A frustratingly not-terrible action thriller.
As possibly the only film critic in the country right now who has ever toured a real South African diamond mine, I went to "Killer Force" with a certain anticipation. I'd been disappointed by the details in a couple of earlier movies about diamond thefts - the James Bond thriller "Diamonds Are Forever" and a weak entry with Roger Moore titled "Diamonds" - and I thought perhaps this time they'd get it right.
They haven't, though, and that's a shame, because a really good heist movie could be made about a raid on a diamond mine. The De Beers folks - the people whose ads assure us a diamond is forever - certainly behave as if that's the case. The mines are surrounded by compounds as secure as any maximum-security prison. The African miners are recruited for periods of several months to a year and kept inside the compounds the whole time; when they leave, they go through such a complex security process even their excrement is X-rayed.
An ambitious heist movie would really go to town with a challenge like that. There'd be all sorts of split-second timing and clever deceptions and neat little devices for neutralizing alarm systems. Good heist movies are essentially cerebral exercises, in which the challenge is set up in the first hour or so, and then the meticulous details of the raid take over (remember "Topkapi"?) With "Killer Force," though, what we get is a routine action picture that spends all sorts of time showing people machine-gunning each other but insults our intelligence with details of the raid itself.
Consider. The compound is said to be surrounded by a pressure-sensitive strip. The strip is five feet wide. So Peter Fonda, who knows where it is, leads the raiding party through the sands of the Kalahari and then they simply jump over the strip. Maybe it could have been wider?
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