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ROBERT SHAW & HARRISON FORD IN 'FORCE 10 FROM NAVARONE'

FORCE 10 actors Nero, Ford, Shaw, Fox and Weathers YEAR: 1978
Begins as a straight-out action/adventure and gathering espionage/thriller elements along the way,  FORCE 10 FROM NAVARONE is a fun, old school World War II programmer but hardly a genuine sequel to THE GUNS OF NAVARONE...

That movie, deemed a classic by critics and audiences alike, has two (three, actually) main characters played by leading men style actors as Gregory Peck and David Niven (and a Anthony Quinn) are replaced by character-actors Robert Shaw, riding high on his 1975 ignited JAWS fame, and Edward Fox, joining FORCE 10 led by an initially grouchy, and STAR WARS favorite, Harrison Ford, filling in Anthony Quinn's vacant position as third banana despite being on-par with Shaw: this ragtag team is sent from England to Italy and then into Yugoslavia...

Harrison Ford in Force Ten From Navarone
Ford's mission is, at first, classified to Shaw, who joins to kill a German secret agent played by Franco Nero. The main goal is something that occurs in many war films: blowing up a strategic bridge used by the Germans while the b-story wields a more subtle underline for the tables to turn at any given moment.

Paperback Cover
During the best scenes when the picture really starts to flow, both lead characters band together after their troop are taken hostage: Having despised each other at first, it takes a realistic amount of time to warm up. Ford thaws into a likable American, delivering urgent lines like his STAR WARS rogue did under pressure, and yet, Shaw's underdog gentleman Brit still takes the lead by his experienced, resilient wits. Meanwhile, the viewer must suspend disbelief to truly enjoy the lightweight odyssey...

Before the bombastic climax, twists begin to settle within the cracks of the somewhat cliche yet spontaneous rollercoaster ride. When the missions of Force 10 and the Nararone vets intertwine, you never really know which peripheral character's on the right side, adding intrigue and a fair amount of suspense. And as a completely unrealistic albeit fun casting bonus, Carl Weathers adds an edgy blaxploitation element, eventually going up against his "rival" of sorts, a formidable Richard Kiel, whose voice was replaced in post production.

Personal Laserdisc Signed by the late Richard Kiel
While it's much too easy for our heroes to traipse around Nazi-ridden Yugoslavia without getting killed...conversing as if taking a stroll down a public nature center.. there are enough snags in their way that you'll either forget or embrace the fact that, for better or worse, this is a fantasy war film...

A good thing when you have gun and knife fights, grand explosions and an ensemble dream cast banking in on actors from that period's smash hits: JAWS for Shaw, ROCKY for Weathers, and of course, Harrison Ford in STAR WARS and his trusted Reynolds is Angus McGuinness, who was Gold Leader in that same epic's Battle of the Death Star. And the biggest connection has to do with James Bond: One of the franchise's best directors, Guy Hamilton, captains two Bond villains and one Bond girl: Richard Kiel, who played the fan-adored henchman, Jaws, in THE SPY WHO LOVED ME (and later, MOONRAKER); that same film's Barbara Bach; and Robert Shaw, the classic heavy from FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE.
Robert Shaw, Harrison Ford, Barbara Bach and a few expendable Germans in Force 10 from NAVARONE
Robert Shaw, Harrison Ford, Barbara Bach in FORCE TEN FROM NAVARONE
The cool guy 1970's all-stars in FORCE TEN FROM NAVARONE
Blasting away in FORCE TEN FROM NAVARONE
Film Begins truly here after a tie-in explanation of the original movie THE GUNS OF NAVARONE
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