REVIEW: PASSCHENDAELE

CAST

Paul Gross (Aspen Extreme)
Caroline Dhavernas (Devil)
Joe Dinicol (Arrow)
Meredith Bailey (Heartland)
Gil Bellows (Blind Horizon)
Adam Harrington (The Secret Circle)
Michael Greyeyes (Dance Me Outside)
Landon Liboiron (Altitude)

Passchendaele (2008)In the spring of 1917 after Vimy Ridge, Sergeant Michael Dunne of the 10th Battalion, CEF survives heavy combat but suffers from shellshock. He is sent home for recovery as a war hero for taking out a German machine gun position. While in hospital in Calgary, Alberta, he meets nurse Sarah Mann (Caroline Dhavernas), where he had originally enlisted. David Mann (Joe Dinicol) is Sarah’s younger brother, ineligible for military service due to asthma but determined to enlist. The Mann’s are ostracized when it becomes known their father died at Vimy Ridge when with the Imperial German Army. The father of David’s girlfriend pulls strings to allow him to enlist. Dunne feels responsible for David’s wellbeing and reenlists as a private under his mother’s maiden name McCrae.Passchendaele (2008)David and Michael end up in the battlefields of Belgium. Sarah also enlists and follows the 10th as a nurse in triage at an Advanced Dressing Station near the front. The three arrive in Flanders in time for the Battle of Passchendaele. Dunne and Sarah soon meet up again when Dunne brings a wounded man to the aid station. Dunne’s cover as McCrae is soon blown, he manages to escape punishment and is promoted to platoon leader by Lieutenant Colonel Ormond, who knew him from earlier combat, when his past actions “should have got a V.C.” and because of the need for experienced soldiers as high casualties were expected.Passchendaele (2008)When the Canadians launch their attack, the 8th Battalion (Winnipeg Rifles), known as the Little Black Devils, faces a German counterattack and become pinned down. Dunne’s company is sent to support them. After the support company arrives, the 8th Battalion retreats from the battlefield, wrongly believing that they are finally relieved, leaving the job of holding the ground to Dunne’s small force. As the reality of the war begins to set in, David Mann begins to realize the war was not what he believed it would be. Dunne’s forces spend the night in their trenches, and as a result of the shelling, David begins to have an asthmatic/panic attack and Dunne calms him down, relieving the problem.

gross-930x600The next morning the Germans counter-attack, and make it as far as the line, and both forces attack each other in close quarters combat. As the Germans retreat, David breaks down and chases them back to surrender. He jumps into their trenches and is met by a gun to the face where he begs in German. He is about to be shot when an artillery shell lands and the explosion throws him onto what is effectively a cross, created by walkway timbers from the trench. He is visually crucified by the explosion. This relates to Dunne’s earlier story of the legendary report of the crucified soldier. When Dunne sees this he takes his helmet off, throws his gun down and runs to David, in a reckless attempt to keep his promise to keep him alive, getting shot in the process. He crawls to the cross on his knees, looking up at it. The Germans stop firing and allow him to retrieve David, whom he carries back to his own lines. The fighting swiftly resumes with a shell landing. David lives, but Dunne is carried to the hospital where he dies after his last words with Sarah. This happens just as the news comes in that the Canadians have captured Passchendaele Ridge. The ending scene shows David Mann, who now has only one leg and uses a wheelchair; Sarah Mann; David’s girlfriend Cassie; and Dunne’s best friend Royster (Gil Bellows) paying tribute at Dunne’s grave on his home farm. The marker has been altered to remove the “5” of 1915 and changed to 1917. The camera then pans out and the background alters to a field of hundreds of Canadian war graves with a riderless horse on the horizon.imageAll in all, Passchendaele is a very good movie that deals with a lot of issues. While not every part of it will appeal to everyone, there’s some parts that anyone would enjoy. In an American-dominated cinema, it’s about time someone steps up and shows us that Canada also exists and suffered far worse in the first world war than America could have ever dreamt of losing.

