Here Come The Bastards

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During WWII in occupied France, a group of military prisoners en route to the stockade escape and head for the Swiss border. There’s rebellious Lt. Yeager (Bo Svenson, Walking Tall Part 2, Walking Tall Final Chapter, Snowbeast), killer Canfield (Fred Williamson, The Hammer, Hell Up In Harlem), deserter Berle (Jackie Basehart), asshole Tony (Peter Hooten) and klepto Nick (Michael Pergolani) who carries more random stuff than Harpo Marx. It won’t be easy, but Yeager takes control and manages to cool the hotheaded bastards. Along the way they pick up a Nazi deserter as well. Eventually they end up on a suicide mission for the French Resistance. There’s all the action, humor and tough guy dialogue you’d expect from a good war movie…but these guys aren’t doing it for God and country, guts and glory…they’re just trying to survive and reach freedom. Tarantino’s recent epic remake of this picture captures the anarchic spirit of the original…but was also greatly influenced by a 1942 exploitation movie called Hitler: Dead Or Alive, just as the original Bastards draws inspiration from The Dirty Dozen,The Great Escape and Peckinpah’s Cross Of Iron. Now, I’m about as pacifistic as I can get, but there’s just something so satisfying about a good war movie. Perhaps because it’s not real, and free of the atrocity of real war, there’s a sense of childhood play to them. And I used to watch these films with my dad (a WWII vet) a lot, and have quite fond memories…

fred

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