THE ISLAND -- AMC Skyline, Dale Cinema, Embassy, Jerry Lewis, K-B Baronet West, Riverdale Plaza, Roth's Tysons, Springfield Mall, White Flint.
"The Island" is a movie about boats disappearing mysteriously at sea, but it's a waste of a certified Grade A horror landmark: The Bermuda Triangle's potential is so unrealized here that you almost wish it were a soap -- Sam and Janet Triangle and Janet's lover, Fred.
The pirate-villains in "The Island" speak an unconvincing semblance of Elizabethan English because, as one of their allies explains, they are living relics of the 17th century. Amidst the gibberish, one of them remarks that a leader "can have no sorry, no shame."
Well, I hope that the same immunity is with Michael Ritchie -- whose direction embraces the goriness of horror films while letting the horror escape like a mis-aimed bladder of red dye -- and Peter Benchley, who wrote the screenplay from his novel.
One would even like to ask Michael Caine, who plays the lead, whether he felt any sorry or shame -- except that Caine operates for so great a part of the film without his clearly needed eyeglasses and yet maneuvers so well through so many tight places that it seems a pity to tax him further.
It should be added that although Caine can observe his enemy at several hundred yards and do other wondrous things with his poor eyes, it is another of his organs that keeps him alive for the better part of the movie.
Caine is captured by the pirates, but they prize him as what they quaintly call "a thruster." He evidently thrusts well enough (the thrusting is all off-camera) to keep his bad-guy captors and his bad/good girl thrustee happy even as "The Island" is going limp.
With saltwater as his constant element, Benchley has given us three big shows -- "Jaws," "The Deep" and "The Island." The sequence might more aptly be "Jaws," "The Deep" and "The Lower Depths."