The Inglorious Bastards

Reviewed by

Christopher Armstead

Some movies that my man Quentin Tarantino makes I like, some movies the cat makes I don’t like as much but one thing’s for sure, almost every movie that the man steals from I am almost guaranteed to like since we apparently have similar tastes when it comes to the glorious exploitative movies of the 1970’s. Whatever country that they come from. So when Mr. Tarantino released his WWII movie ‘Inglorious Basterds’ knowing that there is an 1970’s Italian war movie with a similar title. Note that few movies has as many titles as this one as it also goes by ‘Deadly Mission’, ‘Hell’s Heroes’, ‘Counterfeit Commandos’ and of my course my personal favorite ‘G.I. Bro’ – if you’re a Kraut, He’ll take you out. This was a movie I made it point to add to my viewing collection. Not surprisingly Enzo G. Castellari’s ‘war’ movie did not disappoint as it was just the kind of entertaining complete and total nonsense that you would expect to come out of an Italian studio in the 1970’s.

Germany… 1944. I guess. I’m not sure they actually told me where this movie is set, but I do know that wherever the hell it is it borders Switzerland... or Sweden. Say hello to a group of rogue soldier being transported to various degrees of punishment be it prison, court martial or the firing squad. Who are these men? Well I’m glad you asked. There’s tough African American Pvt. Canfield (Fred Williamson) who occasionally murders racist sergeants who foolishly call him out of his name, then there’s Gambling Tony (Peter Hooten) the bigoted Chicago mob hand who likes to call Canfield out of his name and gets beat up for his trouble. Next we have cowardly Pvt. Berle (Jackie Basehart) who has a keen sense of mechanics but alas flees from the slightest hint of danger. First a note about Pvt. Berle’s ‘keen sense of mechanics’… whenever a truck or something breaks down they dispatch Pvt. Berle, the mechanic, not to fix the truck but get behind the wheel of other trucks and use the key stuck in said truck to see if it starts. Now I don’t jack about ‘mechanics’, but I can do that. We also have Nick (Michael Pergaloni) the master thief and finally ace fighter pilot Lt. Yeager (Bo Svenson) who likes to joy ride in his jet to Sweden to visit the ladies. This is apparently not Standard Air Force protocol. Learn something new everyday.

So cool, our heroes are being ferried to their destination when a Kraut fighter plane alters their destinies. Initially the plan was to get to neutral Switzerland… or Sweden and party on but then they stumble upon some Kraut bastards and since they were there they decided they might as well kill them. You see our bastards aren’t necessarily bad guys, just a bit misunderstood. I mean despite the fact these dudes are murderers, thieves and mobsters they immediately take orders from Lt. Yeager because he’s an officer. Protocol baby. But seriously, these cats are messing up some Germans pretty good. Perhaps a little too good. It’s complicated. This complication leads to our heroes joining the French resistance and taking on a secret mission under the guide of one Colonel Buckner (Ian Bannen) to infiltrate a German fortress and stop them from delivering this killer bomb they have in their possession. Col Buckner isn’t happy about using these criminals for this critical mission but considering something happened to his previous highly trained and prepared crew, it’s complicated, he has little choice.

Yes, they may be bastards but dammit if they don’t bleed red white and blue. Not all of our bastards are going to make it but considering the odds… that being the entire German army versus six of our random criminal minded soldiers… those Krauts are seriously up against it.

Now I cannot speak to the tactical or historical accuracy of this movie ‘The Inglorious Bastards’ because quite honestly if the German army was as lousy as they are portrayed in this movie I doubt they could’ve conquered their own back yard much less most of Western Europe. But who really cares about any of that when one is talking about a spaghetti war movie? What we have here my friends is an action flick in the truest sense of word ‘action flick’ and one that never even thinks about slowing down to start making any kind of logical sense. We’re just happy to see Fred Williamson play a forty year old Army Private and say cool stuff. We’re happy to see naked Italian women playing naked German women that pick up automatic machine guns and open fire on some suckaz. We’re pleased to watch Bo Svenson Walk Tall and look too cool in his Ray-Bans while speaking perfect German, German that his nanny taught him you see, and trick those incompetent Krauts.

Then there are the explosions and shootouts which is followed by more explosions and more shootouts. And then the movie ends with an explosive shootout. Oddly enough in between all these explosions and shootouts there is a little character development tossed in which forces us to care about each and every one of our Bastards which heightens the tension when they’re sneaking around tricking those idiot Krauts and also makes us sad for those Bastards who don’t quite make it. Outstanding.

While ‘The Inglorious Bastards’ might not be high art, depending on your definition of high art, it is by almost any measure high entertainment, and that’s a fact.

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