It’s exciting to see Shyamalan on such confident footing once more, all these years later.
Near the beginning of "Force Ten from Navarone," we're treated to selected footage from the original 1961 production. The German soldiers flee once more in panic, the explosives detonate yet once again, the great guns topple, the rock cliffs split open. If you're a fan of the original "Navarone," study these moments intently; they're the only connection between this movie and its namesake.
So why call the movie "Force Ten from Navarone?" Maybe because the word "Navarone" inspires a knee-jerk response; the first movie was great, so maybe this one will be, too. Or maybe because Alistair MacLean, author of the original "Guns of Navarone," wrote this sequel. It hardly matters. The 1961 movie had wit and style and excitement. This one is a weary rehash of old action movie clichés, not even redeemed by such stalwarts as Robert Shaw and Edward Fox.
Just to set things straight: "Force Ten from Navarone" has none of the same characters as "Guns of Navarone," has nothing to do with guns and does not involve an assault on an island. It does, however, end with a gigantic cataclysm caused by sabotage.
The sabotage is aimed at a key bridge in Yugoslavia, and an enormous dam a few miles upstream. The war effort apparently hinges on whether the bridge, behind enemy lines, can be destroyed. And so a commando force led by Shaw is dropped behind the lines, finds the bridge heavily guarded, and decides to blow up the dam so that the bridge (and the valley) will be swept away.