HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
Night Raiders
Samourai, Le
Advent Calendar, The
Champion
Merchant of Four Seasons, The
Love of Jeanne Ney, The
Blonde. Purple
Dirty Ho
Annette
Shepherd
Dying to Divorce
Bad Luck Banging or Loony Porn
Trouble with Being Born, The
Last Matinee, The
Strings, The
Free Hand for a Tough Cop
People Just Do Nothing: Big in Japan
Dear Future Children
Accidental Luxuriance of the Translucent Watery Rebus
Swallow
Thin Red Line, The
Petite Maman
Fast & Furious 9
Sundown: The Vampire in Retreat
Sweet Thing
Maelstrom
Father, The
Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings
Night House, The
Father of Flies
80,000 Years Old
Dead & Beautiful
Bull
Censor
Sleep
Freaky
Nightbooks
Whisker Away, A
Wild Indian
Whale Island
   
 
Newest Articles
Keeping the Beatles Alive: Get Back
The Punk Rock Movie: Out of the Blue on Blu-ray
Yeah, Too Quiet: The Great Silence on Blu-ray
Vestron Double Bill: Dementia 13 and The Wraith
Farewell Dean Stockwell: His Years of Weirdness
Kung Fu Craft: Cinematic Vengeance! on Blu-ray
999 Letsbe Avenue: Gideon's Way on Blu-ray
Hungary for Cartoons: Hungarian Animations on MUBI
You Have No Choice: Invasion of the Body Snatchers on Blu-ray
You Can't Tame What's Meant to Be Wild: The Howling on Blu-ray
Commendably Brief: Short Sharp Shocks Vol. 2 on Blu-ray
Super Silents: Early Universal Vol. 2 on Blu-ray
Fable Fear: The Singing Ringing Tree on Blu-ray
Gunsight Eyes: The Sabata Trilogy on Blu-ray
Bloody Bastard Baby: The Monster/I Don't Want to Be Born on Blu-ray
Night of the Animated Dead: Director Jason Axinn Interview
The ParaPod: A Very British Ghost Hunt - Interview with Director/Star Ian Boldsworth
On the Right Track: Best of British Transport Films Vol. 2
The Guns of Nutty Joan: Johnny Guitar on Blu-ray
Intercourse Between Two Worlds: Twin Peaks Fire Walk with Me/The Missing Pieces on Blu-ray
Enjoy the Silents: Early Universal Vol. 1 on Blu-ray
Masterful: The Servant on Blu-ray
70s Sitcom Dads: Bless This House and Father Dear Father on Blu-ray
Going Under: Deep Cover on Blu-ray
Child's Play: Children's Film Foundation Bumper Box Vol. 3 on DVD
   
 
  Sky Riders Get The Hang Of It
Year: 1976
Director: Douglas Hickox
Stars: James Coburn, Susannah York, Robert Culp, Charles Aznavour, Harry Andrews, John Beck, Zouzou, Kenneth Griffith, Werner Pochath, Antonis Antypas, Telis Zotos, Nikos Tsachiridis, Ernie F. Orsatti, Barbara Trentham, Henry Brown, Cherie Latimer
Genre: Action, ThrillerBuy from Amazon
Rating:  6 (from 1 vote)
Review: Jonas Bracken (Robert Culp) is a wealthy American industrialist currently residing with his wife Ellen (Susannah York) and their two young children, living in a gated mansion in the countryside. Unfortunately, their exact location has been pinpointed by a group of European terrorists, and one morning after Jonas has left for work, the evildoers swoop, murdering the staff and kidnapping the three family members, taking them to a secret hideaway where they are locked up in a cell. The only way they are going to be released is if Bracken can agree to their demands, which will place many lives in peril, so he has to turn to Jim McCabe (James Coburn) for help. A pilot and adventurer, he happens also to be the actual father of one of Bracken's children...

Sky Riders was basically an action thriller with one big idea, but what a good one it was: make use of the newly popular sport of hang gliding. Of course, producer and co-writer Sandy Howard was not about to play his hand straight away, so the audience had to wait until the scene depicted on the poster arrived about halfway through the story. Before that, the film paid lip service to making a political statement since the nineteen-seventies in Europe was a time blighted with terrorism in many of the Western nations; the bad guys in this case were a bunch of well-organised Communists who were thwarted in Paris during the student riots so have decided to take up more violent methods to get their way.

But really the movie needed a bogeyman, and the spectre of terrorism was as good as any, there were plenty of groups to choose from, though here the insurgents belonged to an entirely invented band of brothers and sisters united under the gun. We can tell they mean business because when the Greek police inspector, Nikolidis (Charles Aznavour), tries to get one up on them by following their instructions, he ends up with a selection of dead and injured policemen on his hands as the terrorists lead them into a trap that explodes with a devastating blow. Therefore it was up to McCabe to have a brainwave, and inspiration struck when he sighted a troupe of hang gliders who put on shows for the tourists.

Coburn was always comfortable with action sequences, sort of a friendlier Lee Marvin in that respect, and for the last half of this he had the opportunity to essay the adventurer role with his typically laconic charm, "laconic" being the perfect word for his style, hence every writer would use it to describe him at one point or another. He was a man's man, sure, but also someone here we could see women and children could trust; Sky Riders wasn't his most celebrated starring part, but it proved how good he was when called on to coast through something many other stars would have sleepwalked past, his charisma operating at a level above what perhaps was required. Thanks to this, the film was lifted above the ordinary since the extensive stunt work mattered all the more because we could tell it mattered to Coburn.

To the extent that he participated in them himself, not so much the hang gliding business, but there was a shot late on where he has grabbed onto a passing helicopter unseen by us until the camera focuses on him holding on like grim death, then pulls out to reveal it genuinely was James Coburn performing the activity, no wires, no superimpositions, the real deal, and that contribution added a lot, as any fan of Buster Keaton, Jean-Paul Belmondo or Jackie Chan would tell you. When the gliders were not gliding around the mountain hideout of the terrorists, the gunplay came out with a vengeance, and we were supposed to believe John Beck and his team of what was essentially an outdoor circus act could effectively hold their own against heavily armed madmen with a cause, which you may find difficult to swallow. It was not particularly important in the long run, this was a fantasy of getting even with a world that was becoming more confusing and frightening in the news stories the audience read every day, and Coburn was the capable hero in that. Catchy, lilting score by Lalo Schifrin.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 2286 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Darren Jones
Andrew Pragasam
Jason Cook
Enoch Sneed
  Desbris M
  Paul Tuersley
  Chris Garbutt
   

 

Last Updated: