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RUNNING TIME: 99 Minutes
• A conversation with Quentin Tarantino and Enzo G. Castellari – an all new featurette with the two legendary directors
• Train Kept-A-Rollin’ – Documentary
• Back to the War Zone- Locations Featurette
• Theatrical Trailer
• Bonus Soundtrack CD
The tagline says it all- “Whatever the Dirty Dozen Did, They Do It Dirtier!”
Director: Enzo G. Castellari (1990: The Bronx Warriors)
Writers: 5+ Italians
Starring: Fred ‘The Hammer’ Williamson, Bo Svenson (Kill Bill), Ian Bannen (From Beyond the Grave)
A group of jailed WWII soldiers are heading for their court-martial when Germans attack. They manage to escape and fight both American and German troops to attempt to get to the border of Switzerland and certain freedom, but are swept up into a top-secret mission to infiltrate the Nazis in France.
Most of you probably are familiar with this title from the fact that Quentin Tarantino is “remaking” it. He’s really not, he just loves the basic plot of the film and is taking it for his own. It’s not much of a surprise… the “good guys who aren’t that good” idea is something he’s worked with countless times in the past. He knows that it’s the antiheros that really get us into a film.
The film is actually a truly fun action movie, one of the old spaghetti flicks that never got its due in this country.
Germans are known for being a bit of a spazzy race, but nowhere is this more evident than during the impromptu dance sequence.
The Package (Note that there’s both a single disc version and a deluxe 3-disc set, which is what I’m reviewing here. The single discs of both are the same.) The first disc contains the most talked-about feature in this set, the conversation between Enzo G. Castellari and Quentin Tarantino. It’s no slouch either, as both directors trade old stories and have a lot to talk about. Besides the films they’ve made/will make, they’ve even worked with some of the same actors (two from this film alone!) 40 entertaining minutes, and Tarantino surprisingly lets Castellari talk a little bit, too!
Bo Svenson plays the leader of sorts, but everyone knows this is Fred
Williamson’s flick. The guy really had something back then, a charisma
and power to him that few could match. He’s great here as he ventilates Nazis left and right with a
ever-present cigar jammed in his teeth. They also get a lot of great
jokes out of the fact that at parts he’s a black dude trying to pretend
to be a Nazi.
What makes it work is that all of the soldiers have a great personality. Sure, it’s easy to explain who is who. We’ve got the leader, the black guy who doesn’t take shit, the racist, the kleptomaniac, the wuss that has to prove himself- but they all work beautifully as this team of scumbags.They are inglorious
bastards, after all, only looking out for themselves.
It’s a gigantic action film, too, as this isn’t some small production. The
armies feel like real armies, with tons of soldiers and vehicles and locations used. The special effects are pretty fantastic as well, with a veritable ton of
shit blowing up. This is an action film from a time when the leads
did stunts themselves, and you’ll be more sucked into the film when you
see them running across the top of a train or taking a zipline down
from a Nazi building.
Fred Williamson’s only hatred was directed towards Strawmen.
But as violent as it is, it’s not very bloody, and it’s remarkable how
light-hearted the film is. Some of it can be contributed to the hammy
acting by the leads (especially by Williamson, who has a lot of fun
mugging for the camera) but really the whole cast is having a ball.
Sure, entire generations of Germans are killed (you might call it a
holocaust) but our heroes hardly think anything about killing them, or the
Americans who are after them, for that matter.
They don’t make action flicks like this any more. Quite a fun film, perfect for a guy’s night with good friends, good beers and a few cigars to chew on.
The Bridge 2: Twice the Jumpers!, while exciting, was not quite the critical success the first was.
This is one great-looking package. The movie looks like it could have been shot this decade, instead of back in 1978. There’s no shortage of extas, either.
Fred loved when Dirty Sanchez played with him.
The second disc has a feature length documentary about filming this movie in Italy,
and it’s a fascinating look at European cinema back in the day, where
actors like Fred Williamson and Bo Svenson were regarded as action
stars and made tons of films. Since it’s so long ago the people don’t
mince words about what it was like working with each other, and it
makes for a very complete and warts-and-all look at this incredibly fun movie. You’ll be
amazed at how many matte shots there were, and on the flipside how many
times the actors were in real danger. Well edited and really required
viewing for any fan of the film.
There’s also a great 13-minute featurette where Castellari goes to a
bunch of locations from the film and talks about shooting them. He has
a great memory considering he’s talking about something 30 years after
the fact (I can hardly remember what I ate for lunch yesterday) and he
goes into a lot of detail to show how they set up a lot of the big
showpieces of the film.
The cd that’s considered the third disc of the set is a bit of a
letdown, though, as it’s only 4 tracks, and very scratchy ones at that. Guess
when it claims the cd is full of the “Only Surviving Original Music” they weren’t kidding…
this cd sounds like it fought its way to get to you. Great tunes,
though, pumping wartime music that’ll only make you wish the rest of it
Fantastic set. If you’re not interested in the documentary, pick up the
single disc, as it’s considerably cheaper- but know that you’re missing
OVERALL 9.0 out of 10
(Note that there’s both a single disc version and a deluxe 3-disc set, which is what I’m reviewing here. The single discs of both are the same.)
The first disc contains the most talked-about feature in this set, the conversation between Enzo G. Castellari and Quentin Tarantino. It’s no slouch either, as both directors trade old stories and have a lot to talk about. Besides the films they’ve made/will make, they’ve even worked with some of the same actors (two from this film alone!) 40 entertaining minutes, and Tarantino surprisingly lets Castellari talk a little bit, too!