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  • Colin Fraser


TWO AND A HALF STARS Before he was a Hollywood heart-throb, Errol Flynn was already an action hero.

Thomas Coquerel, David Wenham


Before there was Errol Flynn the Hollywood heartthrob, there was Errol Flynn the adventurer who had his eyes on a prize of gold he planned to take from New Guinea. True story! Or at least it is according to the Tasmanian’s self-aggrandising, somewhat autobiographical novel. Besides, any account of the legendary Flynn is stepped in a certain view of reality.

And so it is with Russell Mulchay’s adaptation of Flynn’s story - part truth, part old-school matinee and part action-adventure with a whole lot of swash-buckling deering-do to stick it altogether. Despite a critically chequered past, the director of HIGHLANDER and TV’s TEEN WOLF knows how to move a camera yet your enthusiasm for these goings-on will be determined by your enthusiasm for boys-own entertainment and a tolerance for lo-fi production.

Not that there’s anything exactly wrong with Mulchay’s lively presentation nor the abundant energy of his cast, however it does lack the gloss of the Hollywood standards to which it aspires (think Indiana Jones for the opener, any sea-set tales from the 1940’s for much of the rest). It doesn't help that lumpy editing, a choppy narrative and awkward gappy plotting leads to more head-scratches than it ought.

Nonetheless, the square jaw of eye-catching Thomas Coquerel (RED DOG) keep things moving, VIKINGS’ Clive Standen channels JAWS’ Robert Shaw to bring some pathos as the troubled boat-owner while David Wenham twirls an outrageous moustache as Townsville’s mayor and cartoon villain. While that might work for some (notably Coquerel’s agent), it’s not enough to simply emulate B movie status in the hope of creating an A movie hit.

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