The Plot: A group of inmates within the military are brought together for movement to a different prison. When the nazis assault the jeep that they’re being moved in however, these misfit troops are given the opportunity to escape! The five that escape decide to team up and head for safety, away from the war once and for all. However, along the way they are presented with the opportunity to save their own necks by helping along with a big military operation. Will these Inglorious Bastards do the right thing?
The Review: I know at this point it’s a disservice to Inglorious Bastards to talk about Quentin Tarantino and his future film of the same name (though not bearing any resemblance to this actual bit of Italian cinema), but you do have to give the guy credit. Without Tarantino, I wouldn’t even be writing this review. Without Tarantino, I would have just spent the past couple of hours completely enthralled by one of the most entertaining bits of war cinema I have ever had the pleasure to witness. Without Tarantino, truthfully there are a lot of films I would have missed out on and chances are you would have to. Okay, okay, the guy is a bit of a motormouth; true. He can also be annoying, depending on your disposition – but there’s no questioning the man’s film knowledge and his tremendous devotion to genre cinema. Whereas guys like me or guys/gals like you, we may not pay immense attention to the credits when they roll by at the beginning of the films we watch. Tarantino however more than likely can tell you who the set designer on any given film might have been without one visit to the IMDB. He has that sort of brain, the kind that latches onto information and is at all times willing to let it spill out. Whether you like him or not, he really is that sort of guy and it has been thanks to his popularity and perseverance that a lot of really great films have seen distribution worldwide. Inglorious Bastards is just the latest, which has received a magnificent 3-Disc DVD special edition from Severin Films who have promoted the film wonderfully. It has been everywhere and even those who have never heard the name Enzo G. Castellari are turning their heads in interest. For those who find the film simply for the magnificent thirty minute back and forth interview on the disc between Enzo and Tarantino, all the better – because this isn’t the sort of film that should leave you disappointed. It is a ridiculously fun film packed full of action and featuring a wicked cult-film cast. Fred Williamson in another one of my reviews? You know it, and the Hammer doesn’t star in bad pictures!
The “Macaroni Combat” subgenre is pretty new to most everyone stateside here. The films simply haven’t been readily available over here so the knowledge database on these kind of flicks is pretty limited so far – but I expect this to start changing as we may see quite a few similar films getting releases if Inglorious Bastards gathers up enough success. Look how far the Poliziotteschi genre has come in the past few years! As my first taste of this genre, I can’t imagine any of the films getting better so I won’t set my hopes up too high for the entire genre but Inglorious Bastards does set a pretty high benchmark for just about any genre. Inglorious Bastards is certainly a film that plays by conventions and generally sticks to the genre pretty closely – but at the same time, it’s the lengths it takes in completing the formula and pushing it to its extremes that makes it so special. Sort of like the saying that having two of anything great is better than one, well having all of the cliches of a genre pushed to their very limits and made spectacle of – well, a better movie it does indeed make! What would you expect from the genre? Espionage, it has that. Action? It has an INSANE amount of that! Especially in the final minutes where things almost get absurd in the “cool” department. How about characters? You’ve got it all here, in the same vein as The Dirty Dozen and other older war movie fare – the characters really had to stand out and take on a macho superhero state. This isn’t exactly a difficult feat however when you have both Bo Svenson and Fred Williamson in the two leads, two men who have that “larger than life” onscreen presence about them and were absolutely in their prime for this particular film. Listening to Williamson talk at length about working with Enzo and his feel for the Italian movie industry on the DVD for 1990: The Bronx Warrirors, I am taken back to his statement that he never understood why Italian filmmakers didn’t make more war pictures – since they already had the sets, uniforms and ability to make these sorts of films more easily than ripping off big budget Hollywood FX movies. Now, when I picture his saying that, I know this particular film had to be in the back of his mind because of his films made in Italy this is without a doubt one of his best and it really does make you wish there were more like it. A roaring adventure tale that grabs up the audience at the start and never stops running. I can’t remember the last time I had so much fun with a movie and had such a positive reaction to it after viewing.
For all of its spectacular adventure, charm, action, charisma and intelligence – of course Inglorious Bastards is a relatively simple genre film. Most film reviewers would find this fact too jarring to rate it as highly as I am about to – but I can’t help myself. If you’re looking for a piece of majestic film work that goes all out in delivering gritty, tough and superbly choreographed action – this is your movie. Fred Williamson JUMPS ONTO A MOVING TRAIN! With no stunt double! Our characters shoot down from a zip-line out the side of a castle! There are explosions, slow motion, squibs galore and so many other great memorable moments that I don’t care to spoil. If you’re not a big fan of older War cinema, films like The Great Escape, The Guns of the Naverone, The Dirty Dozen, etc. then this film may only appeal to you slightly but if you would like to see that sort of old Hollywood feel re-created with an even more boisterous tone and with all of the excitement elevated beyond measure – Inglorious Bastards is the picture for you. I won’t call it a perfect movie, it is what it is – but it does it better than anyone else. I give it the Stubbing Award and a five out of five. Hopefully I won’t be crucified for this one – but hey, I am in love with this movie!