The wealthy playboy son of an assassinated South American diplomat discovers that his father was murdered on orders of the corrupt president of the country- a man who was his father's friend and who, in fact, his father had helped put into power. He returns from living a jet-set life in Europe to lead a revolution against the government, only to find out that things aren't quite as black and white as he'd assumed.
Odd blending of Hollywoodized soap opera and Sam Peckinpah-ish nihilistic slaughter RELEASED IN 1970 and directed by Lewis Gilbert, "The Adventurers" chronicles the life of Dax Xenos (Bekim Fehmiu) who, as a little boy in 1945, witnesses the violent deaths of his mother & sister during a revolution in the fictional South American country Corteguay. Much later, as an ambassador’s son in Rome, he’s an emotionally cold playboy who marries solely for wealth (Candice Bergen), but he’s haunted by Corteguay and maintains relations with the dubious dictator (Alan Badel). Ernest Borgnine plays Dax’ spiritual guardian, Fat Cat. The movie’s based on Harold Robbins’ book of the same title, which was loosely based on the real-life Porfirio Rubirosa, an oft-married wealthy playboy, diplomat and polo player who had a relationship with the dictator of the Dominican Republic, Rafael Trujillo. “The Adventurers” is a curious amalgamation of Hollywood soap opera (e.g. 1967’s “Valley of the Dolls”) and Italo-Western-like slaughter with a Euro-robot as the leading man. The movie vacillates between starving children in South America, disco-a-go-go fashion shows in Rome or New York, machine-gun massacres, hedonistic sex romps and the disingenuous courting of rich women. It’s basically a wannabe "Doctor Zhivago" (1965), but lacking that iconic picture’s surreal and compelling artistry. The spectacularly engineered battle sequences were created by the James Bond stunt-genius Bob Simmons, featuring hundreds of real men (played by actual Columbian militants), real tanks, real trains and real planes, all getting blown to pieces before your very eyes with absolutely no CGI. The above reveals many points of interest, but I was well into the second half of the almost-3-hour flick when I realized that none of the characters interested me, particularly the protagonist. I’m not sure if the problem was the script, the story or the actor (Fehmiu), but the drama came across consistently flat. Another problem is the women. While there are several notables besides Bergen (Olivia de Havilland, Leigh Taylor-Young, Delia Boccardo, Jaclyn Smith, etc.) the camera either never captures their beauty or they’re too anorexic to fascinate in the first place. On the positive side, the action-packed conclusion is gripping and the message is timeless: Meet the new boss, same as the old boss. THE FILM RUNS 2 hours, 57 minutes and was shot in Colombia (Cartagena & Bogota), Puerto Rico, Italy (Rome & Venice) and New York City. GRADE: C