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Steven Berkoff film 1980s-2



Steven Berkoff - Rambo First Blood Part II - title

Rambo the follow-on to First Blood, also called Rambo II, directed by George P. Cosmatos in 1985.

Steven Berkoff - Rambo First Blood Part II - Stallone

Rambo (Sylvester Stallone) is in a hard labour prison when his army commander Col. Sam Trautman (Richard Crenna) offers him a chance of a pardon if he helps find out if there are still American POWs being held in Vietnam.

Steven Berkoff - Rambo First Blood Part II - boat journey

Rambo accepts and is soon travelling to Vietnam.

Steven Berkoff - Rambo First Blood Part II - abandoned

He discovers POWs and takes one prisoner back to the extraction point, but the extraction helicopter is ordered back and Rambo is captured.

Steven Berkoff - Rambo First Blood Part II

Rambo is badly treated by the Vietnamese guards, but things get worse when the Russian Lieutenant Colonel Sergei T. Podovsky (Berkoff) arrives.  Podovsky tortures Rambo but does not become any wiser. Berkoff says "I waited for my moment of triumph in the film but it was not to be...The director wasn't too fond of me but I did what I could with the role".

Steven Berkoff - Rambo First Blood Part II - Berkoff and Stallone

In Overview Berkoff´s description of a torture scene with Stallone is superb sarcasm about Stallone "Slide my knife across Sly´s stomach again and he pulls back sharply...oh my God! I've made contact with real flesh...I prise the horror off, and behold, his flesh is intact and firm. He is acting! It certainly gives me a scare". 

Steven Berkoff - Rambo First Blood Part II - Julia Nickson

Rambo escapes, with the help of a Vietnamese resistance fighter Co Phuong Bao (Julia Nickson) but as their relationship deepens she is killed by Vietnamese guards.

Steven Berkoff - Rambo First Blood Part II - Sylvester Stallone

In true Rambo style he captures a helicopter, shoots up the camp, and takes the remaining POWs in the helicopter, but when it seems they may be safe, Podovsky turns up in a helicopter gunship.

Steven Berkoff - Rambo First Blood Part II - helicopter

Stallone and James Cameron are co-writers.  Stallone's brother Frank wrote the (forgettable) song Peace in Our Life. Director of Photography is veteran Jack Cardiff who has worked with Powell-Pressburger and David Lean

Steven Berkoff - Rambo First Blood Part II - credit

Berkoff´s play Acapulco is based on his experience of the filming.

All images from the DVD of the film.

Steven Berkoff - Revolution - title

Revolution with Al Pacino Donald Sutherland and Natashka Kinski.  Annie Lennox another of the minor roles in a commercial failure about the American Civil war. But the film has genuine emotion and depth. Directed by Hugh Hudson in 1985.

Al Pacino - Revolution

Tom Dobb (Pacino) with his son literally sail into a revolution where his boat is seized and his son is tricked enlisting in the army against the British in the American Revolution.  To protexct hiz young zon Dobb alzo enliztz.

Donald Sutherland - Revolution 

Donald Sutherland is Sgt Maj Peasy on the British side.

Steven Berkoff - Revolution

Steven Berkoff - Revolution

The large battle scenes are good, but cannot compare to those in Kubrick's Barry Lyndon.

“… Revolution' is about the American War of Independence. It's also a mess, but one that's so giddily misguided that it's sometimes a good deal of fun for all of the wrong reasons. Characters who have met briefly early in the film later stage hugely emotional, tearful reconciliations… The movie, which examines the Revolution from the vantage point of a little man, never attempts to explain what prompts all of this riotous unrest... From the chaos Tom Dobb discovers when he arrives in Manhattan, you might think the entire fuss the result of too many people drinking too much grog at the wrong time… Some of the other actors who show up from time to time are Donald Sutherland, as a cruel British sergeant major, the sort of man who likes to whip the bare feet of poor little drummer boys; Nastassja Kinski, as a supposedly headstrong society girl who joins the rebels' cause to the consternation of her loyalist parents, and Joan Plowright, seen briefly as Miss Kinski's mother. With the exception of Miss Plowright, they're all pretty terrible” (Vincent Canby, New York Times, 25 Dec 1985).

"The problem was that Revolution wanted to be two things at once: a historical epic with sweeping battle and swirling gun smoke, but also an art-house meditation on the futility of war, portraying both the Americans and the British unflatteringly. That seemed a tall order, and yet Stanley Kubrick had pulled of that very same balancing act, against the backdrop of the Napoleonic Wars, with Barry Lyndon in 1975.
Barry Lyndon, of course, had benefited from masterful direction. And even then, Kubrick felt it necessary to hold the story together with a voice-over. As he watched the footage Hudson realised that Revolution needed a narrator’s voice too. Otherwise it was just Pacino, looking very much like the guy from The Godfather, wandering around mud-spattered landscapes, glum and confused. However, Christmas Day was fast approaching. There simply was no time to bring Pacino back" (Ed Power, The Independent, 20 Dec 2020, click here).  The director's cut, released in 2012, includes a commentary by Pacino.

