I never saw this one coming. From 2009 it’s 31 North 62 East, and it does have a cute plot. If you watch it, be careful, and don’t give up on it. You are going to get satisfaction. To avoid spoilers you will need to stop reading now. Otherwise, it is currently streaming on Amazon Prime Video. Details are from Wikipedia. Here is a partial cast:
- John Rhys-Davies … John Hammond
- Marina Sirtis … Sarah Webber
- Heather Peace … Jill and Kimberly Mandelson
- Craig Fairbrass … Major Paul Davidson
- Nathalia Ramos … Rachel
- George Calil … Jacob
- Dhaffer L’Abidine … Thierry Leroy
- Ian Lavender … John Mandelson
- Mimi Ferrer … Hafida
- Kulvinder Ghir … Tariq Malim
- Elaine Tan … Mai Li
- Andrew Bicknell … Raymond Burton-Smith
See, the cast listing gives away something. Here is a summary.
The credits roll as we watch a caravan of official motorcars speed through the the English countryside.
Prime Minister John Hammond meets with the representative of an Arab nation. A critical arms contract is at stake. Billions in sales will benefit British workers, ensuring the prime minister’s re-election.
There is a hitch. The Arab king has a beef he wants settled. His nephew was foolish enough to get involved in the fighting in Afghanistan and has been killed by a British SAS unit. The king wants the entire unit annihilated. Then the deal will be on. Else the deal is off. The Brits have to give up the location of the unit in the field, and local forces working for the king will take care of matters.
There is a problem. The unit at issue has already returned to their base ship, the USS Nimitz. The prime minister huddles with Sarah Webber, his political associate. She objects to the sorry proposition. The prime minister reminds her political futures are on the line, including hers. A force status tracking facility shows there is another unit, four troops, available to take the fall. They are at 31°, 62°. Hence the title of the movie. The Arabs will never know the difference. The PM hands over the lives of his troops, and the deal is closed.
A fly in the ointment. The meeting place has been bugged by (supposedly) British intelligence services. All of this is recorded, including the crucial email giving the coordinates.
An RPG arrack catches the soldiers by surprise, and there is only one survivor. She is Captain Jill Mandelson, leader of the squad, and the Afghan fighters take her prisoner. She could turn out to be valuable to them. But first they need to know who she is. For weeks they ply her with excruciating pressure. She does not yield.
Finally she gives up her name, but she denies being part of the group that killed the King’s nephew. They point a Kalashnikov rifle at her head and pull the trigger, but she is unable to give them a satisfactory answer.
Oops! The Arab royal family discovers the truth about the sacrificial squad. They learn there is a survivor, and the Arab rep tells the prime minister. It is now in his interest the surviving SAS officer be eliminated.
Other forces work to spring Captain Mandelson, and a phony deal to trade arms to the militant group keeps her alive. Instead of the promised arms, an Italian force attacks and pulls off the rescue. Jill Mandelson returns to England, where danger awaits. The Arab rep has his man meet with a woman I will only call “The Assassin With Great Tits.” A hefty price is negotiated, but TAWGT gives notice this will be her last job. She is commanded to “make it look like suicide.”
TAWGT surprises Jill in her car and forces her to drive. We next see an English police car driving to the spot where Jill’s car has gone off a precipice. There were no survivors.
Now things spring into action. Jill’s sister Kimberly works with others to execute a plan. She boards a small plane and flies it across that lush English countryside we have come to appreciate.
She lands in a deserted grass field, and covers the plane with camouflage netting.
She hikes a short distance and surprises an armed guard, leaving him cuffed to something immovable. Then she approaches the house and takes Sarah Webber by surprise.
Later, inside a prepared room, she sets up a video camera and a network connection and pulls the hood off Webber’s head. Webber is going live throughout the world.
Kimberly injects Webber with a snake venom that will lead to a horrible death after 40 hours, unless Kimberly administers the antidote. Kimberly tells Webber she is going to need to tell the truth.
Hours pass, and, as promised, blood begins to drip from Webber’s nose and ultimately from her ears. Meanwhile, the PM is getting desperate. He commands a full court press to locate the secluded studio. He instructs there are to be no survivors.
Webber talks. Kimberly administers the antidote. Then the two prepare for the assault by British commandos. The troops enter, and we hear bursts of gunfire.
Only the commandos have been working for Captain Mandelson and her sister all along. They all show up at a briefing on the matter held by the PM. He is rushed away under protective guard.
Now we know the full story. It was not Jill in the wrecked car, but TAWGT. She tangled with the wrong woman. The PM does not even serve a day of confinement for his murderous activities. The sisters appear together for the first time, played by the same actor. Jill considers she may join her sister working for British intelligence.
I have a few items to pick with this production. One that struck me immediately was camouflaging the airplane. When you want to hide a parked airplane, the camouflage netting works just fine. Except, you don’t leave it sitting out in the open. It’s much harder to spot parked and netted at a tree line.
How would the plot have evolved if the Arabs had picked a male assassin? What if the instructions had not been to make it appear a suicide? A bunch of beans had to line up to make this work.
The dialog gets preachy at times. While Webber is interrogated on streaming TV, her antagonist digs into the wrongs of the wars and the meddling in Middle East affairs by powerful countries. Of course, this could have been part of the clever plot to make it appear Webber has been kidnapped by naive amateurs. We also see Kimberly, from time to time, drop references that lead government forces toward their target. In retrospect, this has been done deliberately, because the thing works only if the commandos are directed to the correct location, which they know already.
Anyhow, a nice plot with interesting twists.