 

 

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REVIEW: ’71

CAST

Jack O’Connell (300: Rise of an Empire)
Richard Dormer (Game of Thrones)
Charlie Murphy (PEaky Blinders)
David Wilmot (King Arthur)
Sean Harris (Prometheus)
Killian Scott (The Commuter)
Sam Reid (Prime Suspect 1973)
Barry Keoghan (Dunkirk)
Paul Anderson (Robin Hood)
Jack Lowden (Denial)
Martin McCann (The Pacific)
Babou Ceesay (Rogue One)
Paul Popplewell (Fairytale: A True Story)

Jack O'Connell in '71 (2014)Gary Hook, a new recruit to the British Army, takes leave of his much younger brother Darren. Hook’s platoon is sent to Belfast in 1971 in the early years of the Troubles. Under the leadership of the inexperienced Second Lieutenant Armitage, his platoon is deployed to a volatile area where Catholic Republicans and Protestant Loyalists live side by side. The unit provides support for the Royal Ulster Constabulary as it inspects homes for firearms, shocking Hook with their rough treatment of women and children. A crowd gathers to protest and provoke the British troops who, though heavily armed, can only respond by trying to hold the crowd back.Jack O'Connell and Aaron Lynch in '71 (2014)One soldier is hit by a rock and drops his rifle to the ground. In the confusion, a young boy seizes it and runs off through the mob. Hook and another soldier, Thompson, pursue him. As the crowd’s protest violently escalates, the soldiers and police pull out, leaving the two soldiers behind. Hook and Thompson are severely beaten by a mob, until a sympathetic woman manages to calm things down. However, Thompson is suddenly shot dead at point-blank range by the Provisional Irish Republican Army (PIRA) gunman Paul Haggerty. With the crowd physically attacking him, Hook flees through streets and back alleys, eludes his pursuers, and hides in an outhouse until dark.Jack O'Connell in '71 (2014)A Protestant youngster brings Hook to a local pub that serves as a front for Loyalists. There, Hook glimpses a Loyalist group in a back room, constructing a bomb under the guidance of a member of the Military Reaction Force (MRF), the British Army’s covert counter-insurgency unit. Hook steps outside the pub just before an enormous explosion destroys the building, killing or injuring many of those inside, including the young boy who brought him there. Hook flees once more into the dark streets. Unaware that the Loyalist bombers have blown themselves up accidentally, the PIRA and Official Irish Republican Army (OIRA) factions accuse each other of being responsible for the bombing. Two Catholics, Eamon and his daughter Brigid, discover Hook as he lies in a street unconscious and injured by shrapnel. They take him to their home in the Divis Flats area before discovering he is a British soldier. Eamon, a former army medic, stitches Hook’s wounds.Jack O'Connell in '71 (2014)Despite the PIRA’s having recently taken control of the area from the OIRA, Eamon contacts senior OIRA official Boyle for help, expecting a more humane solution than the PIRA faction would allow. Boyle, less radical and violent than the younger PIRA members, has a working relationship with the MRF and tells MRF Captain Browning, leader of the local MRF section, of Hook’s whereabouts and asks in return that Browning kill James Quinn, a key leader of the PIRA faction, who wanted Boyle dead after clashing with him over responsibility for the pub explosion. Quinn and his PIRA squad have been tailing Boyle since the pub explosion and saw him visit Eamon’s flat without knowing why he was there. Sensing danger, Hook flees the flat, taking an assault knife he finds in a bag. He eludes the PIRA men but, unable to evade Haggerty, Hook stabs and kills him.9-71Quinn’s group captures Hook and takes him to a hideout. Quinn orders Sean, a young inexperienced teenager who in the early neighborhood persecution had hesitated killing Hook, to murder him. When Sean hesitates, Quinn prepares to execute Hook, only to leave when Browning’s group arrives. Sergeant Lewis of Browning’s group shoots Sean, to Hook’s horror. Lewis then attempts to strangle Hook to prevent him from informing others about the bomb. As Lieutenant Armitage and his men enter in support of Browning, Armitage sees Lewis’ attempt to kill Hook. Sean raises himself and shoots Lewis dead before being shot again, this time by Armitage. Browning finds Quinn, and rather than arresting him, tells him Boyle wants him dead, then lets him go. As Quinn leaves, Browning tells him he will be in touch soon, and he expects him to be helpful. Hook is returned to his barracks. Later, despite a formal complaint by Armitage, the commanding officer dismisses the incident involving Hook, Lewis, and Sean as a confused situation that merits no further inquiry. Hook returns to England and reunites with Darren.'71-2014-003-private-hook-on-back-of-army-truck-with-rifle’71 is on point. Everything is there for a reason, and it shows on screen. Struck with luck, but unlucky to have been there in the first place, Jack O’Connell prospers and carries the film even when it is unneeded and secures it as one of this year’s best thrillers.

