Whoosh! Issue 18 - March 1998

IAXS project #492
By Mark Allen
Copyright © 1998 held by author
1326 words

Introduction (01-03)
The Real Rainbow Warrior (04-12)
The Movie Rainbow Warrior (13-20)
References (21-22)
Special Thanks (23)

The Rainbow Warrior

And to think it could have been Rob's Folly!

The Greenpeace vessel Rainbow Warrior was sunk in 1985 by agents of the French government acting illegally in New Zealand.


[1] In my last article, I reviewed the 1994 movie Darkman 2: The Return Of Durant (Bradford May, 1992) starring Renee O'Connor. This month I thought it would be a good idea to take a look at the other half of that dynamic duo of the ancient world, Lucy Lawless.

[2] My choice of movies starring Ms. Lawless is limited by her only appearing in two movies, her second being the 1995 movie Peach (Christine Parker), one of a number of short films in a series called Women From Down Under, which is not available in Australia,

[3] Thankfully, I was able to find a copy of her first film, the 1992 movie The Rainbow Warrior (Michael Tuchner), (also known as The Sinking Of The Rainbow Warrior). Ms Lawless plays the role of one of the minor characters, Rainbow Warrior crew member, Jane Redmond. She only appears on screen for about 3 minutes, and has less than a dozen lines.

The Real Rainbow Warrior

[4] For those unfamiliar with the true story that this movie is based on, on July 10, 1985 the Greenpeace ship "Rainbow Warrior" was moored at Waitemata Harbor in Auckland, when at 11:50 PM two explosions rocked the ship and sank it in four minutes.

Unfortunately, people don't come back like they do in the Xenaverse

Fernando Periera wanted to retrieve his cameras after the first explosion rocked the ship. He was killed when he was caught in a second explosion.

[5] The ship's photographer, Portuguese crewman Fernando Periera, was killed by the second explosion after returning to his cabin for his camera. No warning was made to allow the innocent crew of the Rainbow Warrior to escape to safety.

[6] The Auckland police initially dismissed any idea of the bombing being a terrorist act, or even that there was any involvement by the French Government. The thought seemed too fantastic to believe. Soon the police began to piece together the almost unthinkable -- that the sinking of The Rainbow Warrior was a deliberate act of terrorism by one "friendly" nation on another.

[7] The police soon became interested in the movements and activities of two groups of French-speaking tourists, the crew of the yacht Ouvea, and newlyweds, Alain and Sophie Turenge. When eyewitness accounts linked the two parties, the Turenge's were arrested and questioned.

[8] As the Ouvea had left New Zealand the day before the bombing, the Turenge's became the prime suspects. Soon their story began to fall apart. The Turenge's were discovered to be Major Alain Marfat, and Captain Dominique Prieur, agents of the French secret service, the DGSE.

[9] The Auckland police then began searching for the Ouvea, and when it arrived at the Australian controlled territory of Norfolk Island, the yacht was thoroughly searched. The New Zealand officials were only able to hold the yacht for 24 hours, and when it left it was never seen again. It is believed that the yacht was scuttled and the crew returned to France after being picked up by a French submarine.

[10] Whether it was arrogance, or over-confidence, there had been little effort taken by the bombers to hide their activities, or the equipment they used. The forensic evidence from the search of the Ouvea, and eyewitness accounts soon helped create a substantial case against the two captured agents. The two divers that had attached the bombs to the Rainbow Warrior had even been spotted driving away in the Turenge's hired campervan!

[11] After a short two week trial, on the 22nd of November 1985, both agents were sentenced to 10 years imprisonment for their part in the plot to sink the Rainbow Warrior.

[12] As part of a repatriation agreement between the New Zealand and French Government, the bombers were transferred to the prison on the French island of Hao. In December 1987, Major Marfat was returned to France on the pretext of suffering from a stomach ailment. A pregnant Captain Prieur left in April 1988. Despite New Zealand protests, both agents have not returned to serve out their sentences.

The Movie Rainbow Warrior

Don't let Gabrielle eat the decorative coral

[13] The stars of this movie are Sam Neill, who plays Detective Superintendent Allan Galbraith, who leads the Auckland police investigation, and Jon Voight, who plays Peter Willcox, the Captain of the Rainbow Warrior.

[14] The supporting cast includes the late New Zealand actor Bruno Lawrence (Grievous Bodily Harm [Mark Joffe, 1988], As Time Goes By [Barry Peak, 1988]) and Kerry Fox (Angel At My Table [Jane Campion, 1990]). Ms. Lawless has a small part playing one of the crew of the Rainbow Warrior, Jane Redmond, and the few lines that she has really shows off her normal Kiwi accent.

[15] As a bonus, one of the Auckland Police Detectives is played by Mark Ferguson, who has appeared in several episodes of Hercules , and has also played the part of Krykus in the Xena episode HOOVES AND HARLOTS (10/110). He looks a lot different in a suit and tie instead of wearing leather and wielding a sword!

[16] This is actually the second movie on this subject, the first being an Australian movie called The Rainbow Warrior Conspiracy (Chris Tomson), made in 1989. Now that's a title to prick up the ears of any serious X-Files fan!

[17] The reason that I have mentioned this movie is that I actually saw some of it being filmed. Right across the road from my workplace is an old overgrown cemetery, which is where they shot a small segment that only lasted on screen for about 30 seconds.

[18] I was walking to work early one morning when I noticed a number of film trucks parked next to the cemetery. As I walked around one truck, I almost bumped into Jack Thompson, the lead actor. After apologizing, I quickly backed away. What a way to start the day !

[19] As most of this cemetery is badly overgrown, the film crew had used a wide laneway that divides the cemetery as a site to erect a number of fake tombstones, which from a distance looked just like they had been there since World War I. Up close, however, they were just thin sheets of plastic sheet material stapled to wooden stakes hammered into the ground! So much for the magic of movies!

[20] Well, what's the verdict? As a tele-movie, it doesn't reach any great heights of action or drama. It is simply a mostly faithful recollection of all the events in the story. As a bonus, you get to see a younger looking Ms. Lawless popping up every now and then to say one or two lines. If you can find it at your local video store, then have a look at it. It isn't a big Hollywood thriller, just a nice simple story.

Design by Joxer?


[21] Internet Movie Database

[22] The Rainbow Warrior Affair (1985): Richard Shears & Isobelle Gidley

Special Thanks

[23] Special thanks to Martin Slater for spotting a mistake I had made about the Women From Down Under series.


FullName Mark Allen
I was born in Port Pirie in South Australia in January 1966. I grew up in Wagga Wagga (it's an Aboriginal name meaning "place of many crows"!) in southern New South Wales before moving to Sydney in 1984. As a keen TV and movie viewer, I have enjoyed many great shows over the years, and put some of that wasted knowledge to good use. I compete in a weekly trivia night held in a local bar for the past 5 years. My specialty was compiling mystery sound tapes using TV ads from country areas to totally confuse everyone!. Apart from being a keen Xena fan, I am also interested in other shows, including Dr. Who, Red Dwarf, Star Trek, and the X-Files.
Favorite episode: THE GREATER GOOD (21/121)
Favorite line: Xena: "I have many skills." MANY EPISODES
First episode seen: SINS OF THE PAST (01/101)
Least favorite episode: GIANT KILLER (27/203)

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