Following the huge international success of Robert Aldrich's "The Dirty Dozen", Italian and Spanish directors began to crank out very similar-looking action flicks. "Commando Attack" is probably among the worst of the slew of commando movies to "grace" the late 1960s, distinguishable only because of the appearance by screen legend Michael Rennie (!) and a superb Bruno Nicolai score.
American commandos are given three days to locate and destroy a radio station in Normandy. The "commandos" are all volunteers, mostly misfits and off-kilter types, immediately bringing to mind the dregs of the famed "Dirty Dozen".
Director Klimovsky doesn't seem to care much for accuracy in any aspect of his film. All he wants to do is deliver enough action to satisfy any blood-hungry viewer and rip-off "The Dirty Dozen" to make a fast buck as quickly as possible. The Americans wear surplus NATO uniforms, the only accurate thing about them being the helmets. One officer is seen to bearing a post-WWII Air Force blue uniform, even though the Air Force didn't exist as an independent branch of the armed forces until WWII was over. Americans and Germans alike are armed with modern weapons, including Beretta sub-machine guns and G3 assault rifles.
For an action-based movie, one would think the director would at least make sure his combat scenes looked decent. Instead, Klimovsky disregards any realism. The Americans wander about the French countryside, killing off dozens of German soldiers who conveniently show up whenever the pace lags, as well as blowing up a few tanks, trucks and halftracks! And the German area command doesn't realize that enemy commandos have landed in their territory? The German soldiers are total incompetents, who can't seem to raise, aim or fire their weapons and simply allow themselves to be mowed down by substantially smaller and insufficiently armed Allied troops.
What ought to be a climactic ending turns into a blatant Dirty Dozen rip-off, as the commandos assault a huge French château in a halftrack, shooting up the place and killing hordes of onrushing German soldiers. This sequence probably features the most unintentionally funny scenes in the movie, the first being a shot of an animated (!) château exploding and the second being a scene of a German soldier running by the camera, his body ablaze, screaming in agony but the fire looks face and the scream sounds fake, the whole shot just looks staged.
The film is set in occupied France, but where are the cobblestone villages and French peasants who make up most of Normandy? As in "Battle of the Commandos", our heroes wander about a deserted countryside, dotted by rock quarries and scrub brush. It's evident that the film was shot in back lots of Spain, and doesn't look a thing like occupied France.
The characters are poorly developed and run together throughout. The commando leader is Sgt. Blynn (Michael Rennie, "The Battle of El Alamein"), who actually seems to be taking himself seriously. He's got some lines to utter which are supposed to be powerful, and he delivers them with conviction, despite how corny the surroundings are. His performance in the final shots is way over the top, and not to be missed for pure unintended hilarity. Bob Sullivan a European pseudonym whom I can't tie to another film as well as Guido Lollobrigida, Aldo Sambrell, Juan Luis Gagliardo and Jose Manuel Martin offer some fair support, but never get to do much because of weak scripting.
The editing is poor, the direction sub-optimal and the scenery weak. Action sequences are badly shot and poorly staged, and there is no human drama to offset this. Bruno Nicolai's awesome score is the only good thing about this movie, besides a sincere performance by Michael Rennie. Director Klimovsky would do much better in "Hell's Brigade: The Final Assault" soon hereafter.
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