INGLORIOUS BASTARDS (1978)
Rating: 3.5 out of 4 /Buy the DVD Here
Tagline: Whatever the Dirty Dozen did, they did it dirtier!
Directed by Enzo G. Castellari
Starring:Bo Svenson, Fred Williamson, Peter Hooten, and Ian Bannen
THE PLAN: A misfit band of soldiers being hauled off to a military prison suddenly find themselves free after an attack by the Nazis destroys their convoy. Do they make a break for Switzerland, or keep fighting the good fight?
THE KILL: I don't think I need to explain why this movie is this week's REEL ACTION, do I? I've had my eye on Enzo G. Castellari's spaghetti war flick THE INGLORIOUS BASTARDS ever since (naturally) I discovered that the upcoming Quentin Tarantino film actually shares the same title (different spelling, however). Though the plotline's are completely different, Tarantino has explained that he's always wanted to make a "men on a mission" film - and BASTARDS always typified that for him. Well, having seen it, I understand why QT is such a fan. It's a blast.
Cheesy, operatic, action-packed and completely entertaining, THE INGLORIOUS BASTARDS is just what you imagine Tarantino geeking out to when he developed his love for all things violent and sensational in cinema (Italian cinema, specifically). Macho bravado and spastic violence come in equal measure - in fact, that's really all there is, as the movie has little time for anything else, including a shoehorned-in romantic subplot (where one of the bastards meets a French nurse and they arbitrarily fall in love at first sight - even though he's kind of a dick).
This isn't what it looks like.... or is it..?
I called this a spaghetti war flick (I'm sure I'm not the first); well that it is. A less sophisticated Sergio Leone, Castellari is isn't much concerned with telling a realistic tale of the horrors of WWII; more content is he to let a sometimes playful, even ballsy, storyline play out. We ride along with our quirky platoon (of course, they're all different personality types: one's a redneck racist, one's a tough-talking leader, one's a coward, one's a mischievous Italian, and one's Fred Williamson) as they go from encounter to encounter; meeting a cooperative German, happening upon a surprising bevy of naked ladies, and even - quite brutally - accidentally murdering a group of fellow Americans disguised as Nazis. All the time, they exchange withering, but good-natured, barbs with each other - although the tension between the racist and Williamson's tough private is understandably palpable.
The long (looong) trailer for INGLORIOUS BASTARDS!
Being a spaghetti war flick, it's of course badly dubbed (even though, for the most part, it involves American actors speaking English). Castellari isn't quite the visual genius Leone was; the movie is fairly simply staged and the action sequences aren't anything special (usually a two-shot of one guy shooting another guy). That said, once the movie gets to its finale, Castellari gets surprisingly serious, using slow-mo and amping up the dramatics, as well as initiating soaring music to go along with flying bodies and exploding buildings (aka badly unconvincing models). For a movie that had been pretty much a trifle, it's an unusual move to end on this note of destruction and dismay. It puts a memorable cap on the experience, however.
Fred gets sensitive when you laugh at his gun
TOP DEATH: When Fred "The Hammer" Williamson chokes a douchebag sergeant with his bare hands, it's badassery at its finist.
TOP ACTION: The entire finale, where the Bastards board a train filled with Germans and hope not to get blown up along with a bridge.
FEMALE EXPLOITATION: We get to see a bunch of topless bathing beauties in one sequence. Unfortunately, they're Nazis, but what are ya gonna do...
HOMOEROTIC MOMENT:Lots of drawn out staring and smiling at each other, these bastards sure always seem to enjoy traveling together...
TOP DIALOGUE: Canfield (Williamson) to his gun: "Miss me baby?"
DRINKING GAME: Drink up every time the Bastards miraculously evade getting shot. These guys dodge more bullets than The A-Team!
TRIVIA: Alternate titles for THE INGLORIOUS BASTARDS: G.I. BRO, DEADLY MISSION, THE DIRTY BASTARD, COUNTERFEIT COMMANDOS, COMMANDO BASTARDS... the list goes on.
Quentin Tarantino went on to work with two of these Bastards: Bo Svenson (in KILL BILL Vol. 2) and Fred Williamson (in FROM DUSK TIL DAWN). Svenson also has a small role in QT's BASTERDS.