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Pier Paolo Capponi
I have to be honest and say that I don't generally have much interest in war films and thus my only reason for bothering with this film was due to the fact that it's directed by one of my favourite horror directors, the great Umberto Lenzi. Like most directors that made films in Italy during the sixties, seventies and eighties; Lenzi dipped his hand in many different genres and while he was always best at Polizi flicks and Giallo (in spite of being most famous for blood splattered cannibal and zombie films), Lenzi was clearly talented enough to make films outside of his 'comfort zone', and for a cheap World War 2 thriller; Desert Commandos is actually not too bad. The film takes place somewhere towards the end of World War 2 and focuses on a group of German commandos who parachute into the desert with a special mission. The group, dressed as British soldiers, must make their way to a secret meeting that is taking place between the allied 'Big three' - Churchill, Roosevelt and Stalin - and eliminate the powerful trio.
The plot is fairly preposterous and obviously a work of fiction. As mentioned, I'm not a fan of war films in general; so I haven't seen many so I don't have a lot to compare this film to. Umberto Lenzi was obviously not too concerned with reality, and I found it odd how the group of fascist, racist Nazi's easily found help from an Arab woman in the desert. The film is different to most western war films in that our 'heroes' are actually German and the British and American troops are the antagonists. The first two thirds of the film are fairly interesting but never truly fascinating as all we really have to go on is the interaction between the various members of the group and as you can probably imagine considering the type of film that this is; none of them are particularly interesting. Still, there's a fair few action scenes to keep the action ticking over. The film tries to become a bit deeper in the final third and while this doesn't really come off; the final scenes are better than what went before it. I wouldn't really recommend this film as I'm sure there are better war films out there; but on the other hand, I'm sure there's worse too.
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