Inspired by the true story of a German hostage crisis in which a teacher shepherded her gradeschoolers to safety, HUMAN BOMB is a listless thriller ripped from yesterday's headlines. The film premiered on the Movie Channel and was subsequently released on home video in 1998.
Recently widowed American schoolteacher Marcia Weller (Patsy Kensit) opts for a fresh start in Germany with her mother Mrs. Macky (Kate Harper) and her stepfather Mr. Macky (Bob Sherman), a business tycoon. Terrorist Ned Lud (Robert Spitz), who was planning to kidnap Macky, shifts his focus to
Marcia, because her new charges are the pampered offspring of Europe's social elite. Wired with explosives set to detonate in the event of his death, Lud invades Marcia's classroom, demanding a ransom of 50 million marks. He uses her as a go-between in dealing with the authorities led by Capt.
Gerhardt (Jurgen Prochnow).
Pressured by politicians currying favor with the childrens' parents, Gerhardt stalls Lud. Marcia calms her frightened pupils and cleverly scores concessions from their captor. Furious when the government refuses to meet the full amount demanded, Gerhardt manages to position his snipers and to
install a mini-video camera through the wall of the classroom. Marcia discovers that Lud's activated timebomb has a five-second delay. The sacks of money are delivered to Lud, who plans to spot-check every bag. When he temporarily removes his finger from the device trigger, the assault team rushes
into the room. Startled, Lud drops his device; Marcia grabs it and re-stops the mechanism; Lud is arrested.
Time codes flash across the bottom of the screen to lend HUMAN BOMB a sense of urgency, but this sluggish film seems to unspool over decades rather than a day or two. Prosaically scripted and flatly directed, this yawn-inducer is competently produced and acted but never heats up its thriller
dynamics past a low boil. Instead of causing the audience to shiver as the terrorist badgers his captives, the film only manages to elicit our admiration for Marcia's cool-headed profile in courage. Kensit believably underplays her heroine's resourcefulness and keeps the viewer in Marcia's
cornered corner. Wallpapered with the usual criticism about governmental intransigence in terrorist situations, HUMAN BOMB runs its course sans surprises but with lots of flaccid crosscutting and missed suspense opportunities. (Violence.)
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- Released: 1996
- Rating: PG-13
- Review: Inspired by the true story of a German hostage crisis in which a teacher shepherded her gradeschoolers to safety, HUMAN BOMB is a listless thriller ripped from yesterday's headlines. The film premiered on the Movie Channel and was subsequently released on… (more)