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What a long, confused, confusing, and ugly movie The Adventurers is. Based on what I can only assume is the equally obvious & rambling source material by Harold Robbins, this movie takes a solid three hours to tell a story that could have (easily) been disseminated in about thirty minutes.
The setting is the fictional South American country of Corteguay, which is where we sloooowly get to know (and dislike) a guy called Dax. As a child Dax watched his mother get raped and killed by vicious rebels, and he spends the next 30-some years plotting some sort of amorphous revenge -- when he's not sleeping with every single woman he sees. Ernest Borgnine pops up every 25 minutes and he looks a little bit older each time, which is a rather silly way for a filmmaker to illustrate the passage of time, but The Adventurers is an overwhelmingly silly movie.
Packed full of rapes, murders, and huge, screaming battles, The Adventurers (and director Lewis Gilbert) achieves the amazing by making all this material so astonishingly boring ... and I believe I already mentioned the three-hour running time. Those of you presently on life-support machines should take note: The Adventurers makes three hours feel like three days, so you might want to pick a copy up for just that reason.
Unintentional camp comedy is the only other discernible reason to own The Adventurers, and this flick's got camp in spades. Case in point: A scene in which Dax's pregnant young bride (as played by Candice Bergen) forces him to push her on a swing "higher! higher!" She promptly falls off the swing, which causes a miscarriage, and Dax promptly dumps her like a case of beans. And this is the hero character we're asked to spend three hours with.
Forgotten by most, but remembered by those who care as one of the true trash classics of the 1970's, The Adventurers might be improved if you snipped a good 95 minutes from the running time, and the sad thing is: They could be 95 random minutes, and the movie would still make the same amount of sense.
Video: Paramount delivers a Widescreen anamorphic transfer, and the picture quality is pretty solid. The only flaws you'll notice come from the grainy old source print -- and let's just say a movie like this isn't exactly due for a full-bore restoration any time in the next 100 years.
Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1 or 2.0. The explosions are loud and the dialogue crisply insipid. Optional subtitles are available in English ... and you'll need 'em.
Precisely the sort of pulpy, trashy junk that Harold Robbins was famous for, The Adventurers spends a whole lot of time telling you very little that's new, exciting, unique, or not coated with spittle. Aside from Mr. Borgnine's hilariously out-of-place presence, there's just nothing here that'll stick in your memory for more than an hour, which kind of sucks since the movie runs a full three.