REVIEW: DEFIANCE (2008)

CAST

Daniel Craig (Cowqboys & Aliens)
Liev Schreiber (The 5th Wave)
Jamie Bell (King Kong)
George MacKay (How I Live Now)
Alexa Davalos (Clash of The Titans)
Allan Corduner (Vera Drake)
Mark Feuerstein (Prison Break)
Tomas Arana (The Dark Knight Rises)
Jacek Koman (Children of Men)
Mia Wasikowska (The Double)

Jamie Bell and Daniel Craig in Defiance (2008)The film is based on a true story, beginning in August 1941. Nazi Einsatzgruppen (task forces) are sweeping through Eastern Europe, systematically killing Jews. Among the survivors not killed or restricted to ghettoes are the Belarusian Jewish Bielski brothers: Tuvia, Zus, Asael and Aron. Their parents are dead, killed by local police under orders from the occupying Germans. The brothers flee to the Naliboki Forest, vowing to avenge the deaths of their parents.Daniel Craig and Alexa Davalos in Defiance (2008)They encounter other Jewish escapees hiding in the forest, and the brothers take them under their protection and leadership. Over the next year, they shelter a growing number of refugees, raiding local farms for food and supplies and moving their camp whenever they are discovered by the collaborationist police. Tuvia kills the local Auxiliary Police chief responsible for his parents’ deaths and the brothers stage raids on the Germans and their collaborators. Casualties cause Tuvia to reconsider this approach because of the risk to the hiding Jews. Rivalry between the two eldest brothers, Tuvia and Zus, fuels a disagreement between them about their future; as winter approaches, Zus decides to leave the camp and join a local company of Soviet partisans, while his older brother Tuvia remains with the camp as their leader. An arrangement is made between the two groups in which the Soviet partisans agree to protect the Jewish camp in exchange for supplies.Daniel Craig in Defiance (2008)After a winter of sickness, starvation, attempted betrayal and constant hiding, the camp learns that the Germans are about to attack them in force. The Soviets refuse to help and they evacuate the camp as German dive-bombers strike. A delaying force stays behind, led by Asael, to slow down the German ground troops. The defense does not last long; only Asael and a camp member named Sofiya survive to rejoin the rest of the group, who, at the edge of the forest, are confronted with a seemingly impassable marsh. They cross the marsh with only one casualty but are immediately attacked by a German platoon supported by a Panzer III tank. Just as all seems lost, the Germans are assaulted from the rear by a partisan force led by Zus, who has deserted the Soviets to rejoin the group.Jamie Bell and Mia Wasikowska in Defiance (2008)As the survivors escape into the forest, the film ends as text on the screen states that they lived in the forest for another two years, building a hospital, a nursery, a school, growing to a total of 1,200 Jews. Original photographs of the real-life characters are shown, including Tuvia in his uniform and their fates are shared: Asael joined the Soviet Army and was soon killed in action, never getting to see the child he fathered; Tuvia, Zus and Aron survived the war and emigrated to America to form a successful trucking firm in New York City. The epilogue also states that the Bielski brothers never sought recognition for what they did and that the descendants of the people they saved now number in the tens of thousands.
defiance01Defiance is an important story that needs to be heard. Daniel Craig leads a great cast of characters in an emotional journey of community, camaraderie, and hope.

