Bullet Points: Curaçao
Exotic locations for action movies can go in one of two directions. The exotic location can be a huge sideshow that distracts from the plot and story or it can provide such a captivating background that it fits right into the story like another character. Curaçao happens to be a perfect setting for a movie as the Caribbean island is the definition of an island paradise (and I am counting down the days until I visit again.) Who would think anything bad could happen in this constituent country within the Kingdom of the Netherlands? (The bad stuff seems to happen in nearby neighbor Aruba.) Luckily for you, some nefarious things do happen on Curaçao (at least in the movies) and I happen to have some Bullet Points for the aptly titled 1993 film Curaçao.
- Cura-How – William Petersen plays former CIA agent Stephen Guerin who is now working exiled as a security officer for U.S. Consulate in Curaçao. Guerin is persona non grata with the CIA because he killed another agent in the field because Guerin though the other agent was a traitor. Guerin is none too happy to be in Curaçao despite the lovely people, weather, and scenery because nothing ever happens and he misses being a spy. Guerin’s best friend is Cornelius Wettering (George C. Scott) a South African bar owner living with his son Jan. At least that is who Guerin thinks Wettering is. The audience knows different as the start of the movie we see a younger Wettering blowing up a ship he was captaining, but we don’t know the reason. Then intrigue is so thick in Curaçao you can cut it with a knife!
- Cura-Now – While doing some routine banking, Wettering foils a bank robbery by some Indonesian terrorists only to be very unhappy to have his picture taken. We find out that Wettering intentionally blew up his former ship for his Chinese boss Worthy Hsung (George Cheung, U.S. Seals II) so he can get the insurance money. The ship was carrying illegal oil because of the embargo against the apartheid government of South Africa, and Wettering kept the documents that could take down the Hsung. Wettering has been hiding out in sleepy Curaçao but the bank robbery causes his face to be in the news alerting Hsung and the South African government who is after Wettering for the deaths of the crew from the explosion. Wettering tells all to Guerin in order to help him through his trouble and we learn that Jan is not his son, but Wetterng’s ‘fancy boy’ (a plot twist that nobody asked for.) To make matters stickier, the South Africans want to hire Guerin to become a spy for them to kill Wettering and the CIA will allow Guerin to get back in by joining the South Africans to spy for the CIA. What a tangled web Curaçao weaves!
- Cura-Wow – Wettering can’t take everyone after him and commits suicide (or did he?) leaving Guerin to handle all the filthy business by himself. He has his CIA handler, and former lover, Julia (Julie Carmen) to help with South African and… let’s say ‘south of the border’ issues. The action really begins to pick up as most of the subterfuge is out of the way (or is it?) and we are left with a final battle involving Guerin, Hsung, the South Africans, and the CIA. Guerin must make the difficult choice of either helping the South Africans thereby getting back into the CIA but allowing his friend to be labeled a murderer or take the exonerating documents to the insurance company to prove Hsung is the true bad guy. Boy oh boy, Curaçao is quite the thriller!
Curaçao is the kind of action thriller that could be set in any location, but by choosing the island of Curaçao a whole new dimension is added. The island lifestyle and Carnival that was happening add authenticity and the additional spice to the film. Plus, the title of the film makes a whole lot more sense having it set in Curaçao. It is hard to find a bad William Petersen movie, and I especially love when he plays a slightly troubled protagonist. George C. Scott is forced to do a South African accent, but the veteran actor does not disappoint. If you don’t have the time to visit Curaçao (although I am counting down the days until I visit again,) there are worse ways to kill 90 minutes than by watching Curaçao. There are also worse ways to end a Bullet Points than with some Bonus Bullet Points so count your lucky stars because here they come!
- Alternatieve Titel – You might find Curaçao under the alternate titles of Deadly Currents or CIA: Exiled which are ok, but you know how I love a title that tells me where a movie is happening. I am looking at you Hong Kong 97, N.Y.P.D. Mounted, etc.
- Gebaseerd Op Een Roman – Curaçao is based on the James David Buchanan novel The Prince of Malta which happens to be the name of the ship Wettering blew up.
- Stalen Trommel – If you are like me and can’t get enough steel drum music you too will be head over heels for the Curaçao soundtrack.
- Volle Maan Over Curaçao – On an exotic location like Curaçao you might be hoping for a little skin, but besides from some teasing shots of Guerin’s high society vacationing Philadelphian girlfriend Diana (Maria Ellingsen) the most you are going to see is from star William Petersen. Although, Petersen is not as exposed as he is in his revealing role in To Live and Die in L.A.
- Niet Zo Nederlands – The fine folks of Curaçao are related to the Dutch by rule, but luckily they are unique with their own customs, language, interests and are not all about cheese and bicycles. I didn’t see a single one of either in the movie!