Friday, April 30, 2021

A Very 80s Storyline

In the summer of 1986, many of my classmates were scattered around the world as exchange cadets to other military academies.  My best friend went to Bolivia, another friend went to Greece.  I was fortunate enough to be one of four to go to the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst, not far from London.

They didn't work us very hard at Sandhurst.  Of the 14 days we were there, we trained for seven and were sent on travel excursions for seven.  That was how I saw Oxford, Blenheim Palace, Stratfield Saye House, and Beaulieu Abbey, among other places.  They gave some Sandhurst cadets 50 pounds (about $75) each night to "show the Americans a good time", and it wasn't uncommon for us Americans to skip breakfast!

One of the oddities there related to meals.  On our first day there a gentleman in charge of the mess informed us that they weren't budgeted for us to have juice (more like fruit punch) at our meals.  Thus, when we ate in the mess, there were lots of seats with juice in front of them, and interspersed, there would be 4 seats with water.  It merited giggling more than anger or frustration, especially given that we were taken out drinking every night!

One lazy afternoon, all four of us Americans and a few of the Brits were gathered in a small TV room.  We were watching a movie I hadn't heard of before, Who Dares Wins.  The plot is ripped from 80s headlines:

The British receive intelligence that an anti-nuclear militant group is planning to kill the US ambassador at the Iranian embassy.  The British Special Air Services enlists the help of Capt. Peter Skellen, who is charged with going undercover.  But he is quickly found out by the terrorists, and his wife and child are taken hostage.  As Skellen attempts to get word to his superiors, the terrorists begin to execute their plan, which leads to a siege at the embassy.

I don't remember the story--the excerpt above brings back some memories--but I remember enjoying it.  The movie was released in 1982 in Britain, and in 1983 in the US under the name The Final Option.  It's available for free on the Tubi app, which means I know what I'll be doing the next 2 hrs 5 min on this Friday night!  I hope the story holds up after the passage of time.

Update:  The terrorists take over the American embassy during a party, and hostages include the ambassador, the Secretary of State, the head of Strategic Air Command, and the British Foreign Secretary.

It struck me more as a made-for-TV movie than a theatrical release, and it really was dated, but who doesn't like seeing a bunch of Marxist terrorists get shot to pieces?  

Good times.


Auntie Ann said...

who doesn't like seeing a bunch of Marxist terrorists get shot to pieces?

The mayor of Portland.

Darren said...

Good one :-)