Based on a true story, believe it or not. Poor Josef Otto Klems. The man has problems. First seen cowering in a shell crater in 1918, he trades uniforms with a dead soldier (reasons remain unclear due to choppy and abrupt editing of the copy I viewed) Flash forward to Morocco in the early twenties. Otto Klems still has problems. Posted to some god awful desert hell hole, for one thing, and one of his superiors in the French Foreign Legion has designs on his booty (the man all but twirls his moustache to signify his evil intent). And if that isn't enough, the local Arab population isn't happy about the Spanish and the French putting boots on their precious desert hell-hole homeland, yadda yadda yadda. During a skirmish Sgt Klems manages to get captured by the locals but rather than get castrated (the usual punishment meted out by the heroic freedom fighters) he gets adopted. Becoming a sort of Lawrence of Arabia figure, he joins the natives in their fight against imperialism. He shows them modern weapons and tries to teach them tactics.
Hard to really judge this film. The version I viewed is chopped apart so bad that major chunks of exposition are missing, making it difficult to tell what is happening at times.The battle scenes pack a punch, however. The director has watched his Sergio Leone and he has seen the Wild Bunch, that is obvious. I am sure the full version is a better film. Peter Strauss looks like Viggo Mortensen. Based on a true story.
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