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Wild Geese II ***

The death of star Richard Burton before production could begin threw a shadow over producer Euan Lloyd’s sequel to his 1978 film, with Edward Fox stepping into Burton’s shoes as professional mercenary Alex Faulkner, brother of Alan from the original film. The mission is to spring Rudolf Hess (Sir Laurence Olivier) from Spandau prison, with Scott Glenn and Barbara Carerra making up a motley team. That the escape is managed by disguising Hess as an English football supporter, complete with scarf, is only one of the odd incongruities of the film, which has less action than the original, but still manages a few agreeable frissons. Featuring none of the cast from the original film, Wild Geese II doesn’t play well as a sequel, but its murky cold-war politics and distinguished cast make it a beguiling proposition for sensation seekers.

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