Written by / 8/23/2011 / No comments / , , , , ,

GEORGE C. SCOTT & MARLON BRANDO IN THE FORMULA

1980 rating: **1/2
CHINATOWN without water, and not entirely satisfying, although there are decent moments as George C. Scott investigates the death of his cop friend, who was involved with a “formula” that has to do with… well that’s revealed in the second half of the film, which gets weighed down by too many conversations with characters being killed off right after revealing the secrets that carry Scott from one person to the next.

The main problem is the lack of situations between the dialogue – more chatter than the necessary suspense which would make our protagonist seem in real danger. Marlon Brando plays a stateside oil tycoon, and while it’s fun watching him on screen – as he continuously purses his lips and revels in a shady persona – he’s doing an obvious performance. Once in Germany, where Scott becomes drenched in a Nazi secret (teased in the prologue with Richard Lynch), he meets a brooding, sexy Martha Keller, perhaps the most fleshed-out character. But fans of Film Noir will see her deception way before love-struck Scott does.

Director John G. Advilsen strays from his colorfully creative styling of JOE and SAVE THE TIGER, and his latter, more popular flicks like ROCKY and THE KARATE KID that make you want to win at all costs. This lacked either color or stamina, and leads to a dull conclusion where all those conversations, some of which are genuinely intriguing, seem a waste of time.
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