The Inglorious Bastards (1977)
AKA Deadly Mission,The Counterfeit Commandos, G.I. Bro, Glorious Bastards
A Film by Enzo G. Castellari
Bo Svenson Peter Hooten Fred Williamson Ian Bannen Michael Pergolani Raimund Harmstorf Jackie Basehart Michel Constantin Debra Berger John Loffredo Donald O’Brien Peter Boom John Stacy Massimo Vanni Angelo Ragusa Manfred Freyberger Enzo G. Castellari
The notorious Italian action guru Enzo G. Castellari made a World War II movie back in the 70’s.
Five soldiers, including Fred Williamson (1990: The Bronx Warriors, Steele’s Law), Bo Svenson (Thunder Warrior, Brothers in Blood), Peter Hooten (2020: Texas Gladiators), and two guys who look like Tom Savini and Michael Keaton are sent to a prison away from the 1944 western front. Their convoy is destroyed en route by German bombers and their vicious psychopathic commander John Sinclair (Keoma, Hitch Hike) is killed. The group then sets off toward the Swiss border across France, which is still largely under German control. Along the way they run into German deserter Raimund Harmstorf (that meany deputy guy in Thunder Warrior 1 & 2), who helps them as a sort of guide. The group gets in all sorts of tangles with German squads, German commanders (one of whom is played by my favorite overractor Donald O’Brien of Doctor Butcher M.D. and Trap Them and Kill Them), French Resistance forces, and even fellow allied soldiers in a few instances. All this results in thousands and thousands of dead people left in the trail of these six men. A few ordeals come up and get solved in various wacky ways.
By the midpoint, however, Castellari’s trademark tons of slow motion has not yet come into play, curious… Then comes along this slam-bang train sequence at the end which is so incredibly well done, that it saves the entire movie! The film really ends with a bang and, up to then, will have you guessing which members of the team walk away.
It took a while to get going, but I really got to dig this movie. The excellent use of slow motion towards the end, the explosive action scenes, and the fleshed out, well developed and non-clich’ed characters all really added to the experience. Keep in mind it is a cheesy Italian action film, which really means nothing other than it is a ton more fun to watch (pretty damn funny at times), an all-star international cast, and a lot of surprisingly good sequences.
I really don’t want to give any of it away, but The Inglorious Bastards has several high points and low points, the lows easy to ignore and the highs pretty damn cool! If you don’t agree that watching a movie like this is a good time, then you may as well go out and dig a really deep hole in the ground and throw yourself inside it, as this world could really stand live without you! I’m just kidding on that last bit, but hell if you have seen Castellari’s other work (such as Keoma and Escape from the Bronx) and liked it as much as I did, there is no doubt in my mind you will get a kick out of this movie. Enzo G. Castellari must be greatest director who ever lived… yes, GREATER than Fulci or Argento. His movies are so incredibly watchable and wacky enough so you can watch them several times and not get bored.
The point is, these old action movies from the late 70’s, early 80’s are almost always passed off by the usual video store patron as “garbage”, when actually you can tell more effort was put in to them to entertain. …NOT just to make a few million bucks like the Armageddons and Godzillas of today. Anyway, this is a rare action flick which more people should see, especially fans of Italian action and people who thought “Saving Private Ryan” was a bit too overblown.
NOTE - This movie was quite surprising in its depiction of war so ridiculously action packed and fun to watch. It was the common trend by that time to make war movies all powerful and shit, take Apocalypse Now or The Deer Hunter (made the same year). Gotta love those Italians, they know what a fun film is all about.
IMDb.com ENTRY; http://us.imdb.com/title/tt0076584/