Delta Force 2 (1990)

delta-force-2-poster3Country: United States
Director: Aaron Norris
Starring: Chuck Norris, Billy Drago, Paul Perry, John P. Ryan, Richard Jaeckel, Begonya Plaza
Music: Frédéric Talgorn
AKA: Delta Force 2: The Columbian Connection

This follow up to Delta Force is in reality a loose reimagining of the James Bond film, Licence to Kill, which was released a year earlier.

As the film opens, the DEA is out to catch notorious South American drug baron, Ramon Cota (Billy Drago). Cota operates out of the fictitious country of San Carlos, which the US have no extradition treaty with. However, as luck would have it, Cota leave the safe haven of San Carlos for Rio, where he is to attend a masquerade ball. The DEA plan to catch him once and for all, and have a surveillance van is on hand to watch his every move. Cota arrives in a limousine, wearing a silver masking enters the ball and mingles with the guests. The DEA agents surround him and close in. They remove the mask and find that it is not Cota, but a decoy. The real Cota, and several of his heavily arms goons take up a position behind the surveillance van. As the goons open fire, the team inside the van are cut to ribbons. Cota sends a message, saying that was only a warning. It is pointless to trey and capture him.

It appears the DEA need a little help. They call in two members of Delta Force, Colonel Scott McCoy (Chuck Norris) and Major Bobby Chavez (Paul Perri). Their superior is General Taylor, played by Cannon Film regular John P. Ryan (Avenging Force / Runaway Train / Death Wish 4). Taylor has found out that Cota will be flying to Switzerland to deposit his money into a numbered account. The plane will fly over US air space for just a few minutes, near the Florida Keys.

McCoy and Chavez manage to smuggle themselves onto the plane, and when it passes over US airspace, they arrest him. Of course, they have to get him off the plane before it is out of their jurisdiction, so McCoy pushes Cota out of the plane. Anyone who has seen Moonraker, will recognise what follows. Later, Cota is brought before a judge, and his bail is set at ten million dollars – which is pocket change to a man like Cota. Chavez, frustrated by a system which will see Cota go free, loses his temper and punches Cota as he leaves the court room. As I mentioned at the top, this film borrows heavily from Licence to Kill, so if you haven’t worked it out yet, Chavez is the sacrificial Felix Leiter character. Cota gets his revenge – and McCoy vows to go in and bring the drug lord down.

While being entertaining in a low brow way, the derivative story content detracts from what may have been a serviceable action flick. Instead the viewer is constantly reminded of better films. Apart from the aforementioned Bond films (Licence to Kill / Moonraker), as Billy Drago is the villain – and he came to prominence as Frank Nitti in The Untouchables, the film also borrows some elements from that film as well. The courtroom scene at the start is reminiscent of the closing of The Untouchables – but here the villain gets away. There is also a replay of the round table scene – sans baseball bat – but non-the-less, you’d have to be blind not to miss the connection.

I have a soft spot for Chuck Norris’ action flicks – but this one doesn’t cut it.

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The Hound of the Baskervilles (1982)

HoundCountry: United Kingdom
Starring: Tom Baker, Terence Rigby, Christopher Ravenscroft, Caroline John, William Squire
Director: Peter Duguid
Music: Carl Davis

Some quick thoughts on the 1982 four-part BBC television series of The Hound of the Baskervilles, starring everybody’s favourite Dr. Who – Tom Baker – as Sherlock Holmes. Over the years, this version has developed a reputation for being pretty bad. I am guessing a part of the reason for this is that is hasn’t been available – many people concluding that it must be bad if it has never been released. As one of the few people who could sit through the entirety of Peter Cook & Dudley Moore’s The Hound of the Baskervilles, I wondered just how bad could it be?

The answer is, it is not bad at all. It may not reach the heights of some of the other versions – the Hammer version with Peter Cushing being my favourite – but none-the-less tells the oft told tale in a professional way. Baker is a fine Holmes – but as people familiar with Hound already know, Holmes is absent from the story for a sizable amount of time. But Terence Rigby is not the worst Watson to carry the story (Robert Duvall, with his dreadful accent and voiceover in The Seven Percent Solution gets my vote for worst Watson). Like many other versions of Hound, it could be said that the ferocious canine of the title lets the series down – but I don’t believe any version has really nailed the Hound.

On the plus side, if you are a Tom Baker fan, the recent Madman DVD release has an entertaining audio commentary by Baker over all 4 episodes, which in itself almost makes it worth the price.

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The Story of the Kelly Gang (1906)

In Melbourne, Australia it is just ticked past 9:00am on the 11th of November. 134 years ago, on this day, Ned Kelly was hung at Old Melbourne Gaol.

And here is, what many people consider the world’s first feature film – and remember this was only made 26 years after Kelly’s death, so many of the people involved in the story were still alive.

The first dramatic narrative to run over 60 minutes in length, but now only fragments remain, many of which are as badly decomposed as Ned Kelly. It also marks the beginning of the film industry in Australia but was banned in Benalla and Wangarratta, Australia, in 1907, and then again in Adelaide in 1911.

Kelly’s actual suit of armour was borrowed from the Victorian Museum and worn in the film.

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Such is Life: Led to the gallows


An image from the State Library of Victoria shows Ned Kelly making the walk to the gallows at Old Melbourne Gaol.

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A (Very) Brief History of Bushranger Ned Kelly – Brickfilm

The Ned Kelly story – in Lego! It runs just over 9 minutes.

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Ned Kelly (2003) – The Last Stand

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Ned Kelly (1970) – The Last Stand

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Australia Still Divided

A short piece from 2008.

It’s 128 years since he was hanged at Melbourne Gaol, but the decendent of an Irishman extradited to Australia for stealing pigs in Tipperary is still causing controversy today. Ned Kelly is one of the most infamous characters in global folklore and he is being remembered today.

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Ned Kelly – hero or villain?

This short piece (6 minutes 13 sec)is a segment from the breakfast television show, Sunrise.

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Ned Kelly Uncovered

This documentary from 2009 features Baldrick (sorry, I mean Tony Robinson) digging up Ned Kelly’s past.

Ned Kelly Uncovered follows the first ever excavation of the Glenrowan Inn site where the iconic Australian bushranger and his gang holed up for a showdown with police.

Nearly 130 years later, can a team of archaeologists and historians reveal new insights into Ned Kelly’s final moments of freedom.

With expert commentary from Kelly experts Ian Jones and Alex McDermott, this one hour documentary follows a seven week dig led by archaeologist Adam Ford.

As the archaeologists unearth a host of artefacts including cartridges and bullets, the team conduct tests with fascinating results. Meanwhile the historians strip back the myth, piecing together the clues to give a detailed new look at an iconic Australian, literally from the ground up.

Presenter: Tony Robinson
Producers: Alex West and Lucy Mcalaren
Executive Producers: Joe Connor, Ken Connor, Alex West
Writer/Director: Alex West

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