Thursday, August 7, 2008

INGLORIOUS BASTARDS (Enzo G. Castellari, 1977, Italy) Inglorious Bastards in glorious color: specifically red, white, and blue! A gang of cutthroats, deserters, and thieves on their way to a military prison escape and reign destruction upon the Nazis…and anyone else who stands in their way. How can you resist a movie with the tag line: “If you’re a Kraut, He’ll take you out!” Very little exposition is needed since the setting and characters are archetypes: the tough black man, the psycho, the naïve soldier, the funny Italian, and the fighter ace chew cigars and stomp through war ravaged Europe dodging bullets, mortars, and their own prejudices while becoming unlikely heroes. The battle scenes rival the big budget Hollywood blockbusters of the time by utilizing realistic machinery, weapons, and uniforms. Creative uses of matte paintings extend the destruction beyond our focal point giving each scenario a grander scale of credibility. But the countless hip slinging aimless gunfights with random explosions and arm raising, high jump inducing deaths thankfully brings the viewer right back to B film territory. This movie is a fully loaded chattering MG34 machine gun of quick fire laughs! When the bastards are attacked by naked gun toting Nazi vixens then you know anything is possible. The ragtag ensemble eventually finds themselves fighting for a cause: not out of patriotism but for camaraderie…and for the Hell of it! When Canfield and the Colonel are captured, the others could have walked away and escaped to neutral Sweden but they choose instead to rescue their comrades. They earn the respect of the Colonel and help him recover a secret part to a new German V2 rocket that is heavily guarded and being transported on an armored train. Hilarity and violence ensue. The final Armageddon is side-splittingly over the top: I haven’t seen that many models explode since the original GODZILLA! The film’s cheesy ending includes a fiery romantic embrace. This is Grindhouse Cinema at its finest...Is that an oxymoron? (B)

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