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Australia 1982
Directed by
Tim Burstall
93 minutes
Rated M

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
2.5 stars

Attack Force Z

Phillip Noyce was originally hired as director for this fact-based story about Australian Special Forces commandos undertaking a covert operation against the Japanese in the Southern Pacific region during WW2. Due to "creative differences" executive producer John McCallum replaced him with Tim Burstall. The outcome is a well-made but highly conventional action film more typical of English (the Australia-born McCallum, with his wife, Googie Withers, made his career in the UK film industry) and American studio product and lacking much in the way of a distinctive Australian character other than the accents (appropriately enough Chris Haywood emphasises his Cockney accent). The American component is satisfied by John Phillip Law, an actor who had his moment in the sun opposite Jane Fonda in Barbarella (1968).

The cast is excellent with early roles from Sam Neill and Mel Gibson along with some stars of contemporary Taiwanese cinema (in some places and presumably for the fight sequences Jing Ao Hsing is credited as a co-director).

DVD Features: An interview featurette with John Waters, Chris Haywood and John McCallum; the original theatrical trailer.

Available from: Umbrella Entertainment




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