enough of him at times. The rest of the cast do bring their aggressive gangster figure to life.

StoryThe story here follows a brother that escapes from prison to go on a revenge mission against his brother the leader of a loan shark ring that has seen countless people suffer after he gets abandoned to fight for himself in prison. This does keep the story simple it is a revenge story, we do start with near the end as we do flashback through the incidents which explain all the scars and disfigurements that Cain has suffered. We also get to look at different motivations for what Cain is up to. The warning going into this story must come from the aggressive British gangster language, which is used to put extra point on the swearing.

ActionThe action in the film is brutal and hard hitting with fights in all locations becoming longer and bloodier through the film.

SettingsThe film uses the settings to help with a large part of the film being in the bar waiting for the big blow off scene, while each other location explains how we ended up here.

Scene of the Movie – Bar fight.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – The rest of the gang seem almost pointless at times.

Final Thoughts This is a truly brutal action film that doesn’t hold back on any of the fight scenes and gives Scott Adkins the best performance of his career.

Overall: Brutal Action.