The Inglorious Bastards (1978)

Genres - War  |   Sub-Genres - Action Thriller, War Adventure  |   Run Time - 100 min.  |   Countries - Italy   |   MPAA Rating - R
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Review by Donald Guarisco

Though he is better known for tough-guy crime movies, Enzo Castellari turned out a fine war film on a budget with The Inglorious Bastards. The script nods toward obvious influences like The Dirty Dozen and The Great Escape, but it offers its own sly variations on the format, like a clever double plot-twist regarding the true loyalties of a certain character. The one real flaw story-wise is a rather rushed ending, but the film is no less entertaining because of that. The edges of the low budget show up in spots (most notably a bit of hasty model-effects work), but Castellari covers for such flaws nicely by maintaining a steady flow of exciting action set pieces and infusing the proceedings with an offbeat sense of humor. His work is aided nicely by excellent stunt choreography from Rocco Lerro and inspired performances by a game cast. The standout work in the latter category comes from Bo Svenson and Fred Williamson; both have a reliable and familiar action-hero chemistry that they bring to the table, but the real surprise is the easygoing chemistry they share. They make an excellent team and would in fact be cast together frequently after their work here. It's also worth noting that Donal O'Brien has a flashy, scene-stealing turn as a nasty Nazi officer who interferes with the heroes' mission. In short, The Inglorious Bastards is an above-average B-movie war flick that gives its A-movie cousins a run for the money.