Despite an obviously limited budget which gives one the feeling that these are the only Americans fighting the war, this is a small, solid film, with a thoroughly convincing performance by a glowering McQueen. While viewers have become accustomed to a more gung ho treatment of WWII, Siegel characteristically opts to emphasize the more existential, absurdist aspects of warfare. Not only is the protagonist a surly reprobate, but the entire unit is composed of colorfully offbeat characters, including Vegas imports Bobby Darin and Bob Newhart, whose classic telephone routine seems more than slightly out of place in a film where one of his buddies gets turned into a human torch. In the character of Reese, Siegel suggests, as he has in his cop films, that those who do best adapted to violent professions are semi-pathological characters with a taste for violence. Although many in the cast, which also includes James Coburn, Nick Adams, and Harry Guardino, were doubtful enough about the fate of the picture to try to persuade Siegel to kill of their characters as quickly as possible, they do a fine job.
by Michael Costello review