The Chain Reaction

Chain Reaction, The (Ian Barry, 1980) aka Nuclear Run, The Man at the Edge of the Freeway; Eastman colour, 35 mm, 90 min. prod. David Elfick for Palm Beach Pictures, wr. Ian Barry, dp Russell Boyd, design Graham Walker, ed. Tim Wellburn; Steve Bisley, Arna-Maria Winchester, Ralph Cotterill, Hugh Keays-Byrne, Richard Moir, Ross Thompson; Dr George Miller directed the second unit; nuclear power plant accident; filmed around Lithgow

An earthquake in rural Australia causes a dangerous leak at WALDO, a nuclear waste storage facility.

The innocents are played colourfully by Steve Bisley and Arna-Maria Winchester, incarnating amid the explosive mayhem various 'typically Australian' attitudes and reactions (such as anti-authoritarianism) that work to 'customise' an American film model to a local sensibility. Adrian Martin, in Murray 1995: 54.

... works better as a thriller than is does as an anti-nuclear statment, because the message is all too often submerged under the dazzlingly staged car chases and stunts. ... Steve Bisley is so good in the lead that one wonders why he never became a popular actor like Mel Gibson and Bryan Brown; certainly he has all the attributes. Russell Boyd's camerawork [sic] is extremely stylish, but the film as a whole carries with it the whiff of compromise. David Stratton, 1990: 248.

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