The Maltese just wanna have fun
Malta Force (2010)
Duration: 100 minutes
Directed by: Alan Cassar
Starring: Joe Demicoli, Moira Delia, Eric Grech, Audrey Harrison, Renato, Hector Bruno, Xandru Grech, Gianni Zammit, Carlos Farrugia.
Film in Maltese language
Reviewing two Maltese productions in the space of two weeks is possibly a first since I have been doing reviews. Besides, Malta Force is the first Maltese sequel ever, at least to my knowledge. Last year’s Maltageddon was a huge hit with the public, especially those out to have a good time, and Malta Force continues in the same tradition.
Alan Cassar has directed what seems to be the local equivalent of the Italian cinepanettone. The result is rude and naughty; it shoots jokes like a machine gun on acid, has a menagerie of local stars and is made on a low budget. Without any pretensions at all, Malta Force goes hog-all to entertain, and if the film is guilty of anything it is that the production simply puts too much into the film.
The film kicks off with the abduction of Eurovision hopeful Glen Vella by Dr Middle Finger (Eric Grech) and his cronies. The elite team of super-soldiers, spies, snipers, sex bombs and suave agents that make up Malta Force is soon on the case. The team is led by super-soldier Joe Bambo (Joe Demicoli) and includes Agent Puss (Moira Delia), the cool Agent Spike (Xandru Grech), the Kiss fan Johnny Kiss (Gianni Zammit), the Spanish sprouting Daga (Carlos Farrugia), the tank-like Panzer (Ludwig Farrugia), the slow Agent Brian (Bryn Manning), the cold Eva (Audrey Harrison) and the talkative Hot Chocolate (Trevor Mizzi), among others.
After the initial battle which leaves the Malta Force unit depleted and scarred, Dr Middle Finger strikes again. This time around, his cronies hijack an aeroplane carrying the Malta Eurovision representative – Renato playing himself and the writer of the song, Hector Bruno, as an Andrew Lloyd Weber rip-off. The plane and its passengers are rerouted to the dictatorship country of Tamonzolia. It’s up to Malta Force to rescue the hostages and save the day.
That Alan Casssar is a film fan is evident in the film as a whole. Made on a very low budget, the film is an improvement on last year’s effort in terms of special effects, locations, fight choreo-graphy and overall style.
Mr Cassar’s main fault is that he tries to cram too much into his film, and he is obviously aware of the sequel syndrome as he directs the film as if it were his first one, adding the same ingredients but multiplying them as much as possible. As it stands, Malta Force is about 10 minutes too long, and the segment just before the intermission – when our heroes jump into Tamonzolia – is simply too long for its own good.
Having said this, I firmly believe that the Austin Powers-style film will find an audience who will appreciate it. Made up of one joke after another, with some missing the mark, others simply idiotic and others rude and crude, the film prefers to hit its audience below the belt and be as subtle as a ton of bricks. The film is a send-up of the likes of Rambo, James Bond movies and Delta Force. It wears its influences proudly and flaunts its rude attitude with bravado.
The mistake here is that too many characters are inserted and not all are given the right amount of screen time. The likes of Gianni Zammit and Bryn Manning needed more screen time, while Trevor Mizzi steals the spotlight from anyone sharing screen space with him.
Joe Demicoli is fun and Norman Hamilton in a cameo is quite a hit. Meanwhile, Eric Grech starts off quite well as Dr Middle Finger but is then lost in endless screaming tirades.
The script itself could have been given a bit more attention as the Eurovision parody could have been made better use of. A final fight between Audrey Harrison and Moira Delia is very well choreographed and well executed, and looks really good on the big screen.
Malta Force will make for quite a lively piece of Friday-night style of entertainment.