CIA agent Harry Wargrave is sent to aid Gen. Marenkov, a senior Russian official, who is defecting to the west. Wargrave decides they should travel to safety on a train across Europe, the "Atlantic Express". During the journey they must survive attacks by terrorists and an avalanche, all planned by Russian spy-catcher Nikolai Bunin.
Stop the train, I want to get off. Awful attempt at blending a political thriller with disaster movie shenanigans, Avalanche Express is also a sad end to the careers of Robert Shaw (Jaws/The Sting) and Mark Robson (The Seventh Victim/Bedlam). Both of whom died during the production. Plot essentially sees Shaw's Soviet official, Marenkov, defecting to the west whilst aiming to kill off his homeland's biological weapons programme in the process. Basically putting himself up as bait to flesh out the baddies, Marenkov is being protected by Lee Marvin's CIA agent Harry Wargrave and his pals. Cue a train snaking through the snowy mountains as they all try to evade an avalanche and some shifty types attempting to spoil the mission. There's a whole bunch of talking and a whole bunch of actors drifting in and out of the film without making a mark. The action, what little there is, is slip-shod and the dubbing of Shaw only brings more sadness to what is quite simply a sad movie! Jack Cardiff's photography is crisp and deserves a better film, and even though the model work on show is a bit hit and miss, it does have a quaintness that steers you away from the turgid screenplay. But all told it's a boring mess of a movie and really only one for Marvin and Shaw fans to tick off of their lists. 3.5/10