Against All Odds – The Island (1980)

The Island is an oddball sort of film, one that is classified as both action, adventure and horror and yet while there is quite a bit of the former two, there is not so much of the latter – that being the things which make a scary movie. Written by Peter Benchley and adapted from his book of the same name and directed by Michael Ritchie, the film is enjoyable and quite interesting due to the premise but there is nothing really scary here other than the fact that the men and women on this island have extremely bad hygiene.

Michael Caine stars as Blair Maynard, a reporter who gets attacked by some pirates near the Bermuda Triangle with his son, kidnapped and then forced to undergo a little bit of degradation throughout the entire affair. The movie manages to hold one’s interest but that is mainly due to the fact that seeing how it all ends is a must because there does not seem to be any way out of this predicament. Starring opposite Caine is David Warner as the leader of these so-called pirates and a man who could have put just a little more into his performance as he simply seemed bored for the most part. There is of course a little back and forth between the two during the picture as Maynard tries to escape on numerous occasions but as he is needed to sire some offspring thanks to the pirates being so inbred, they cannot as of yet just kill him. Eventually, it all comes down to the two aforementioned men after a very bloody slaughter and one of them walks away into the sunset.

If there is horror present, a lot of it is implied – the raping of women, the kidnapping and brainwashing of children, the multitudes of people killed over decades past, possibly going back hundreds of years and so forth and yes, the idea that all of this went on for qutie some time is quite frightening and more than a little disturbing. There is the killing that is witnessed on-screen and aside from a couple of gory shots when the movie first begins, it never really goes back to that. One can easily say this was a wasted opportunity to make the film truly scary but as it stands, it was a good action-adventure romp, just not a something one would watch in the dark on a Halloween night.

With talent in front of and behind the camera including Caine, Warner and more, the movie was not lacking in that department and it did ultimately entertain but it also felt slightly tame in certain aspects where Benchley could have perhaps expanded upon what went on in his book or where Ritchie could have made it a little more violent and bloody. The Island ends up not being a must-see but as a curiosity, it is worth a glance.

3 out of 5

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