The Video Vacuum (thevideovacuum) wrote,
The Video Vacuum

CABOBLANCO (1980) **

Giff (Charles Bronson) is an American expatriate with a shady past who owns a nightclub on the titular beach in Peru.  One night, a beautiful French girl (Dominique Sanda) waltzes into his place looking for her former flame who just happens to be a spy.  Of course Giff gets involved with her plight and together the duo end up matching wits with a former Nazi (Jason Robards) who is looking for a fortune in gold sunken somewhere off the shoreline.


This is a muddled rehashing of Casablanca, but since Charlie B. is in the lead, I’d figure I’d give it half a chance.  I mean Casablanca is one of those movies that supposed to be so great and everything but is actually kinda so-so.  I thought if Bronson was in the lead instead of Bogart, they coulda had something there.  I was wrong.  Even though the original is much better, Caboblanco isn’t exactly terrible or anything.


The movie gets off to an extremely lackluster start with everyone being all vague and shit about their intentions and allegiances.  Once they cut through all that malarkey and Bronson gets to go into mini-Death Wish mode, things perk up a little bit.  What sinks the movie is that more screen time is spent on the inconsequential supporting cast and not enough on Bronson kicking ass.


This was sort of a change of pace for Bronson and I really liked him in this one.  He gave a mannered performance and really seemed to give it his best shot here.  Robards was decent as the slimy Nazi villain and I got a kick out of seeing Jaws 3-D’s Simon MacCorkindale as the smug British spy.  The weak link in all of this was Sanda.  While she looked great (and had an uncanny resemblance to Ingrid Bergman to boot) every time she opened her mouth it was like nails on a chalkboard. 


Unlike most collaborations between Bronson and director J. Lee Thompson (they did a whopping NINE movies together), Caboblanco is a bit underwhelming.   It’s long on chit-chat and short on bang-bang.  Even though Thompson allowed the climax to just kinda fizzle out, I did like the way Robard’s henchman bit the dust when the sword went through his eyeball.  And say what you will about Thompson’s plodding pacing; the man knows how to cram enough random scenes of nude beach bunnies into a movie to at least keep you interested.


Bronson wasn’t given a lot of good tough guy dialogue, so I’ll have to nominate “Your soul went right into the toilet!” as his best line in this one.

Tags: bronson, c, drama
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