REVIEW: DAD’S ARMY

 

CAST

Toby Jones (Captain America: The First Avenger)
Bill Nighy (Wild Target)
Catherine Zeta-Jones (Side Effects)
Tom Courtenay (The Dresser)
Blake Harrison (The Inbetweeners)
Michael Gambon (Harry Potter)
Bill Paterson (Chaplin)
Daniel Mays (The Bank Job)
Sarah Lancashire (The Cry)
Mark Gatiss (Victor Frankenstein)
Mark Tandy (The Crown)
Andrew Havill (The Tudors)
Frank Williams (Jabberwocky)
Ian Lavender (The Hooligan Factory)

Catherine Zeta-Jones and Toby Jones in Dad's Army (2016)It is summer, 1944 and the invasion of Normandy is approaching. Nazi forces in France, seeking intelligence on the invasion location, send their best spy to a town on England’s channel coastline, Walmington-on-Sea. In the town, Captain Mainwaring’s Home Guard is suffering from a lack of luck and appreciation. This is until an elegant journalist, Rose Winters, arrives to report on the platoon’s motives and activities, allegedly for The Lady magazine. The platoon are charmed by her presence, especially Captain Mainwaring and Sergeant Wilson, causing feuds with the townsfolk, especially the platoon’s wives. Adding to tensions it emerges Sergeant Wilson and Rose Winters shared a past dalliance at Oxford University.Michael Gambon, Tom Courtenay, Toby Jones, Sarah Lancashire, Felicity Montagu, Bill Nighy, Bill Paterson, Daniel Mays, Philip Gascoyne, Harry Knight, and Chris Dale in Dad's Army (2016)Meanwhile, MI5 detect a radio signal transmitted from Walmington-on-Sea towards Berlin, believed to be from the Nazi spy. MI5’s Major Cunningham and Captain Meeks locate Captain Mainwaring and inform him of the enemy presence, stating “it could be anyone”. This news gives the Home Guard a chance to locate the spy and make a real difference in the war. They meet Ms. Winters who poses as a journalist while they are practicing a routine of catch the Nazi after Wilson is chosen to play the Nazi.dads-army-trailerWhile accompanying the platoon on a patrol, designated Top Secret by the British Army, Winters discovers the Dover base is intended to deceive German air reconnaissance, part of the (real) Operation Bodyguard. Winters now knows the invasion will target Normandy. As the platoon searches for the spy, Rose claims it is Sergeant Wilson. Captain Mainwaring believes Rose and arrests Wilson. However, Private Godfrey’s sisters investigate Rose and find evidence questioning her journalist credentials and that Rose has a home address in Berlin. The platoon and their wives rally to stop Winters and exchange fire with a German U-boat and a Wehrmacht landing party who are helping Winters escape. The U-boat flees without Winters boarding. Mainwaring arrests Winters and hands her over to MI5. The troop then parade through Walmington, having fought off the Nazis, and are congratulated by Colonel Theakes. Mainwaring and Wilson reconcile. Theakes underlines the platoon success by telling them they have played a prominent part in the war effort.Movie(2016)18Apparently the new Dads Army movie has some bad press. I just watched it today and the casting is spot on considering the huge shoes they had to fill. Toby Jones was brilliant and some laugh out loud moments. Loved it, good old school humour. The story is a wee bit far fetched but hey, so what, it’s good clean humour with the odd double entendre thrown in. The lovely Catherine Zeta Jones brightened up the viewing. All in all a pretty good effort.

REVIEW: THE MEN WHO STARE AT GOATS

 

CAST

George Clooney (The Monuments Men)
Ewan McGreggor (Beginners)
Jeff Bridges (Tron: Legacy)
Kevin Spacey (Horrible Bosses)
Stephen Lang (Avatar)
Robert Patrick (Terminator 2)
Waleed Zuaiter (London Has Fallen)
Stephen Root (Get Out)
Glenn Morshower (Transformers)
Nick Offerman (21 Jump Street)
Rebecca Mader (Lost)

