Ravagers (1979)

RAVAGERS (1979)
Article 3243 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 5-6-2010
Posting Date: 7-1-2010
Directed by Richard Compton
Featuring Richard Harris, Art Carney, Anthony James
Country: USA
What it is: Post-apocalyptic ennui

It’s after the apocalypse. When his wife dies at the hands of roving hooligans known as ravagers, a loner leaves the city to look for a place called Genesis. However, the ravagers decide to follow him…

Between this and ORCA, it looks like I’m having a Richard Harris week here. In terms of the presence of that star, these movies make an interesting contrast; whereas Harris’s performance was part of the glue that held ORCA together and helped the movie sustain my interest, here his performance is one of the big problems with the movie. He seems to react to everything with a sort of glum puzzlement that is neither compelling nor interesting, and his decision to deliver most of his lines in a hushed whisper becomes really tiresome. It’s almost as if he’s bored by the whole thing, but I wonder if he caught that from the director; Richard Compton shows little interest in the events that he is putting on film here, and I’m particularly puzzled by his inability or refusal to build up suspense in certain scenes that should be full of it. At any rate, the end result is a movie that sits there like a lump of lead; the only time it shows any energy is during the action sequences, and they’re only passable. The movie wastes some of its other star power as well; Ernest Borgnine isn’t given enough screen time to really bring his character to life, and Woody Strode is trapped in a dull role. The biggest saving grace in the movie is Art Carney; his addled sergeant (who mistakes Richard Harris’s character for a long-dead major) is fun and quirky, and he brightens every scene he’s in. Other than that, there’s little of interest here.

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