Kenneth Ross

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The Odessa File Review


OK
Here's a long way to go for nothing in the way of payoff: Jon Voight stars as a European journalist who masquerades as a former Nazi in postwar Germany in order to infiltrate a gang of ex-SS members intent on launching a Fourth Reich. Unfortunately, this ends up being mostly a series of mano-a-mano confrontations behind closed doors, with the "revelations" reaching absurd level by the end.

Black Sunday (1977) Review


Excellent
If the plot of Black Sunday seems familiar, that's probably because you're remembering the wholesale rip-off it was given by The Sum of All Fears just a year ago. But Sunday is immensely better. If you've seen the latter but not the original, you owe it to yourself to check it out.

The story has since been done to death: terrorist group plans to cause massive carnage, this time at the Super Bowl by blowing up the Good Year Blimp overhead. But Black Sunday is distinguished by its unique focus not on the hero but on the villain: Bruce Dern as an angry Vietnam vet, pilot, and former prisoner of war. He holds a grudge against the U.S. like you wouldn't believe (brainwashed? shellshocked?): Enough to convince him to join forces with a Palestinian militant group called Black September. It doesn't help that he's just plain crazy. Even the Black September operatives are a little afraid of what he might do.

Continue reading: Black Sunday (1977) Review

The Day Of The Jackal Review


Excellent
It's awfully long, but The Day of the Jackal (which inspired a remake almost 25 years later) is a terribly compelling look at the machinations of an assassin and the military/police machinations that must occur in order to apprehend him. Or, more to the point, the machinations of 1973, before the dawn of the electronic age, when hotel registration cards had to be collected by a local policeman, deposited at the station, messengered by motorbike to a city, and phoned in to HQ if a match was made. It's inefficiency that lets our British Jackal (Edward Fox) get within spitting distance of his target, Charles de Gaulle, after nearly a week of travelling across Europe with the French cops (led by Michael Lonsdale) on his tail. Delightfully intelligent and often irreverant, it's a good yarn and a good thriller to boot.
Kenneth Ross

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