Friday, March 20, 2015

Short Attention Span Review: The Island (1980)

Earlier this week I did a review of The Deep.  Today, I'm dipping back into the ocean for another film based on a book by Peter Benchley that hit cinemas shortly after Jaws gave us the summer blockbuster.  The Island was no blockbuster, and much like The Deep, many critics and viewers were lukewarm on this seafaring adventure simply because it wasn't Jaws.  If we're ranking these pictures, The Island is surely in third place, but it's not a bad movie.  There are a few shocking moments of violence, a wealth of striking visuals, and Micheal Caine and David Warner offer up sound performances as the hero and the villain of the piece.  This pirate yarn is a bit over the top at times (that's an understatement) and some of the performances are uneven, but it is lively and suspenseful throughout.  Once again, like most every adaptation out there, the book was superior, but The Island still makes for a nifty movie that is often overlooked.  The pirates that menace these waters are surely entertaining to watch and they're a far cry from the likes of Captain Jack Sparrow.  Dirty, vulgar, crude, and extremely violent, these malevolent misfits make for feisty adversaries, and Caine's intrepid reporter is a sound protagonist.  The Island presents Caine's Blair Maynard with a great many obstacles to overcome and the struggles he endures during his captivity make him easy to root for.  The big finale is a bit unbelievable, but it is rather satisfying, and Caine's strong performance makes it easier to swallow.  The direction courtesy of Michael Ritchie is solid and Ennio Morricone provided The Island with yet another of his melodic and haunting scores.  In closing, it's a far cry from Jaws in terms of story and execution, but if you're looking for a cheeky good time The Island is surely worthy of a visit.

Final Grade: C+
This is what happens when you fuck with Michael Caine.

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