Film: North Sea Hijack

North Sea Hijack is a British action thriller film released in 1979, starring Roger Moore, James Mason and Anthony Perkins. It is based on the novel Esther, Ruth and Jennifer by Jack Davies. The film has been re-issued under several other titles: North Sea Hijack was the original British title, but the film was issued internationally as Ffolkes and later shown on TV as Assault Force.

Rufus Excalibur ffolkes (yes, with two lower case f's; it's still pronounced "folks") is an eccentric veteran of the Royal Navy turned freelance counter-terrorism consultant who specializes in diving missions. When terrorists seize two oil platforms and a cargo in the North Sea, ffolkes is recruited to come up with an anti-terrorist assault plan. The terrorist group is led by a man calling himself Lou Kramer, who demands a ransom in exchange for not blowing up the platforms within 24 hours. The rest of the film follows ffolkes's plan coming into fruition bit by bit.

Tropes in the movie:

  • The Alcoholic: ffolkes always has a bottle of scotch at hand and says it should only ever be drank "neat".
  • all lowercase letters: ffolkes.
  • Asexuality: ffolkes.
  • Attempted Rape: One of Kramer's men attempts to rape Sanna, but is interrupted by Captain Olafsen.
  • Awesome McCoolname: Rufus Excalibur ffolkes
  • Ax-Crazy: Kramer. He seems to spend most of his time insulting people, killing them, or screaming.
  • Badass Beard: ffolkes.
  • Badass Crew: ffolkes' men.
  • California Doubling: The scenes in Norway were shot in Ireland.
  • Character Title: The film was released as ffolkes outside the UK.
  • Cute Kitten: The UK government knows that medals don't impress ffolkes, so they award him with three kittens instead. They have the desired impression.
  • Death by Childbirth: Both ffolkes's parents died upon his birth. It is not elaborated further as to just how his father managed to die at the same time.
  • Die Hard on an X: Seemingly a precursor to the genre, with terrorists hijacking an oil platform, beating Die Hard by nearly a decade. While all the parts are in place for a Die Hard clone, it's actually a subversion, since the film is quite slow-paced and focuses more on the protagonists' carefully-planned tactics rather than action.
  • Everything's Louder With Bagpipes: A bagpiper is present when ffolkes is awarded for his deeds in the end.
  • Freudian Excuse: The reason why ffolkes dislikes women so much because he was forced to wear girls clothes until he was ten. Among other things. (Ironically, he later mistakes a female crew member, dressed in manly closes, for a boy.)
  • Genre Savvy: When Herring volunteers to poison the terrorists, the crew of Esther, after giving some thought, realize that he must be working for them.
  • Harpoon Gun: ffolkes and his men are armed with them in the climax.
  • He-Man Woman Hater: ffolkes. After he heard that the gentleman club he is part started taking female members, he resigned from it immediately.
  • Highly Visible Ninja: During the final assault, while the rest of his team wear black diving outfits - the better to not be seen at night, ffolkes for some reason chooses to dawn a bright red suit instead, making him stand out like a sore thumb to any mook with functional eyes (of course, most of the mooks in this film lack this, apparently).
    • He was not originally part of the underwater assault team, so when plan A failed, he had to get a wetsuit from the oil platform stock. Vermillion was the only color available.note 
    • Possibly lampshaded when one of ffolkes' own men mistakes him for an enemy.
  • Jerkass: Kramer's not Affably Evil or Faux Affably Evil in the slightest. He insults the captain, mocks his Norwegian accent, makes several bad jokes about his victims, and routinely screams at people.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Even though ffolkes dislikes women, he still has some more polite moments towards them.
  • Kindhearted Cat Lover: ffolkes loves cats.
  • Name and Name: The original novel Esther, Ruth and Jennifer. It refers to the names of the supply ship, oil rig and the oil platform. They're also the names of the kittens ffolkes is rewarded with at the end.
  • Nerd Glasses: Worn by Harold, the terrorists' bomb expert.
  • No Name Given: We never learn Lou Kramer's real name, as he operates under a name that he randomly chose from a phonebook.
  • Norway: The film is explicitly set near Stavanger.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: The Prime Minister is a woman. Not surprising, given who was Prime Minister at the time.
  • Pistol Pose: Used on one of the posters.
  • Preppy Name: Rufus Excalibur ffolkes, not to mention badass.
  • Real Men Wear Pink: ffolkes does does needlepoint embroidery to pass away time. It has kittens on it, unsurprisingly.
    • Nearly invoked via the red scuba suit ffolkes dons for the final assault.
  • Retired Badass: ffolkes.
  • Ruthless Modern Pirates: Lou Kramer and his gang who commandeer the oil platform are essentially pirates, and very ruthless.
  • Tampering with Food and Drink: The crew of Esther attempts to poison the terrorists with tampered food.
  • Thanks for the Mammary: ffolkes mistakes Sanna for a boy when they initially meet. He later realizes that Sanna really is a woman when he grabs her chest while he is making her warm.
  • Thrown from the Zeppelin: Herring is killed after he decides to not to go with Kramer's plan.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Kramer degenerates from a collected (if rude and obnoxious) criminal mastermind to a shrieking maniac as the film progresses. Of course, that was part of ffolkes' strategy all along.
  • Western Terrorists: The bad guys. Their leader Kramer doesn't like to be called such, as he claims to do it for money rather than any religious ideology.
  • Window Pain: Lou and Harold are shot with harpoons through windows.

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