Friday, 3 August 2012

Friday Night Film: The Island

'The Island’ looks like it was a lot of fun to make and, for the most part, it’s a lot of fun to watch, so everybody’s happy. Michael Caine plays Blair Maynard, an investigative journalist who is looking into why six hundred ships have disappeared in the Florida Keys in the last three years. Taking his less than impressed son along for the ride, they have some adventures, including a plane crash, then hire a boat to do some fishing and are attacked by pirates. Not your boring Somalian or Chinese chancers, but ‘arr, Jim lad’ pirates, buccaneers descended from the original 17th century scumbags of legend. 

'Complacent? Moi?'


Flaming pirates.

Brace Yeselves.

'Look, you need to phone my agent - it's 071 658...'

A waste of fruit about to happen.

The pirates are led by a pony tailed David Warner (who phones it in a bit) and a supporting cast of British and Australian character actors (Dudley Sutton, Colin Jeavons, Don Henderson and that hairy bloke out of ‘Mad Max’). They’ve been stuck on a remote island for generations, and inbreeding has made it impossible for them to continue the line so they kidnap Caine to knock up the only fertile woman in the group, and brainwash his son into becoming just like them, a murderous scallawag.

Sleep deprivation.

Sutton adds nuance.
The pirates are ultimately no match for the paunchy Caine, however, and after being tortured, raped, stung by jellyfish and chained up like a curly haired Cockney monkey he takes his revenge with machine and flare gun and gets his son back from their nefarious clutches.

'Right, nobody shoots a bloody paw paw out of my hands!'

'Come on, then, you cockney twat'

Ow! II

I’ve always liked Michael Caine, but he is on the cusp here of the nadir of his long career, the slew of lazy ‘will this do?’ films he churned out in the mid and late 80’s. Tired and out of condition, he’s an unlikely action hero and pirate slayer and he just gets by with appearing only occasionally ridiculous, mainly when being oiled up and manipulated (against his will!) by his randy pirate bride.
The pirates have a bit of a hoot, talking in a strange archaic patois, taking their teeth out, having a selection of bizarre haircuts and generally being nasty to everybody. You almost feel a bit sorry for them at the end, I mean, they're only doing what pirates do, aren't they?

Anyway, 'The Island': I wouldn’t say it was camp, and I wouldn’t say it was a classic, but its sort of a camp classic, if you know what I mean, Cap’n.

1 comment:

  1. I completely agree - Caine is my favourite actor, but this really stretches one's patience. It just proved that he should steer clear of anything set on the ocean or linked in any way to Peter Benchley; Jaws 4 for conclusive proof.