Also known as: Alistair MacLean’s River of Death (Germany)
Release Date: May 15th, 1989 (Cannes)
Directed by: Steve Carver
Written by: Andrew Deutsch, Edward Simpson
Based on: River of Death by Alistair MacLean
Music by: Sasha Matson
Cast: Michael Dudikoff, Robert Vaughn, Donald Pleasence, Herbert Lom, L. Q. Jones
Breton Film Productions, Cannon International, Pathe Communications, 107 Minutes
I’m a pretty avid fan of the movies that Michael Dudikoff made for Cannon Films. So I figured that this would be a hidden gem because of that. Plus, it had an interesting premise that saw Dudikoff go to the Amazon to hunt for treasure and Nazis. Honestly, it sounded like a Cannon Films version of an Indiana Jones movie.
I should have been weary though, as Cannon already attempted such a thing with those two Allan Quatermain pictures from the mid-’80s. Neither of them were terrible but they weren’t awesome either.
Maybe Dudikoff is just at his best when Steve James is by his side and he’s either fighting ninjas or guys in weird costumes that hide in the bayou? Whatever the case, this movie is a total fucking dud.
What’s even more sad about the whole thing is that this also featured Robert Vaughn and Donald Pleasence. Two great character actors with solid chops and really long resumes.
Honestly, though, this movie is pretty damn boring for a film that’s premise promised some pretty cool things. While it has action, none of it is very memorable and we’ve seen much better efforts by Cannon Films four dozen times over by the time this rolled around in ’89.
It’s poorly acted, the script is bird cage liner and the direction and fight choreography don’t measure up to the reasonable low standards of Cannon.
For a Cannon Films or Dudikoff completist, I guess this is worth checking out. Just don’t expect to find your new favorite film of the lot.
Pairs well with: other Michael Dudikoff action films, as well as other action movies from Cannon.