George Clooney in The Men Who Stare at Goats (2009)In a short prelude, U.S. Army General Hopgood is painfully thwarted in an attempt to pass paranormally through a solid wall by simply running into it. The film then follows Ann Arbor Daily Telegram reporter Bob Wilton, whose wife leaves him for the newspaper’s editor. Seeking an escape, Bob flies to Kuwait to report on the Iraq War and to prove to his wife and himself that he is a man. However, he stumbles onto the story of a lifetime when he meets a retired U.S. Army Special Forces operator, Lyn Cassady, who reveals that he was part of a U.S. Army unit training psychic spies (or “Jedi Warriors”) to develop a range of parapsychological skills including invisibility, remote viewing, and phasing. The back story is told mainly through flashbacks.George Clooney and Kevin Spacey in The Men Who Stare at Goats (2009)In 1972, Army officer Bill Django, after accidentally falling out of a “Huey” helicopter in Vietnam’s Bình Dương Province, found his newly recruited men to be unable or unwilling to fire on a female Viet Cong soldier before she shot him in the chest. He then underwent a fact-finding mission prompted by a vision where the Viet Cong soldier says, “their gentleness is their strength.” The bulk of Django’s mission immersed him fully into the New Age movement so that, when he returned to Fort Bragg, North Carolina, in 1980, he had long braided hair and a tattoo of a third eye surmounted on a pyramid on his chest.Jeff Bridges in The Men Who Stare at Goats (2009)Facilitated by the credulous General Hopgood, Django led the training of a New Earth Army, with Lyn Cassady and Larry Hooper as his top students. The two quickly developed a lifelong rivalry because of their opposing views on implementing the New Earth Army’s philosophy. Lyn wanted to emphasize the teachings’ positive side, such as the ability to resolve conflict peacefully, whereas Larry was more interested in the “dark side” and its military applications.George Clooney and Kevin Spacey in The Men Who Stare at Goats (2009)Prompted by a doodle in Bob’s notebook (of an eye on a pyramid), Lyn takes him into Iraq. They are kidnapped by criminals who want to sell them to insurgents but escape with fellow hostage Mahmud Daash. They are rescued by a private security detail led by Todd Nixon. The trio flees when the detail is caught in a firefight fiasco with another American security detail. Bob and Lyn then continue on Lyn’s alleged “mission”, stating he had seen a vision of Bill Django.George Clooney, Ewan McGregor, and Waleed Zuaiter in The Men Who Stare at Goats (2009)After taking the wrong fork in the road their car is disabled by an IED. The other fork in the road actually leads to al-Qaim, Lyn’s destination, but neither of them was able to read the Arabic on the roadsigns. Bob and Lyn wander in the desert where Lyn reveals that he had stopped a goat’s heart to test the limit of his mental abilities and believes this evil deed has cursed him and the rest of the New Earth Army. It’s also revealed that Hooper conducted an unauthorized LSD experiment which resulted in a soldier killing himself, and therefore forced Django out of the Army. Eventually, Bob and Lyn are rescued and rehabilitated at a camp run by PSIC, a private research firm engaged in psychic and psychological experiments on a herd of goats and some captured locals. To Lyn’s dismay, Larry runs the firm and employs Django, now a depressed alcoholic. Bob spends time with Django and learns the ways of the New Earth Army. They spike the base’s food and water with LSD and free both the goats and captured locals, in an attempt to remove the curse. Following this, Lyn and Django fly off in a helicopter, never to be heard from again, disappearing into the sky “like all shamans”.George Clooney and Ewan McGregor in The Men Who Stare at Goats (2009)Bob returns to work as a reporter and writes an article about his entire experience with Lyn. However, he’s frustrated in that the story’s only portion to be aired on the news is how the captives were forced to listen to the Barney & Friends theme song for 24 hours. This dilutes his story to the level of a joke, and Bob vows to continue trying to get the bigger story out. In the film’s final scene, Bob exercises his own psychic abilities and, following some intense concentration, stands up and runs headlong through a solid wall in his office.George Clooney and Kevin Spacey in The Men Who Stare at Goats (2009)The Men Who Stare at Goats is a very fun movie to see. It is a movie for casual movie goers and film aficionados alike.

REVIEW: INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS (2009)

CAST

Brad Pitt (Killing Them Softly)
Melanie Laurent (Now You See Me)
Christoph Waltz (The Green Hornet)
Eli Roth (Terror Firmer)
Michael Fassbender (300)
Diane Kruger (The Host)
Daniel Brühl (Captain America: Civil War)
Til Schweiger (Driven)
Mike Myers (Austin Powers)
Julie Dreyfus (Kill Bill)
Samm Levine (Veronica Mars)
Michael Bacall (Django Unchained)
Léa Seydoux (Spectre)
Samuel L. Jackson (Avengers Assemble)
Harvey Keitel (Little Nicky)
Quentin Tarantino (Alias)

Chapter One: Once Upon a Time…In Nazi-Occupied France


In 1941, SS colonel Hans Landa, the “Jew Hunter”, interrogates French dairy farmer Perrier La Padite as to the whereabouts of the last unaccounted-for Jewish family in the area. In exchange for the Germans agreeing to leave his family alone for the rest of the war, La Padite reveals that the Dreyfus family is hidden under the floor. Landa orders SS soldiers to shoot through the floorboards. The whole family is killed except for Shosanna, a young woman who escapes when Landa decides not to shoot her as she flees.


