HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
Iceman
Blue Sky
Tokyo Dragon Chef
Pittsburgh
12 Hour Shift
Intergalactic Adventures of Max Cloud, The
Spoilers, The
Killer Therapy
Man Upstairs, The
Bloodhound, The
New Mutants, The
Tesla
Flame of New Orleans, The
Ham on Rye
Imperial Blue
Tenet
August 32nd on Earth
Don is Dead, The
Seven Sinners
Body of Water
Away
Soul
About Endlessness
Let It Snow
Ava
Deliver Us from Evil
Shark Attack 3: Megalodon
Midnight Sky, The
Lego Star Wars Holiday Special, The
Mon Oncle Antoine
Blast of Silence
Blackout, The
Stars in Your Eyes
Alone
Climate of the Hunter
Farewell Amor
Let's Scare Julie
Okko's Inn
Shaolin vs. Wu Tang
Fatman
   
 
Newest Articles
Network Double Bills: Hawk the Slayer and The Medusa Touch
The Price of Plague: The Masque of the Red Death on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Seance on a Wet Afternoon and Ring of Spies
Chaney Chillers: Inner Sanctum Mysteries - The Complete Film Series on Blu-ray
Adelphi Extras: Stars in Your Eyes on Blu-ray
Toons for the Heads: Fantastic Planet and Adult Animation
Nature Girl: The New World on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Perfect Friday and Robbery
Network Double Bills: The House in Nightmare Park and The Man Who Haunted Himself
Newley Minted: The Strange World of Gurney Slade on Blu-ray
Bad Love: The Night Porter on Blu-ray
Brevity is the Soul of Weird: Short Sharp Shocks on Blu-ray
Get Your Ass to Mars: Total Recall on Blu-ray
Call the Professionals: Le Cercle Rouge on Blu-ray
When There's No More Room in Hell: Dawn of the Dead on Blu-ray
The Butterfly Effect: Mothra on Blu-ray
Living Room Theatre: Play for Today Volume 1 on Blu-ray
Didn't He Do Well: The Bruce Forsyth Show on DVD
Blood Wedding: The Bride with White Hair on Blu-ray
The Inhuman Element: The Ladykillers on 4K UHD
As You Like It, Baby: Breathless on Blu-ray
Stargazing: Light Entertainment Rarities on DVD
Down to the Welles: Orson Welles Great Mysteries Volume 2 on DVD
Herding Cats: Sleepwalkers on Blu-ray
Confessions of a Porn Star: Adult Material 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 1594 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
Stately Wayne Manor
Enoch Sneed
  Geraint Morgan
Paul Smith
  Lee Fiveash
   

 

Last Updated: