In 1944, in France, the rogue American soldiers Lieutenant Robert Yeager, Private Fred Canfield, the murderer Tony, the thief Nick and the coward Berle are transported to a military prison. However, the convoy is attacked by the Germans and they survive and flee with the intention of cross the border of Switzerland. Along their journey, they fight against a German platoon and capture the German prisoner Adolf Sachs that offers to guide them to the Swiss border. When they meet a German troop, they kill them but sooner they discover that they actually were and American commando in a mission headed by Colonel Buckner to steal a German V2 warhead. Lt. Yeager, Fred, Tony and Nick offer to risk their lives to accomplish the mission.Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Fun, dynamite stuff, straddling 'exploitation' and high-caliber film-making
I wasn't sure at first what to expect from director Enzo G. Castellari. I saw his film 1990: Bronx Warriors and it was a lot of fun, but in that way that comes with knowing a man made a no-holds-barred exploitation rip-off on the Warriors that, truth be told, was barely even shot in the Bronx. But, of course, movie-PHD Quentin Tarantino held up this man's work, particularly this film, to such high esteem he took the title (if not the skeleton of the subject matter) for his latest opus. Why not give a late 70s war movie a shot featuring Fred "The Hammer" Williamson, one of those unsung bad-asses, and Bo Svenson, an underrated actor-cum-star, a shot? Turns out, the shot was a big surprise. In the best possible way.
Inglorious Bastards is made by a real professional, not by some slacker just looking to slap together some used sets and flunky character folk for roles. This is the real deal; if it's not one of the very best war films, it's certainly one that is one of the best you haven't heard of (least until recently thanks to the aforementioned PHD-in-film-incarnate). It's one of those "guys-on-a-mission" movies where it features a tag-line "Whatever the Dirty Dozen did – they do DIRTIER!" and with, from the looks of the trailer, either very good or very shoddy fx and a lot of ammo. Basically, a bunch of US soldiers, on their way for court-martial/execution, somehow, escape after an incident, and go on the run... only to find themselves getting embroiled in a mission involving a train, a whole s***load of Nazi's, and perhaps a few casualties here and there – few dozen to few hundred give or take.
There's barely a line wasted in this flick, barely a scene that doesn't actually try and provide its actors like Svenson and Williamson – also other very good players like Peter Hooten and Jackie Basehart and Ian Bannen as the tricky Colonel Buckner – some good meaty dialog to chew on when they're not blowing stuff up to bits (written, and I was even more surprised by this than you, by five writers). Oh, sure, you could argue that it's violent, maybe needlessly so. But that is part of the point. It actually doesn't go *too* over-the-top, not as far as I expected given its Italian-cult credibility and that of Castellari's speckled career.
The action is shot and edited with the great ferocity possible when a crew gets enough money and enough verve to push buttons. It does get bloody, and there's a pile of bodies that reaches up to a small skyscraper. But it's also a lot of fun to watch it, and it even goes beyond being a guilty pleasure into being just plain awesome. You lose yourself with these guys on their mission, with Williamson gritting and showing off why he is "The Hammer", or how Svenson could be such a persuadable star in good hands. And, yes, it probably does crib from the likes of the Great Escape (motorcycle jumps, anyone) and Bridge on the River Kwai (bridge blow-up, anyone), and at the same time it holds its own as a legitimate effort.
I imagine that's what Tarantino saw in it, its own sense of paying tribute to so many other war pictures while holding its own for a bunch of dudes watching a bunch of dudes go to extreme in Nazi-occupied France. It's surprisingly tense, terrific genre film-making that doesn't force the Platoon treatment – it just asks you go just a little "Dirtier" with the flow of the average war flick, like Sam Fuller with a face full of pasta yelling out orders.
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