31 North 62 East (15)

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The ViewLondon Review

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Review byMatthew Turner17/09/2009

One out of Five stars
Running time: 99 mins

Poorly directed, badly acted and frequently ridiculous British thriller that's ultimately undone by its terrible script, though it deserves credit for both its low budget ambitions and its array of strong roles for women.

What's it all about?
Directed by Tristan Loraine (who freely admits that the film was intended as a low budget calling-card in order to secure funding for his dream project), 31 North 62 East begins as Prime Minister Hammond (John Rhys-Davies, channelling John Prescott with a hint of Brown) authorises a revenge attack on a British SAS unit in Afghanistan (at the titular co-ordinates) in return for a billion dollar arms deal that will fund his re-election. However, unit captain Jill Mandelson (Heather Peace) survives, but when she returns to England, Hammond is pressured to reveal her whereabouts, effectively sanctioning her assassination.

When Jill's sister Kimberley (Peace again) uncovers evidence of the conspiracy, she turns gun-toting vigilante, kidnapping spin doctor Sarah Webber (Star Trek: The Next Generation's Marina Sirtis) and forcing her to reveal the cover-up on a nationwide internet feed. Will she broadcast the truth before Hammond's commandos shut her down?

The Bad
At the very least, the film deserves to be commended on its ambitions, despite the painful limitations of its minuscule budget – this is an action film where the car crashes, explosions and gunfights all occur offscreen, sometimes to unintentionally hilarious effect (e.g. Jill miraculously landing in a sleeping position after an explosion) and even cut-price hardman Craig Fairbrass has to make do with a desk job. The film also deserves credit for having so many strong female characters – Mimi Ferrer and Aurelie Bargeme are both notable as secret service agents, even if they're under-served by the script.

The acting is uniformly terrible, whether wildly over the top (Rhys-Davies) or just generally awful (Peace delivers the least convincing tortured screams you've ever heard; Ian Lavender has a particularly laughable heart attack). Only Sirtis emerges with any dignity, not that it does the film any good.

The Worst
The pedestrian direction is bad enough, but the script is utterly dreadful, with trite dialogue and a plot that plays like a government-hater's wet dream.

Worth seeing?
The best thing about the film is playing Spot The EastEnder – can you find all three? Otherwise, 31 North 62 East is best left well alone.

Film Trailer

31 North 62 East (15)
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Content updated: 26/09/2018 10:21

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