Action / Crime / Drama / Thriller

Rotten Tomatoes Critics - Rotten 50%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Spilled 47%
IMDb Rating 6.2 10 4895


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March 18, 2016 at 09:30 AM


Helen Hunt as Tracy Calder
Steve Guttenberg as Messenger
Henry Fonda as Simon Davenport
George Segal as Harry Calder
720p.BLU 1080p.BLU
833.51 MB
23.976 fps
1hr 59 min
P/S 0 / 3
1.77 GB
23.976 fps
1hr 59 min
P/S 2 / 3

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by Mark Turner 8 / 10

A Good Thriller Even Without Sensurround

In the seventies a new sound system was developed in the hope of increasing attendance at movies. The system was created for Universal Studios and called Sensurround. The first film using the system was EARTHQUAKE. The system was basically four huge speakers located in the corners of the theater that would blare out lowered bass tones and sound effects at certain sequences in the film causing patrons to actually feel the sound as well as hear it. Only a few films were made this way and the new concept didn't take root. But there were several movies made using it, including Roller-coaster.

An unknown protagonist (Timothy Bottoms) sneaks into an amusement park and rigs a bomb on one of their rollercoasters. Detonating it remotely the resulting wreck kills several of those on the ride at the time. Safety inspector Harry Calder (George Seagal), who had signed off shortly before this incident, is called in to investigate what happened.

When another incident happens across the country Harry believes the two are connected. Discovering there is a meeting of amusement park owners taking place in Chicago he flies there to confront them. They let him know that they've been blackmailed by the bomber who says he will blow up more rollercoasters if they don't pay him $1 million.

Harry connects with the FBI agent in charge of handling the blackmail case, Hoyt (Richard Widmark). Harry carries the ransom money to the park the bomber has next targeted and told to wait for a phone call at a pay phone. The bomber tells him there is a bomb set to go off, tells him where to pick up a two way radio and then sends him back and forth across the park riding various rides. Knowing what the FBI has planned to do he tells Harry to signal the drop has been made but sends him to drop it elsewhere. Afterwards Hoyt tells Harry the money was marked.

The bomber calls Harry at home blaming him for the marked bills. He then tells him he will get revenge. Calder, feeling that the next attack will be launched at him personally, tells Hoyt that the most logical target will be a new coaster opening up at Magic Mountain that he signed off on. The Great American Revolution is set to open that weekend with plenty of fanfare and cameras rolling. Will this be the location? And if so will Harry be able to stop the bomber? The movie plays out as a solid detective story, a thriller that plays out well as the story progresses. The fact that Harry is a ride inspector makes his character that much more interesting as opposed to his being a regular detective. The entire film is much like its title, a movie that moves up and down and offers thrills from start to finish.

Seagal was at his peak at this time and does a great job as Harry. The inclusion of Widmark as the FBI agent works well here too, a reliable face movie fans trusted at the time. Bottoms does a great job as the unhinged bomber. And in a small role as Harry's young daughter is the then unknown Helen Hunt.

Extras on the DVD include the original SENSURROUND soundtrack, an interview with associate producer/writer Tommy Cook, a still gallery, radio spots and the original theatrical trailer.

Reviewed by deathadder-13878 6 / 10

Holds your attention, but don't get too excited.

A young psycho demolitions expert (Timothy Bottoms) threatens to wreak havoc at amusement parks across America until the proper authorities pay him and leave him alone. Pursuing him is a middle-aged safety inspector bureaucrat (George Segal), who's going through various mid-life crises like trying to quite smoking, visitations with his teen daughter (Helen Hunt) following a divorce, starting a new relationship, and so forth. Also along for the ride are various corporate/government/police officials who naturally often clash over how to best catch the bomber.

The movie starts well enough, with Bottoms slickly planting a bomb on a roller coaster in broad daylight, then biding his time until nightfall when he remotely detonates the charge and sends derailed patrons to their doom. The photography and editing generate some good thrills, and the actors, minor and major, do their parts well.

Now, with these kinds of movies, the real key is the interplay between the nominal good guys (the authorities, usually) and the bad guys. As Segal catches on to Bottoms and then has several conversations with him, it's all pretty involving. Bottoms acts very terse and businesslike, conveying the moral and emotional vacuity of a psychopath, while Segal becomes a wry and incisive analyst trying to crack a terrorist whose true motives are nearly as inscrutable as his emotions. The police think Segal a cocky amateur, but he turns out to be the better judge of criminal character.

Less interesting is the bickering between aging law enforcement leader Richard Widmark and Segal. Widmark seems like a stodgy bully, outside of a few begrudging compliments to Segal. Perhaps the film-makers felt that since the psycho was in his late 20's it made it necessary to caricature the oldest character into a gruff scold, the better to pander to 70's Boomers..

Segal deduces the location of the next attack, and we're left in suspense about several things. Is there a bomb? Where is it? Will they find it? Will they disarm it, before it's too late? Will they catch the perp? This isn't really a disaster movie, as it lacks the scope or spectacle. Had they wanted to, they could've upped these things with more bombings. Overall, though, the emphasis is on character interaction more than well, action. Since Segal and Bottoms make for an effective fire and ice pairing, that was the right choice to make.

Why not a better rating? The movie definitely drags at times; there really isn't enough scale or plot or character depth to justify the running time. The movie wasn't a big hit, and that's probably because the marketing made it seem more epic than it is. And while the acting is good enough, only Segal and Bottoms really give something for the viewer to latch on to. A very young Helen Hunt has some presence, but her character is thankless, as are the women in Segal's life; would Dirty Harry be a better movie if the movie told us about his family? The conclusion has some things worth noting. Craig Wasson appears as an amiable "hippie boy" (that's his credit), and though he only gets about a half-dozen lines, his talent still shines through. A quasi New Wave/punk band named Sparks plays at Magic Mountain, and while their music isn't that hummable, it does have a pretty wild energy for it's time, and one particularly tensely rhythmic song bridge is used to convey the anxiety of the bomb defusing scene.

Reviewed by David Harrison 9 / 10

A great thriller

I first saw this aged 13 in 1977 in my local cinema & was blown away by the whole thing including the Sensurround effects. Timothy Bottoms' character still creeps me out a bit and I love George Segal's relaxed but determined approach to get the bomber. Great script, a Hitchcock soundtrack & it has Sparks belting out Big Boys...a single gem to treasure in these days of ad-nauseam action franchises!

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