The Inglorious Bastards

A Review By Jason L. King

Starring: Bo Svenson, Peter Hooten, Fred Williamson
Directed by: Enzo Castellari
Rated: R for nudity and war violence
Movie Released: 1978
IMDB Link

Final Grade:

Before we go any further, this is NOT a review of the new Tarrantino film, Inglorious Basterds but instead the movie that acutally inspired Tarrantino to work on his 10 year script that became the recent hit movie in box offices.

The original Inglorious Bastards was released in 1978 as “Quel Maledetto Treno Blindato” by director Enzo Castellari, however it has been known by many different names. Various version of the films have been released under a multitiude of different names.
Counterfeit Commandos (USA) (reissue title), Deadly Mission (USA) (video title), G.I. Bro (USA) (recut version – during the black exploitation era of cinema), Hell’s Heroes (USA) (video title)
The Dirty Bastard (Philippines: English title) and The Inglorious Bastards (USA) have all been the titles of this film over the years but has been best known as The Inglorious Bastards.

The tale of the bastards follow a hodge podge group of Allied deserters and war criminals who’s transport convoy is attacked by the Axis powers during transport. Knowing that they are imprisoned if returning back to base but killed by the Axis if staying where they are they decide to move forward to neutral Switzerland to evade the war. Hence, The Inglorious Bastards move forward, men on a self serving mission that happens to get them mixed up in a deadly side mission to help bring down the Axis powers.

I have a feeling that this film is something that is completely different than Tarrantino’s dialogue driven film filled with blood and gore. The original focuses more on the bastards on their self served mission. There are plenty of great battle sequences that make the film fun to watch, but it avoids being filled with blood and guts. It’s just a fun war adventure tale.

Starring a cast of virtually unknown actors in America, The Inglorious Bastards became more real to me because I didn’t know them. Actor Bo Svenson (Kill Bill Volume 2) and Fred Williamson are the only familiar faces in the film, but they are the sort of actors the average viewer thinks look familiar but can’t place them. Williamson, the star of a plethora of blacksploitation films over the years steals the show when he is on screen.

From a cinematic stanpoint what I really enjoyed about the film was the light story set against a traumatic background. The simplicity of the story makes the film so much fun. Cinematically, especially as you approach the end of the film there are great camera shots and use of slow motion during battle sequences that help amplify the horrors of war without the blood and guts modern day films now use mixed with their choppy ADD induced camera work. One of the greatest sequences in the film is a sequence where the bastards invade a German fort and steal a convoy truck without using any guns. Perhaps am I a lazy critic for not looking it up, but I believe I heard this sequence was filmed this way because of a conflict with studio contracts and use of guns on the shooting location. Either way, becasue of the lack of guns, this becomes one of the most entertaining and fun parts of the movie.

All in all, I really enjoyed The Inglorious Bastards and I think anyone who enjoys a good action film or war film will as well. It’s a wonderfully fun film that I can’t express in words how much I enjoyed it. Despite its B movie status the film does a wonderful job on multiple levels. I think the biggest problem with this movie is simply finding a copy of the movie. It has been released under multiple titles (The Inglorious Bastards is the DVD title) but it is still hard to find a copy on rental shelves. However, if you do find a copy, pick it up. You will be glad that you did.

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