It's bewildering to think what the object of the makers of "Force 10 from Navarone" was in naming it after a place remote from the movie's setting, and then promoting the film as "not a sequel" to a popular film of 17 years ago, "The Guns of Navarone."
Sequels may have a bad reputation after such disasters as "Jaws 2," but the way to avoid that would have been to use a fresh title. If the point is pick up on the former film's success, why seem to deny the relationship? One can obly assume that there is an attempt here to be deliberately misleading, so as to appeal both to those who remember the earlier film and those who demand something entirely fresh.
This chicanery is contemptuous of the public's vocabulary, because those who are saying it is not a "sequel" describe it as "a continuation of the adventures of the two main characters" of "The Guns of Navarone."
In plain words, such as might have to meet a government regulation for truth-in-packaging, here are the ingredients of this sequel:
Characters with the same names and general characteristics of the heroes of "The Guns of Navarone": Mallory, a rather relaxed daredevil, and Miller, a cool demolitions expert; still a good contrast.
A new pair of lead actors: the late Robert Shaw and Edward Fox, in place of Gregory Peck and David Niven; both appealing, but not with the same riveting force as the earlier stars.
The presumption that the characters are older and more worn-out than they were earlier in World War II, one detail of which is that the British are responsible for parachuting a badly lame middle-aged man into difficult territory.
A different landscape: instead of Navarone and passionate Greeks, there is Yugoslavia with passionate Partisans, none of whom is Anthony Quinn.
A similar plot, involving blowing up a bridge, rather than stopping artillery, with just a touch of "For Whom the Bell Tolls" added.
Additional characters: Harrison Ford of "Star Wars" as a nondescript American officer; Carl Weaver as a black soldier inexplicably stowing away on a secret mission, with a 1970s cynicism that later turns to equally misplaced cheerleading; Barbara Bach as a guerrilla who also manages to appear naked.
In sum, "Force 10 From Navarone" is a good average adventure film; simply not the first-rate one that its predecessor was. FORCE 10 FROM NAVARONE - AMC Academy, Fairfax Circle, Lincoln and White Flint.