That’s right, I said it! This is The Inglorious Bastards without the famous Brad Pitt. It might be hard for some of you to fathom but this is actually another WWII movie about Americans and Nazis. For those with a keen eye you probably noticed the spelling differences in the title. Why you ask? Because it’s a movie that has absolutely nothing to do with the one arriving in theaters on the 21st, I just figured that I would get you all ready for some Nazi killing with this 1978 similarly titled war flick.
This Italian made movie entitled Quel maledetto treno blindato is about a WWII military prison break where army deserters and murderers are trying to flee to Switzerland in order to avoid prison and the war. While these four prisoners are heading towards their Swiss freedom they are intercepted by the French Underground where they end up volunteering for a dangerous mission. The soldiers’ mission: to infiltrate a heavily guarded Nazi base, steal their prized warhead, and bring it back without being arrested again by their own side. (Paraphrased from IMDB)
On the whole, I really enjoyed the story of the movie simply for the fact that I love prison breaks and am always fascinated by the idea of how cons survive on the run. What’s cool is that this movie uses army deserters and criminals as the backgrounds for characters rather than POWs. I admired this because it changed the wholly dynamic of the film amongst the characters from a typical brotherhood survival mode to simply making it to Switzerland alive, whatever the cost. It’s also the first time I have seen characters with this type of background outside of regular prison break films.
Some other things I liked about the film was that the story was original and that the screenwriter did a great job of providing a fresh story as well as managing in weave in racial issues that existed in the 40s and that also permeated American society in the 70s. Also, I thought the cast was well chosen and each of the four main characters was able to play their parts well despite some of the side tracked dialogue, my favorite was Bo Svenson’s character Lt. Robert Yeager, he was a cool cat.
P.S. Michael Pergolani’s character Nick reminded me of Cheech Marin…that was a plus :).
One downside of the movie was the fact that the acting was inconsistent. There were points where Peter Hooten seemed to be trying too hard, especially when he met the attractive young nurse. Which leads me to my second dislike, the unnecessary romance; it made absolutely no sense and had no purpose being in the movie unless the director Enzo G. Castellari was trying to get me to laugh. Also, be forewarned, there is not much blood for the amount of killing that takes place so just don’t get too upset. Hey, at least we know this is one of twenty films Tarantino recommends so it is definately worth a watch (check out the slideshow at Entertainment Weekly)
Rating: An original, yet average, WWII escape film