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Britannic
cast: Jacqueline Bisset, Amanda Ryan, Edward Atterton, John Rhys-Davies, and Bruce Payne

director: Brian Trenchard-Smith

93 minutes (15) 1999
Odyssey DVD Region 2 retail
Also available to buy on video

RATING: 3/10
reviewed by Donald Morefield
"Isn't it a bit dangerous having the bulkhead doors open like that?"
   This is a story about the Titanic's sister ship, Britannic... A TV movie of 'intrigue, romance and disaster' (according to the publicity blurb), Britannic is set in 1916, and has this great vessel serving as a First World War hospital ship, sailing from England to a Greek island to pick up 3000 wounded soldiers. The Captain (John Rhys-Davies, every inch the stereotypical old seadog) is annoyed to learn of a threat to his ship from German saboteurs, and that British Intelligence has placed an undercover agent, Vera Campbell (Amanda Ryan) onboard, in response to rumours of enemy spies. Vera is acting as nanny to children of an ambassador's wife (played by still beautiful Jacqueline Bisset), and she befriends (platonically, of course) the ship's surgeon, Dr Baker (Bruce Payne). The ludicrously obvious plot twist here is that Vera falls in love with kind and handsome Chaplin Reynolds (Edward Atterton), who is also the German master spy!
   In all seriousness, this is dreadfully hackneyed nonsense, partly redeemed by the absolute preposterousness of its clumsily assembled scenario (transparently written to exploit the success of James Cameron's blockbuster, Titanic), which provides much unintentional humour (just re-read the sample line of dialogue which opens this review!). Heroine Vera is plagued by nightmares of drowning because she was a survivor of the Titanic, but she does her bit for the war effort by tackling the heavily armed mutineers who invade the bridge. Unfortunately, Britannic is such a tawdry effort that no amount of accidental humour can save it from, well - sinking straight to the bottom after leaving port. The comparatively cheap production is most evident in digital visuals of the Britannic being tracked and then torpedoed by a u-boat. These battle scenes have less impact, or realistic detail, than your average computer game imagery.
   DVD extras: star biographies, film notes, plus an Odyssey trailers reel.
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