Inglorious Bastards/Review

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< Inglorious Bastards
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Occupied France in 1944: A bunch of American soldiers, each of them convicted for minor crimes, desertion or even murder, are on their way to being shipped home for court martial, as their truck breaks down and they are attacked by a German fighter plane. Many die, including military police that escorted them, and they escape. Seeking a way into distant Switzerland, the diverse group of cut-throats is now on the run, behind enemy lines, chased by the military police. On their journey, they pick up a German deserter, almost get killed by a platoon of Wehrmacht women and struggle with internal conflict, only to end up being mistaken for a team of special forces paratroopers, sent to capture V2 rocket parts from a German armored train. Seeing no way out, they take up this mission. Along with the French resistance fighters, a special forces Colonel and their own sense for survival, they embark on a crazy mission to blow up a bridge and render the Nazis' rockets useless.

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Inglorious Bastards was in fact the original title before it was changed to its current Italian title which translates to "that damn armored train" The film is one wild ride. It is Force 10 From Navarone with a twist, or The Dirty Dozen with nudity and a shot of blaxploitation. While the story is a straightforward men on a mission flick, heavily inspired by American blockbusters, it adds its own flavors to the genre and makes for a very entertaining adventure/ww2 film. Not only does the movie boast one hell of a cast, from Fred Williamson as some kind of 'GI Shaft' to Bo Svenson as a military officer, Raimund Harmstorf as a German called Adolf and Donald O'Brian as an SS commander, it also features outstanding stuntwork and action scenes, a little lovestory subplot, a group of nude bathing female German soldiers with machine guns, and lots of racism and politically incorrect dialogue as well as Italy's first usage of a steadicam! Enzo G. Castellari manages to direct a no holds barred action adventure that looks great, sounds great (Francesco de Masi's score may not be anything memorable but works perfectly) and is entertaining, too. Sure, there are a bunch of plot holes despite the five people who worked on the script, and the film does not hold up to its inspirational sources, but it is a classic in its own right, and a masterpiece of the genre.

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Sebastian, co-founder and admin of the Grindhouse Cinema Database (GCDb). He also started The Spaghetti Western Database (SWDb), The Quentin Tarantino Archives, The Robert Rodriguez Archives, Nischenkino and Furious Cinema. Outside of movies, he works on the intersection of technology and policy. He lives in Berlin, Germany.

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