Chapter Two: Inglourious Basterds


Three years later, Lieutenant Aldo “The Apache” Raine of the First Special Service Force recruits Jewish-American soldiers to the Basterds, who spread fear among the German soldiers by brutally killing and scalping them. The Basterds also recruit Sergeant Hugo Stiglitz, a German soldier who murdered thirteen Gestapo officers. Adolf Hitler interviews a German soldier, Private Butz, the only survivor of a Basterd attack on his squad. Raine carved the Nazi swastika into Butz’s forehead with a knife so he could never hide that he served in the German Heer.


Chapter Three: German Night in Paris

Meanwhile, Shosanna is operating a cinema in Paris under an assumed name. She meets Fredrick Zoller, a German sniper who killed 250 soldiers in a single battle; Zoller is to star in a Nazi propaganda film, Stolz der Nation (Nation’s Pride). Infatuated with Shosanna, Zoller convinces Joseph Goebbels to hold the premiere of the film at her cinema. Shosanna plots with her projectionist and lover, Marcel, to kill the Nazi leaders attending the premiere by setting the cinema ablaze.


Chapter Four: Operation Kino

Unknown to Shosanna, British Army Lieutenant Archie Hicox is working with the Basterds to plan an attack on the same premiere. Hicox goes to a tavern with Hugo Stiglitz and Basterd Wilhelm Wicki to meet with an undercover agent, the German film star Bridget von Hammersmark. A German soldier named Wilhelm engages them in friendly conversation, but Gestapo Major Dieter Hellstrom overhears them and becomes suspicious of Hicox’s German accent. Hicox convinces him that he is from the Swiss mountains, but then gives himself away by ordering three drinks and gesturing “three” with his hand (with thumb and pinky finger down); Hellstrom knows that Germans gesture “three” with the thumb and first two fingers extended. They are discovered, and the Basterds open fire, killing everyone in the tavern except Wilhelm and a wounded Hammersmark. Raine arrives and negotiates with Wilhelm for Hammersmark to be released, but the actress kills Wilhelm when he lowers his guard. Raine learns from Hammersmark that Hitler himself will be attending the film premiere and decides to continue the mission. Later, Landa investigates the aftermath at the tavern and finds one of Hammersmark’s shoes and a napkin with her signature, clues that will lead him to her.
Chapter Five: Revenge of the Giant Face

At the premiere, two of the Basterds, Donny “The Bear Jew” Donowitz and Omar Ulmer, join Raine in posing as Italians, hoping to fool the Germans unfamiliar with the language. However, Landa, who speaks fluent Italian, converses briefly with the Basterds before sending Donowitz and Ulmer to their seats. He takes Hammersmark to a private room, verifies that the shoe from the tavern fits her foot, then strangles her to death. Raine and another of his men, Smithson “The Little Man” Utivich, are taken prisoner, but Landa has Raine contact his superior with the OSS and cuts a deal: He will allow the mission to proceed in exchange for immunity and rewards.

During the screening, Zoller slips away to the projection room to see Shosanna. After she rejects his advances, he becomes aggressive. She pretends to acquiesce, then pulls a pistol from her bag and shoots him. Zoller, mortally wounded, raises his pistol and shoots her before they both die.
As the film reaches its climax, spliced-in footage of Shosanna tells the audience that they are about to be killed by a Jew. Marcel, having locked the doors of the cinema, ignites a pile of flammable nitrate film behind the screen as Shosanna’s image laughs. Ulmer and Donowitz break into the box containing Hitler and Goebbels, killing them, then fire their submachine guns into the crowd until the bombs go off, killing everyone in the theater.

Landa and his radio operator drive Raine and Utivich into Allied territory, where they surrender. Raine shoots the radio operator, carves a swastika into Landa’s forehead, and tells Utivich with a grin, “This just might be my masterpiece.”The film is audacious and hilarious. It’s  a roller coaster and one not to be missed! It’s not for everyone, certainly if you’re not a fan of Tarantino’s style, this may be a little hard to swallow, but never-the-less, it is a film which simply has to be seen. No self respecting film fan should miss this.

REVIEW: INGLORIOUS BASTARDS (1978)

CAST

Bo Svenson (Speed 2)
Fred Williamson (Vigilante)
Peter Hooten (The Soldier)
Michael Pergolani (Lost and Found)
Jackie Basehart (Festival)
Ian Bannen (Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy)
Michel Constantin (Le Trou)
Debra Berger (Rosebud)
Donald O’Brien (The Train)

Fred Williamson in Quel maledetto treno blindato (1978)In France in 1944, American soldiers Berle, a deserter; Nick Colasanti, a petty thief; Fred, nicknamed “Assassin”; Tony, a mutineer; and Lieutenant Yeager (arrested for refusing to execute orders to kill, among others, women and children) are sentenced to death for their crimes and are shipped to a prisoners’ camp near the Ardennes. During the journey to the camp, the convoy stops because of a flat tire, and Fred and Berle are ordered to change it. Their work is interrupted by a German air raid. The five criminals take advantage of the attack and escape. Yeager takes command of the group and decides to find a way to neutral Switzerland.Bo Svenson, Fred Williamson, Jackie Basehart, Peter Hooten, and Michael Pergolani in Quel maledetto treno blindato (1978)On their way, they stop at an abandoned factory in the French countryside to rest and refill their supplies. While they eat, the upper floor of the building collapses, and a German soldier appears from between the hay bundles. Captured by Yeager’s group, he tells them that he is in fact an escaped prisoner sentenced to death just like them. Although Tony and Fred want to kill him, Yeager prefers to take him along in case the Nazis attack again. Later, the group runs into a German patrol, and the captured Nazi soldier proves very helpful. He convinces the patrol that the Americans are his prisoners, and they manage to kill part of the patrol and escape. After this, the group see a group of beautiful German nurses bathing naked in a river. Nick suggests the Americans pretend to be Nazi soldiers, and they are able to get on friendly terms with the girls. However, after they see Fred, who is black, the nurses realize the men are Americans and start shooting at them. Tony, Nick, Berle and Fred run away to a nearby camp.Raimund Harmstorf, Peter Hooten, and Michael Pergolani in Quel maledetto treno blindato (1978)But the situation does not get any better. Some German soldiers arrive at the camp, and Yeager sends the captured Nazi to talk to them. After discussing something with them, the German soldier realizes that the newly arrived are in fact Americans and shouts: “Americans! Americans!” Yeager, thinking that he is telling the Nazis who the fugitives really are, starts shooting at the Germans. He, however, makes a huge mistake as Colonel Buckner tells him that the squad he shot at actually consisted of Americans dressed in Nazi uniform who were supposed to accomplish an important mission. At this point, the only solution is to trust the group led by Yeager with this task. Meanwhile, Berle meets Nicole, a French nurse of the Resistance movement. He falls in love with her but it is Tony she is crazy about. Another problem arises as Fred falls into the enemy’s hands. Yeager, Tony, Berle and Nick attack the Nazi fortifications and free their friend. After the group is reunited, Colonel Buckner explains to them the plan, according to which they are to assault an armored train shipping a prototype of the V-2 missile.Fred Williamson, Debra Berger, and Michel Constantin in Quel maledetto treno blindato (1978)According to the plan, the train is supposed to pass a mined bridge. But there are unexpected problems as Nick is unable to contact his comrades due to a broken transmitter, and is killed in an attempt to warn them. Berle is killed by the train driver, and when all hope seems to be lost, Lieutenant Yeager decides the outcome of the battle in a heroic act, in which he blows up the train with the missiles and himself on board, destroying the station assaulted by the Nazis. Ultimately, the only ones to survive are Fred (who is wounded but escapes into the French fields), Colonel Buckner, and Tony, who manages to return to NicoleThe movie have some similarity’s with “The Dirty Dozen” and it’s obvious that the film-makers got much inspiration from this great hit from the 60’s. Acting and plot is not the greatest in history, but it’s still a very exiting film. Not so much indifferent action-scenes here, like there are in many other movies of this type.