Scorpion Releasing // 1978 // 102 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // March 12th, 2010
Their objective: the steal a nation! Their only obstacle: each other!
Watch in awe as a group of well-known actors participate in a political conspiracy thriller about a government overthrow and go out of their way not mention the country by name! The point men working the revolution are Colonel Narriman (David Hemmings) and Dr. Rousseau (Barry Morse) and they're desperate for tanks.
That's right! Tanks! 90% of this movie is about dudes in military uniforms gathered in a dark room talking about how much they want to score some sweet tanks. Tanks are the key to a decent coup and that's what Power Play is about: the machinations powerful men in an unknown fictional Eastern bloc (I guess) country craft to kick out the old government.
Working against them is a ruthless government agent (Donald Pleasance), who will stop at nothing to unearth the conspiracy and that, of course, includes torturing topless women strapped to metal tables. The race is on, as the power players hustle to score their Number One Top Tank Commander Draft Prospect and get their revolution on before the conspiracy collapses on itself. Besides, they've already schedule an appearance on the Dick Cavett Show, so, you know, time's-a-wasting.
Scorpion's latest excavated thriller from the days when the verb "to thrill" apparently meant something a whole lot different commits another lamentable marketing sin. As was the case for The Last Grenade, the disc case cover art is considerably more exciting and bad-ass than the film housed within.
While I will acknowledge Power Play deftly outlines the particulars of what it takes to overthrow a small government, and the stellar cast does their part to sell the intricacies and political maneuvering, the action quotient is sadly slim.
For about ten minutes at the tail end we get some standard-issue warmongering, capped by a neato exploding plane. But there's an awful lot of plotting and talking you'll have to endure to get to that point.
Power Play doesn't fully crater, but I highly doubt it will blow your doors off. If the prospect of watching a How-To Guide on violent regime change appeals to you (or if you want to go chattier than what Valkyrie offered), there's value to be had in director Martyn Burke's well-staged war drama.
Scorpion blasts out another solid release; giving the film a clean, attractive, new 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer; accompanied by its original mono audio track. Extras are commentary from Burke and interviews with Burke and actor George Touliatos.
Are coups really this boring? Enjoy the court-martial.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Scorpion Releasing
* 1.85:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 1.0 Mono (English)
Running Time: 102 Minutes
Release Year: 1978
MPAA Rating: Not Rated