Sgt. Sullivan puts together a group of Italian-Americans into disguise as Italian soldiers in order to infiltrate a North African camp held by the Italians. After the soldiers have knifed ... See full summary »
Sgt. Sullivan puts together a group of Italian-Americans into disguise as Italian soldiers in order to infiltrate a North African camp held by the Italians. After the soldiers have knifed the Italians in their beds, they find a hooker living at the camp. Sullivan's commandos are to hold this camp and its weaponry until an American battalion arrives, all the while these Italian-Americans pretend to be Italian soldiers, often hosting the enemy. Lt. Valli is a young, "green," by-the-book officer who constantly argues with Sgt. Sullivan, who tells his superior that he has no idea what he is doing. One man on the base, probably a touch from Argento, is an entomologist who is needlessly killed. Things go terribly wrong after that. Written by
Scott Hutchins <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Hopefully, they were wearing their Italian badges of rank more properly than than as yanks. Captains bars are never worn centered on the epaulet of a dress uniform. Only a General's star is ever worn centered at this location. All others are worn out on the sewed-down part. If Italians were dropped behind American lines as a "captain" was wearing his that way, they would have been suspect immediately. See more »
I've now watched this one about five times and just don't get the vibe. It might be because this is more or less a straight-up war movie that happened to be made by Italians rather than a Spaghetti Western with tanks instead of horses. The film seems to be lacking in the "fun" department too, with a heavy handed musical score, shameless overacting by the usually more low-keyed Lee Van Cleef, a cast of hundreds of nobody's rather than just a dozen or so, and a brooding sense of doom that builds into an over-the-top final battle scene where everyone of importance to the movie dies horribly. Thank God. Even the funky desert goggles couldn't liven things up, might as well kill everybody.
War Is Hell and of course it shouldn't be fun, so fans of mainstream war films will perhaps enjoy this more than the cultists -- and they got the stupid machine guns + uniforms etc right for once, thank freakin' God for that ... I also recognize another Euro War formula element here, and that is the Singing Germans scene. This is where the decadence of the Nazi chic is portrayed by having the high ranking "Krauts" sit around a table enjoying first a hearty, fattening meal & then group-assaulting whatever liquor is on hand. Preferably expensive French wine (looted from the innocent) or top shelf German schnapps (withheld from the lower ranks). And as they get drunk, the Germans begin to sing some Vaterland schnitzel song that has them waving glasses, embracing each other, smiling like fools, and not noticing as the spy in their midst readies his stiletto for a quick execution or perhaps French Partisans loot the ammo dump. Look for Singing German scenes in HELL IN NORMANDY, CHURCHILL'S LEOPARDS and BATTLE OF THE LAST PANZER for more information.
COMMANDOS does have a great sequence where the captured Italian officers break out of their jail cell to fight their American commando captors, and like with Umberto Lenzi's DESERT COMMANDOS this movie sort of tricks you into rooting for the Axis soldiers, including a sympathetic German officer who comes off as rather a decent chap. Lee Van Cleef on the other hand comes across as a sweaty faced, sneering, jittery psychopath barely able to contain his homicidal rage, and the best image of the film has him staring into the eyes of a dead man he killed with his bare hands, reliving a flashback to a disastrous raid gone bad from his days fighting in the Pacific. He is a great exaggeration of the battle scarred WW2 vet, burnt out to the point of not caring about the difference between right & wrong, but so over-wrought that you wish someone would get him his black suit & horse.
The closing battle is a doozy for sure, but I don't know about this one: It's a slog, and sense desperation in the 26 credited scriptwriters. And by the way, those miraculous widescreen bargain bin releases were made from a (now discontinued) Japanese DVD release -- "Clara Vision" or "Front Row" didn't do anything but rip off a nice rare DVD for their commercialized re-burn, and congratulating them for their work is like rooting for BitTorrent. Welcome to the world of public domain genre films, where the point is to rip off the best version possible, undercut the original releases with a ridiculously/suspiciously low price, and as such de-value a rugged little distinctive movie into a bit of garbage on sale for $.49 cents in the store where people go to buy things like forks, mutated Doritos or cheap party decorations.
If that's your idea of progress, here you go.
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