THE HOSTAGE TOWER (1980) Criminal mastermind uses lasers to hijack the Eiffel Tower.

hostagetower_belgianposterTheme Song: None.

Interesting Dated References: Something about a laser. In the 70s lasers were the hot new thing. They were going to take over the world. People envisioned we would have laser stop signs and things in traffic. We would walk our dogs on laser leashes. Laser sex, etc. Everyone was arguing about if they were good for society and what not.

Best Line: Something about a laser. Talking about lasers used to make you sound really smart. For instance if you were at a bar in 1977 you could make fake business cards that say “Laser Consultant” and, together with a little bit of cocaine, score some hot chicks.

Social Context: Something about laser technology. Why is it that lasers were looked at as such a divisive technology? Laser technology was to early 80s espionage movies what cloning and the internet is to todays espionage movies.

Summary: Last time we reviewed one of these made for television adaptations of an Alistair MacLean novel it was the boring Golden Rendezvous. This one isn’t going to be as boring because it opens up with a scene like this:

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Not only is he in a hot tub with an 80s chick, but he’s got those goddamn sunglasses on. This guy is the criminal mastermind. He’s so smart he proceeds to tell all his plans to the hot chick. This is usually not a good plan.

As he explains his plans, we are introduced to three characters that he wants to use for his diabolical plan. They are Billy Dee Williams (the cat burglar), Peter Fonda (the weird-mustached weapons expert), and a Hot Chick who is a career criminal. Turns out though, Billy Dee and Hot Chick are actually spies for the government working undercover. This is revealed in an office filled with raw umber colored walls and wood grain everywhere.

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So all these criminals meet up and are taken to meet the yellow-sunglassed mastermind. He puts them through some boring made for television training sequences and then finally reveals their mission: Hijack the Eiffel Tower and use high tech lasers as weapons. For those of you too young to remember, there was a time when lasers were considered the next big thing in global espionage weaponry. Did I mention Billy Dee Williams is posing as a French chef in order to gain access to the tower?

Once the criminals gain control of the tower, they set up the “laser detonators” and take over television broadcasts. They demand a ransom and just happen to kidnap the mother of the president of the United States. I’m not sure why she’s there. The yellow-sunglassed guy keeps saying “the tower,” but it sounds like he’s saying “the tar.” Billie Dee Williams proceeds to signal the CIA operatives with morse code that lasts 20 minutes. Then the mustached Peter Fonda busts him. Then Fonda reveals he too is an FBI agent. Then there’s another fucking morse code flashlight scene. So from what I gather, Billie Dee, Hot Chick, and Peter Fonda are going to try to save the president’s mother. In one of the more erotic scenes in the movie, Billie Dee carries the president’s mother piggy back-style for a good 45 minutes. Did I mention Fonda’s weird cocaine mustache?

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Somehow the good guys win and Peter Fonda and his mustache are the heroes.

Poster and Box Art: The Betamax box I have for this is some stock thing that just has the title. The only poster I could find, pictured above, makes the movie look awesome and interesting. The movie is not awesome and interesting, though, so in that respect, the poster is a success! Look at that airbrushed Billie Dee Williams. So fine.

Availability: Old VHS on eBay.

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