by John Robertson
At World’s End is a movie jointly produced by Denmark, Germany and Australia. The end of the world was conveniently located at 43 Justin Avenue. For movie purposes it was the heart of the Sumatran jungle. It has played the jungle role before, notably in the film Kokoda. This part of the story line was of two guys and a girl, all Scandinavian, being held captive by the local army troops in a clearing in the jungle. They are then captured by a guerrilla band and go from bad to worse.
This part of the action covered two days with Neville and Rory being the crew in 52 on Monday and John F and Robbo on Tuesday. Start was 0630 from the Station. Much more happened on Tuesday than on Monday. On both days we had an excellent buffet breakfast and lunch with all the crew. In the hot conditions attention to hydration was faultless throughout.
The action starts with a platoon of young troops guarding the captives in a jungle clearing. They are attacked by a band of black-clad baddies concealed in the jungle. One lesson from the film – lantana can be a lifesaver. Not one of the baddies in the lantana was even scratched but all the troops in the clearing were killed. This didn’t happen just once but about ten times over. Fully 1,000 rounds of 9mm blank ammunition were expended on Tuesday. The soldiers had Armalite rifles and the baddies had short-barrelled M5’s. Each of the soldiers had the now-conventional, blood packs to show when they had been hit. There is evidently a correct cinematic way to die when you are shot – you pirouette twice round and then fall hard to the ground. There was a lot of coaching in this technique going on.
The gunfire was interspersed with simulated grenades. These produced loud bangs (in English, like all other sounds on the set) plus flying earth and smoke. We had 52 ready for action but out of shot of the cameras. The final item simulated a shell landing on one of the tents, which tent had been filled with combustible material. The simulation was by blowing up a gas canister which produced a good fireball and set the tent burning merrily; then ‘cut’ and forward John F (on pump) and Robbo with Protek. The fire was right out in under five minutes which pleased the film guys. The luckless troops were spread out wide around the tent and apparently concussed (if not killed) by the blast. Just to make sure a couple of the black-clad, bad lads appeared out of the lantana and shot them all yet again. Not a good Army recruiting film!
We filled up with water at Holt Road and were back at the Station at 1600. An interesting day with good, down-to-earth people!