Friday, 3 April 2009

Francesco Quinn

A character actor, whose career has taken him from historical dramas to guest starring roles in popular television shows, Francesco Quinn’s career made a short detour into the action genre in 1989, when cast in Indio.

Quinn was 27 when he played a half-Indian U.S. Marine waging a one-man war in the South American jungle. If it sounds a touch familiar, that’s because it’s a blatant knock-off of the Rambo films.

First Blood is referenced not only in its basic plot but also in character names and casting. Quinn’s character Daniel Morrell is named after First Blood author David Morrell and Brian Dennehy plays the villain.

Director Anthony M. Dawson (real name Antonio Margheriti) imitated Hollywood with films such as 1985’s Commando Leopard starring Lewis Collins, but this is certainly one of his most proficient. This Italian production has decent production values and was shot in English.

Son of Anthony Quinn, Italian-American Francesco seems a touch miscast as a half-Indian warrior who turns his Marine training against corporate villains ruthlessly exploiting the rainforest, but more than looks the part and is a decent actor. Such cannot be said for Marvelous Marvin Hagler.

The acclaimed middleweight boxer is given top credit on the film, likely because of his high profile at the time it was made. It certainly isn’t because of his less than marvelous performance. Hagler appears fairly late in the film and in only a handful of scenes.

His role seems to be a combination of that of Richard Crenna’s Col. Samuel Trautman from the Rambo movies and Steve James’ brawny Sgt. Curtis Jackson in the American Ninja movies.

Filmed in Borneo, Argentina, Brazil and The Philippines, Indio is packed with action. Daniel Morrell rampages through the jungle laying elaborate traps and triggering huge explosions. It’s a movie with the kind of eco-sentiment we later came to associate with Steven Seagal.

Quinn was not destined for a future as an action star, apart from a co-starring role in Loren Avedon’s Deadly Ransom (1997) he’s otherwise been engaged in more challenging roles. Indio 2: the Revolt was made in 1991 but Quinn played no part. Instead Dawson turned to Hagler once again.

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