Steven Berkoff - Revolution

Steven Berkoff - Revolution

Steven Berkoff plays Sgt Jones who recruits Al Pacino to the army then pays him off at the end. Berkoff is in good form creating a memorable convincing character.  Berkoff and Pacino work well together and became friends, though Pacino later was offended at Berkoff's well-intentioned satire of him in Shakespeare's Villains. 

Steven Berkoff - Revolution - credit

All images from the DVD of the film.

Steven Berkoff - Transmutation - Underworld - title

Underworld, also known as Transmutations, directed by George Pavlouin 1985 based on Clive Barker's horror story about mutants. 

Steven Berkoff - Transmutation - Underworld - mutant 

Dr. Savary (Denholm Eliot) has created mutants who live in the London Underground .

Steven Berkoff - Transmutation - Underworld - Nicola Cowper

They kidnap Nicole (Nicola Cowper).

Steven Berkoff - Transmutation - Underworld

Steven Berkoff - Transmutation - Underworld

She was working for Motherskille (Steven Berkoff) who hires Roy Bain (Larry Lamb) to get her back.

Steven Berkoff - Transmutation - Underworld - club

Steven Berkoff - Transmutation - Underworld 

Berkoff shows no interest as this tedious badly directed film drags on. When his character dies, open mouthed in a fog of poison gas, it was probably how he was feeling.

Steven Berkoff - Transmutation - Underworld

The special effects must be among the worst ever- presumably Special Effects Supervisor Malcolm King had no budget.

Best name from the credits- Tip Tipping.  Tipping did stunts for two other Berkoff films, Octopussy and Revolution. He also acted in Aliens.

 Transmutations 2

There are rumors of a sequel Transmutations 2 The Return of Nicole (from Clive Barker site click here). I can't wait.

The director of photography was Sydney Macartney, the editor was Chris Ridsdale.

Steven Berkoff - Transmutation - Underworld

All images from the DVD of the film unless otherwise stated.

Steven Berkoff - Under the Cherry Moon - title

Under the Cherry Moon, the black and white film directed by Prince in 1986 following the success of Purple Rain.

Prince - Under the Cherry Moon

Prince - Under the Cherry Moon

Prince plays Christopher Tracy a gigolo.

Steven Berkoff - Under the Cherry Moon

Steven Berkoff - Under the Cherry Moon

Steven Berkoff plays Mr Sharon a rich criminal with the expensive house, dogs, wife, daughter and minders.  Berkoff got the part when Terence Stamp walked off.  Stamp had the judgement, Berkoff got the money.

Kristin Scott Thomas - Under the Cherry Moon

Prince falls for Sharon's daughter Mary-  Kristin Scott Thomas in her debut film.  The father disapproves and it does not end well.

Prince - Under the Cherry Moon  - death  Prince - Under the Cherry Moon  - death

Prince's death scene- death by over-acting.

Prince - Under the Cherry Moon  Prince - Under the Cherry Moon

As the film progresses the acting gets worse, presumably as everyone lost interest.  The film is so bad, it ends with an up-skirt shot.

Alexendra Stewart playing the wife would next do Sins, also with Berkoff.  Other actors Sam Karman and Victor Spinetti would also be back shortly with Berkoff in Sins and The Krays respectively.

The film editor is credited as Rebecca Ross (some sites such as imdb.com add Éva Gárdos) and the director of photography is Michael Ballhaus (imdb states he was also uncredited co-director).

"Taking advantage of the power he possessed at this time in Hollywood, he used it to produce and make his directorial debut with 'Under the Cherry Moon' (1986), one of the strangest and craziest movies of its time. It’s a film so utterly defiant of what one might have rightfully expected from a Prince vehicle that even his loyal fans stayed away in droves and it immediately went down in the annals of screen history as a disaster that more or less killed Prince’s viability as a screen icon" (Peter Sobczynski, 4 May 2016 on Roger Ebert website, click here).

"The screenplay by Becky Johnston is an adolescent's notion of sophisticated badinage: 'Christopher, do you love me?' 'Define love.' Or, 'He likes to collect things - including people' (Walter Goodman, 3 Jul 1986, New York Times).

Steven Berkoff - Under the Cherry Moon - cedit

All images from the DVD of the film.


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