In Memoriam 1942 – 2013 “Roger Ebert loved movies.”

RogerEbert.com

Thumb_american_sniper

American Sniper

American Sniper proves the dictum “never count an auteur out” by proving itself as Eastwood’s strongest directorial effort since 2009's underrated Invictus pretty much right…

Thumb_large_20ut2u5dmgl6szdu0adaq8u5zoc

The Interview

Opportunities at rich satire flatten out into Hangover dude-dope-doodoo jokes, where the premise is that there’s nothing funnier than watching over-privileged grown men act out…

Other Reviews
Review Archives
Thumb_xbepftvyieurxopaxyzgtgtkwgw

Ballad of Narayama

"The Ballad of Narayama" is a Japanese film of great beauty and elegant artifice, telling a story of startling cruelty. What a space it opens…

Thumb_jrluxpegcv11ostmz1fqha1bkxq

Monsieur Hire

Patrice Leconte's "Monsieur Hire" is a tragedy about loneliness and erotomania, told about two solitary people who have nothing else in common. It involves a…

Other Reviews
Great Movie Archives
Other Articles
Channel Archives

Reviews

Scorpio

  |  

Burt Lancaster is a spy who wants out, but you can’t get out just by wanting out, I guess, and so the CIA orders him executed. Alain Delon plays a French trigger-man that gets the assignment. Only trouble is Lancaster has taught Delon everything he knows, so the hit is going to be a little tricky. Especially in a labyrinthine network of international double agents and double crosses.

That’s the premise of “Scorpio,” the new movie by the British specialist in complicated violence, Michael Winner. The story is awfully involved this time, but the central human relationship - between Lancaster and Delon - is curiously similar to the situation in Winner’s last movie, “The Mechanic.”

In that one, Charles Bronson played a professional Mafia assassin and Jan-Michael Vincent played his young apprentice. Then the mob ordered Bronson assassinated, and Vincent got the job. Does it seem to you that Winner is repeating himself? Especially since both movies have double-reverse twists at the end, involving especially complex vengeance?

Well, with a Winner film, it doesn’t matter much what the story is, anyway. The plot is a peg to hang the action on, and there is a lot of action in “Scorpio.” Maybe too much. Unless a movie is “The French Connection” or “Bullitt,” 10 minutes may be enough for a chase scene. This one has a chase that lasts almost forever (although it does end on a nice inconclusive note, which is a change).

Unlike most action-and-violence movies, “Scorpio” is best when the characters are merely talking. That may have something to do with the screenplay by David Rintels and Gerald Wilson, who have a lot of fairly cynical thoughts about spying in general and the CIA in particular. When Lancaster, on the run from Delon, turns up in Vienna for a drinking bout with his old friend the Russian super-spy (Paul Scofield) their weary mutual assessment of the situation develops into a really good scene.

But the movie dissipates itself by trying to include too much: Too many characters, too many situations, finally too many twists. When you wind a plot up as tightly as this one, it runs along nicely for awhile, but then the last half-hour has to be spent simply resolving everything.

Popular Blog Posts

Who do you read? Good Roger, or Bad Roger?

This message came to me from a reader named Peter Svensland. He and a fr...

Dear Angelina: Thoughts on "Cleopatra"

A letter to Angelina Jolie about the casting of her upcoming take on "Cleopatra."

Roger Moore's Best: "The Spy Who Loved Me"

An FFC comments on Roger Moore's best James Bond film, "The Spy Who Loved Me."

The Ten Best TV Programs of 2014

The best television programs of 2014.

Reveal Comments
comments powered by Disqus