(15) 87min (Optimum DVD rental/retail)
‘War’ as the French statesman, physician and journalist Georges Clemenceau remarked ‘is too serious a matter to entrust to military men.’ But then again he never met this raggle-taggle bunch of escaped convict GIs, who become accidental heroes in occupied France during WW2. Workaholic Italian action director Enzo G Castellari’s very fine 1978 war actioner brings together the vengeful nihilism of Robert Aldrich’s The Dirty Dozen with the MacGuffin led fatalism of HG Clouzot’s Wages of Fear. With a tremendously high body count, great special effects (until the final melting miniature train sequence) and well pitched performances from an international cast (some dubbed) that includes Bo Svenson, Fred Williamson, blue eyed cynic Peter Hooten, Michael Pergolani and the great Ian Bannen. This is the kind of war movie they really don’t make anymore.
It is little wonder that Tarantino opted the rights to this film years ago but since the box office failure of Death Proof, Tarantino’s stock amongst financiers and studios is pretty low, so we will see if his version of this great, largely forgotten war movie ever gets made. In the meantime enjoy the original. No extras.