North Sea Hijack ★★★

Stodgy but likeably straightforward thriller that, coming roughly halfway between JUGGERNAUT and DIE HARD, resembles the former with little of the wit and the latter with almost none of the action. Director Andrew V. McLaglen, a meat-and-potatoes director of a kind we'll not see again, brings a procedural quality to the hostage plotline that's possibly inadvertent--most movies would leave out the discussion of the terrorist plot's insurance ramifications, and there's a good reason for that. McClaglen, the son of character actor Victor McLaglen and house director for John Wayne's latter career, keeps the focus squarely on his star. Roger Moore's character may have gone right out of the source novel, Jack Davies's equally oddly titled "Esther, Ruth, and Jennifer," but he clearly represents the anti-Bond here: a cat-loving, woman-hating, tweed-wearing eccentric. Too determinedly so, but he's the main show here, and arguably more entertaining than in his 007 work (which I've always found annoyingly smug.)