American International gets a budget and some big stars. This is what happened. Sean Connery phones it in, Karl Malden and Martin Landau get to overact and yell at each other a lot, Brian Keith speaks only Russian and his interpreter Tatiana is Natalie Wood. Once again, Henry Fonda gets to play the President. It goes for a blockbuster last half hour but the first hour and fifteen minutes or so are a challenge to stay awake.
A comet does a bank shot off an asteroid. A big chunk breaks off and it’s headed our way in six days. It’s five miles wide. NASA’s Harry Sherwood (Karl Malden) calls in Paul Bradley (Sean Connery) who left five years ago. He designed an orbiting defense system named Hercules. It’s nuclear warheads were supposed to be pointed towards space for just such an emergency. Too bad they’re pointed towards Earth. That’s why Bradley quit.
General Adlon (Martin Landau) goes ballistic when he hears we’ll need Russian cooperation. The Russians have a defense system called Peter The Great. Their missiles are also pointed the wrong way.
In the spirit of cooperation due to the threat Russia sends over Dr.Dubov (Brian Keith) and his interpreter Tatiana (Natalie Wood). (They’re Russian accents are..well…what you’d expect).
To spice things up a splinter slams into a remote area of Siberia. Then a cluster burns up. No harm done from them. British scientist Sir Michael Hughes (Trevor Howard) calls Bradley with the good news. Bradley and company are in a sub basement of the A.T. & T. building in New York. Just so happens that’s the control center for Hercules. With the Russians there this gives a another chance for Aldon and Sherwood to do some more vein popping yelling at each other.
Looks like Sir Michael spoke too soon as a splinter slams into a Swiss ski resort. Look for Sybil Danning as a skier. This give special effects the opportunity to try for some avalanche footage. It also allows some extras to run around a lot…including Sybil.
But wait….there’s more. A tidal wave is headed towards Hong Kong. Now special effects gets to play with water and another load of extras get to run around.
By now the big finish is underway but it’s too little too late despite some merits. If you spot this movie heading your way, take a tip from the extras…..run.