BULLSEYE! (1990)

PrintE-mail Written by Ian White

Oh dear. On the disc’s sole and lonely-looking extra feature, Sir Roger Moore – charming and self-deprecating as always – hopes we enjoy the film and, if we don’t, please don’t tell anybody.

Which makes us feel bad, because we really like Roger Moore and we hate the idea of upsetting him so Sir Roger, if you’re reading, you’d better stop reading now.

Has he gone? Good.

Bullseye! is the most appalling tosh we have seen in a very long time.

It’s a supposed comedy about two con-men (Roger Moore and Michael Caine) who discover they are the spitting images of two shifty nuclear scientists who have just discovered how to solve the world’s energy crisis. Together with their ex-partner in crime (Sally Kirkland) they set about stealing the formula for themselves but their plan backfires. Suddenly they’re working undercover for British Intelligence, trying to stop the scientists from auctioning their invention off to dangerous foreign powers. There’s a lot of running around, unfunny one-liners, deeply unfunny slapstick, and everybody involved looks suitably embarrassed. And they should be. We’re embarrassed and we only watched it. In fact, as soon as this review’s over I’m going to sit on the naughty step and stay there for a fortnight, and then we’re going to check ourselves into a clinic for post-traumatic stress disorder because if a film could ever be so bad it would give the viewer PTSD, this film is it.

But it’s our own fault. You see, this is a Michael Winner film, so we really should have known what we were getting involved with. And Winner co-wrote the (and I’m using this word in the loosest terms) ‘screenplay’ as well, along with Laurence Marks and Maurice Gran (two of TV comedy’s most inexplicably successful scriptwriters – true, they wrote The New Statesman but they’re also responsible for the risible Birds of a Feather) and Leslie Bricusse, who had enjoyed a pretty impressive career as a songwriter and even wrote the lyrics for a couple of really good James Bond themes, so when he agreed to co-write this he must have been on some hugely strong medication, quite possibly with a gun at his head.

As usual, Winner took his crew to good-looking locations (including a scene set on a beach in Barbados that probably doesn’t even last five minutes) but somehow everything he pointed his camera at still looks dull and badly photographed (which is quite an impressive trick, when you think about it.) There are loads of shameless cameos too, including Jenny Seagrove (Winner’s then-girlfriend… what information did he have on her that she agreed to that relationship?) playing two blink-and-you’ll-miss-them characters, John Cleese (obviously enjoying a free trip to Barbados) and Doctor Who’s own Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart, Nicholas Courtney, who’s in there somewhere but we’re embarrassed to say we missed him and no, we’re not going back for a second look.

As for the DVD, this is also one of the worst presentations I’ve ever seen. The picture is flat, lifeless and fuzzy with the colour washed out. In fact, we’ve got thirty-year-old VHS tapes that look better than this. But the sound is good, which means you’ll hear all the hackneyed gags you won’t be laughing at with crystal clear clarity.

There is no other word to sum this fiasco up other than - Avoid. And the two marks are for Sir Roger’s special feature (which isn’t a double-entendre but if it was it would still be funnier than the film. Honest).

BULLSEYE! / CERT: 12 / DIRECTOR: MICHAEL WINNER / SCREENPLAY: LESLIE BRICUSSE, LAURENCE MARKS, MAURICE GRAN / STARRING: ROGER MOORE, MICHAEL CAINE, SALLY KIRKLAND, DEBORAH MOORE / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW

 


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