Saturday, June 29, 2013

WORLD WAR III (1982)

Tensions between Russia and America are rising thanks to a grain embargo.  And because of the food shortage in Russia, things are getting out of control, so out of control in fact that a group of KGB led soldiers are airdropped into the remote Alaskan wilderness with the intention of taking over a oil pipeline pumping station.  Unfortunately there's a group of National Groundsmen training in the area so the Russians kill them.  So now, thanks to a massive weather front that's holding back reinforcements, the only thing between the Russians and the pumping station is a second group of poorly armed National Guardsmen lead by that guy from SALEM'S LOT.  At the same time, the President has imposed a media blackout and is in talks with the Russian President, but things are not going well.

WORLD WAR III was broadcast as a two-night miniseries back in January 1982, but other than that I really can't find any information about it.  Was it well received by critics?  Did a lot of people watch it?  I have no idea, but I enjoyed it a lot.  As I mentioned the story is divided into to parts: the leaders trying to come to a diplomatic solution and the troops on the ground fighting it out.  The American president (played wonderfully by Rock Hudson) is predictably portrayed as a sensitive man with a heart of gold who just wants peace damn it.  And the Russian leadership was of course selfish and quick to kill people in order to get what they want.  All of that is to be expected, but still the negotiations between the two are tense.  On the soldier side you have David Soul as a war-hardened vet rallying his troops in an almost Alamo-like stand against a enemy force that not only outnumbers them but is also better trained and better armed.  I found it very exciting.

Of course since this was a made for network television movie back in the early 80's the violence is pretty tame, but still I found the whole thing to be well written and the pacing to really good.  It definitely didn't seem like it was 183 minutes long.  I'd gladly watch it again, but then again I think I'm just a sucker for 70's/80's TV movies.  Would make a perfect double-feature with THREADS.