“Cliffs of Freedom” is a bit rocky, but takes its leap in earnest.
“Cliffs,” directed and co-written by Van Ling, is a low-budget, nationalistic, historical epic set during the 19th century Greek War of Independence against the Ottoman Empire. The Turkish occupiers are depicted as sadistic monsters, save one: the sensitive and handsome Colonel Tariq (Jan Uddin). Due largely to his Greek mentor/tutor (Christopher Plummer), Tariq recognizes the Greeks’ humanity and advocates for a less brutal hand in ruling them. Meanwhile, Anna Christina (Tania Raymonde), whom Tariq saved as a young girl, has grown into a beautiful and strong-willed woman. After a tragedy, she becomes a freedom fighter, then a symbolic hero of the revolution. She and Tariq find themselves drawn to each other from opposite sides of the war.
The game production does its best with limited resources, thanks, in part, to an impressive supporting cast. Apart from Plummer, it boasts the likes of Patti Lupone, Kevin Corrigan, and Billy Zane in the — shall we say — Billy Zane role: the smarmy, traitorous Greek collaborator with an eye for Anna Christina; one half-expects him to declare, “I make my own luck!”
The dialogue is often stiff, the action and plotting unlikely, making the romance hard to swallow. The appealing Uddin and Raymonde do generate enough chemistry in their fleeting time together to keep the proposition afloat. However, the climactic moment, though heavily telegraphed, will leave many scratching their heads.
‘Cliffs of Freedom’
Rated: R, for bloody violence
Running time: 2 hours, 16 minutes
Playing: AMC Orange 30, Orange; AMC Citywalk Stadium 19, Universal City; AMC Rolling Hills 20, Torrance