Sam Neill Update: Rebel, Soldier, Godfather

What an exciting week for my Sam Neill project, you guys!! I got to watch the oldest Sam Neill movie I probably ever will! Steven watched something with me and didn’t complain! Sam Neill himself totally commented on my blog!! Okay, so mysterious commenter who has also seen a suspicious amount of Sam Neill movies claims to be a a woman from Bangkok, but that’s just what you would say, Sam, so I’m still putting it down as a “Maybe”.

Sleeping Dogs (1977)

I was going to show you the poster but got distracted googling "Sleeping Dogs"

The Movie: Smith has just gotten divorced and decides to go live on a New Zealand island with his emoness. Except the island is being used as a secret hiding place for guerrilla weapons caches, so he ends up getting arrested. Luckily he’s able to escape by vomiting and then jumping out of a moving car! Then he’s on the run for awhile, trying to live a peaceful life as a motel handyman except that he’s become some kind of symbol to the rebels, so they seek him out. His ex-wife turns out to secretly be a guerrilla fighter, and there’s some chase scenes, some shootings, and eventually everyone dies. Like all movies from the 70s, its tragedy was offset by the ridicness of everyone’s hair.

I kid, Sam Neill, you look great

The Character: Sam Neill is Smith, the main character and pacifist, who just wants to live the quiet life with his dog, and some blonde girl, and the hand turkey his kid made him. Unfortunately, now that he’s been set up by the rebels that’s impossible, and he’s pretty much forced to become one of them. In the end, he drags his wounded rebel frenemy all the way through the jungle only to be surrounded by the right-wing military at the last second and shot after giving the prerequisite “Whatever, I don’t even CARE anymore” speech and jaunty saunter away.

What I Learned: 1970s New Zealand still relied heavily on the barter system. Sam Neill is totally able to swap his car for a boat, and they even throw in a cool dog! That’s a trade I would take! Also, the fate of said dog remains inconclusive. I worried about it for the entire second half.

Would I watch again?: I can only take so much 70s hair and angsting, Sam. Even for you.

Attack Force Z (1982)

I was really disappointed to learn that the “Z” doesn’t stand for “zombie”.

But the hats certainly didn't disappoint

The Movie: Confession: I find war movies really boring. Apart from Sam Neill, I had a really hard time telling the other soldiers in Attack Force Z apart, even though one of them is a young Mel Gibson. They were all Australian army guys in khakis with extremely badass shooting skillz infiltrating some Pacific island jungle to rescue the survivors of a plane crash in Japanese-occupied territory. They get some help from a local resistance leader, who is possibly even more badass than they are, and of course one of them falls in love with the resistance leader’s hot daughter, and SURPRISE! the survivors include a Japanese man who will somehow help end WWII! Everyone freaks out about helping a Japanese guy, and eventually Mel Gibson (I think?) convinces the local people to help them escape with him. A big battle in which everyone but Mel Gibson and Love Interest die! Important Japanese Guy is shot somewhere in the melee, making the entire thing pretty much pointless. Everyone is sad. And dead.

Especially Sam Neill.

The Character: According to IMDB, Sam Neill was Sgt. D.J. Costello, although since I never bothered to learn their names, to me he was “the one who is Sam Neill” as opposed to the other four who were “Not Sam Neill”. He did manage to stand out from his fellow Z Men by being the only one who speaks Chinese, so their main source of communication with their resistance leader allies. In the first few minutes, one of their number is shot and wounded in the leg! Because he will just slow them down or end up captured and tortured, Sam Neill shoots him humanely, in the middle of a conversation.

Because that's how he rolls

What I Learned: Even Sam Neill can’t make me like war movies. How to hide a fugitive from the Japanese army (answer: in a secret compartment under a box of chickens!)

Would I Watch Again?: No. See above.

Crusoe (2008-2009)

I didn’t like the book Robinson Crusoe so I didn’t have high hopes for this TV series. But, surprise! Its only relation to the book is the names of the two main characters, and the fact that they are stranded on an island!

Inaccuracy has never made me so happy!

The TV Show: Robinson Crusoe is stranded on an island after a shipwreck! Luckily, he is a wood-genius and makes all kinds of awesome Swiss Family Robinson-esque treehouses and bridges and elevators and orange juice makers and coconut radios. Okay, maybe not that last one. Also, he saves a guy from becoming a human sacrifice and they become BFF! Friday is even more awesome than Crusoe at fighting, speaking a frillion languages, and being snarky! The show chronicles their various adventures on the island, which seems to be visited by a disproportionate amount of pirates, mutineers, and the like. Also, Crusoe has frequent flashbacks to his life before the shipwreck, where he seems to have been caught in the unpleasantness of the English Civil Wars and aftermath. He also worries constantly about his wife and daughters and angsts about never seeing them again. I was not even upset that Sam Neill is kind of barely in this show, probably because of this:

Hello cute, often-shirtless men!

The Character: Sam Neill plays Jeremiah Blackthorn, Crusoe’s family friend and the godfather to his kids. We see him being kind of sinister in all the flashbacks, but he always seems to act in Crusoe’s best interest, lending him money and claiming to be interested in helping because he has no family of his own. I’ve only seen the first three episodes, but I’m assuming he is secretly Crusoe’s real father, or some other such intrigue. Or maybe he has been secretly plotting against Crusoe this whole time? It’s unclear whether his creepiness in the flashbacks is just because he’s Sam Neill in period dress or a misdirect or for real. I guess I will have to watch more to find out!

I can't make fun of your costumes this time, Sam. They are fabulous.

What I Learned: To set a spirit to rest, their heart, skull, and bones need to be in the same place. Sam Neill movies continue to be terrible at making girls-dressed-as-boys look like believable men. Or maybe that’s just movies in general.

Would I Watch Again?: Yes! I have only watched the first three hours of this show, and I really want to know if Sam Neill is the bad guy or not. Also if Friday ever finds love.

Next: Ruthless Businessman, Ex-Prison Guard, Sad Husband
Previously: Sam Neill: Angst Edition

One response to “Sam Neill Update: Rebel, Soldier, Godfather”

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