TV Cream

Films: B is for...

Battle Beneath the Earth

The evil communist Chinese (led by a yellowed-up Martin ‘Vogon captain’ Benson) dig tunnels all the way to the US, in which to plant nuclear bombs. Fortunately the likes of Ed ‘UFO’ Bishop and “expert on volcanic passages” Vivienne ‘Guide to Social Climbing’ Ventura are on hand to stop them. This prime slice of schlock is a bit unpalatable for its xenophobia, but there are many more innocent pleasures here – Peter ‘Danger Within’ Arne’s cracked ear-to-ground panic in the opening “listening disturbance” scene, China’s steamroller-like underground tanks with colour co-ordinated overalls, the army making everyone in America shut up at the same time so they can hear the tunnelling, operations rooms with illuminated maps, human-carrying pneumatic tubes, computers with unspooling tape reels, torches doubling as lasers, and a climax where our heroes escape a nuclear blast by pegging it down the road.

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