DENNIS SCHWARTZ 
IS THERE ANY GOOD 
IN SAYING 
EVERYTHING ABOUT A MOVIE?

 
HUMAN FACTOR, THE (director: Edward Dmytryk; screenwriters: Thomas Hunter/Peter Powell; cinematographer: Ousama Rawi; editor: Alan Strachan; music: Ennio Morricone; cast: George Kennedy (John Kinsdale), John Mills (Mike McAllister), Raf Vallone (Dr. Lupo), Barry Sullivan (Edmonds), Rita Tushingham (Janice), Shane Rimmer (Carter, CIA), Arthur Franz (Gen. Fuller), Tom Hunter (Taylor); Runtime: 96; MPAA Rating: R; producer: Frank Avianca/Lou Peraino; Dark Sky Films; 1975)

 
"A pointless film that valued computers more than it does people."

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

Edward Dmytryk ("Anzio"/The Young Lions"/"The Mountain") directs an exploitation "Eye for an Eye" revenge film of little interest or worth; it plays upon middle-class fears over terrorists and the insecurity they feel from the way the government protects them. The incredulous screenplay by Thomas Hunter and Peter Powell doesn't even bother to paint the terrorists as anything but worthless animals and never even tries to state what's their cause. It follows the same premise to titillate its audience as Charles Bronson's "Death Wish (1974)."

John Kinsdale (George Kennedy) is a devout family man who is a civilian computer specialist for NATO in Naples, Italy. He helps create nuclear war game scenarios for NATO using a supercomputer ominously named "9/11." Returning home from work at night, John is traumatized to find his wife and three kids brutally assassinated by a terrorist group. When not satisfied with the local police response, under the investigation of Dr. Lupo (Raf Vallone), he decides to use his computer skills to track down the killers and eliminate them. John gets computer help from his immediate boss Mike McAllister (John Mills) and his colleague Janice (Rita Tushingham), aware of what he's up to on NATO time, but doesn't rat him out to the big boss General Fuller (Arthur Franz).

Through their superior computer skills John and Mike uncover the terrorist group consisting of a Palestinian professor and a group of disenfranchised middle-class American students who met at Berkeley and became set on killing at random innocent American families in Italy every three days unless the government meets their demands to release all political prisoners. This is something the public is unaware of.

The two hundred and fifty pound Kennedy is like a wounded bull in a China shop, as nothing can prevent him from getting even with the cold-blooded killers of his family. He gets his chance in the last scene, as in a single-handed stint he takes on the heavily armed masked radicals in a crowded NATO PX as they hold a store full of hostages. Aside from some minor pleasures derived at watching Kennedy chug hard at doing his heroics for the cause of the "little guy," it was a pointless film that valued computers more than it does people and never had its weak story line catch up with its set-piece action scenes. I should also add, the action scenes were stiffly done.

REVIEWED ON 2/27/2007        GRADE: C+

Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"

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