Top positive review
One person found this helpful
on November 1, 2014
It's an old urban legend. Or maybe it's the worst-kept secret in the world. It might be both. It is...the formula for synthetic fuel that can run all gas-based engines more efficiently and ecologically, at a fraction of the cost. If it existed, it would be the greatest advance in mass transportation since the invention of the steam engine. And it would put the big oil companies out of business. All of them. Permanently. Naturally, Big Oil will do anything--ANYTHING--to keep this formula off the market. And only one man can stop them. Or can he...?
Steve Shagan's bestselling novel, THE FORMULA, was filmed in 1980 by director John G. Avildsen (ROCKY, THE KARATE KID). George C. Scott plays the burnt-out, divorced cop who stumbles on a string of dead bodies and an insidious plot to keep the world enslaved to the gas engine. Marthe Keller is the mysterious woman who may or may not be trying to help him. Marlon Brando is the ubiquitous oil tycoon who opposes him. Scott runs all over Europe and America, constantly pursued by a bunch of bad guys. Wherever he goes, things blow up and more people die. There are only two scenes between Scott and Brando, but they're the best scenes in the film. This is a fun, fast-paced thriller with a plot that doesn't bear close scrutiny (Why don't they just kill him, for Pete's sake!). The book and film arrived at the height of late-1970s paranoia, with oil shortages, high prices, and long lines at gas stations, and that explains why it was popular at the time. But it holds up very well today. I guess we're all still hoping that this synthetic fuel dream becomes a reality. Recommended.