The Inglorious Bastards a.k.a. Quel maledetto treno blindato (That Damned Armored Train) (1978): Breakdown by Rantbo
Five misfit criminal American soldiers are wrangled into a covert Allied mission while escaping to Switzerland during World War II. Hundreds die. My boner lives on.
According to Tarantino, and some no doubt obscure Japanese cult enthusiasts, this film is categorized as a ‘Macaroni Combat’ picture. I safely assume that this is because the dish of spaghetti was already taken to describe Italian made western films. And also, that there is apparently no better way to market a film’s country of origin, than to name it’s sub-genre after a stereotypical food originating from the area. Not that that bothers me or anything, I just find it amusing. It would be like calling the American One-Man-Army flick’s genre: Cheeseburger Death Machine Cinema, or Corndog Babyoil Cinema or Deep Fried Explosion Cinema. All of which are now trademarked by me. © RANTBO 2009.
Long observation short: INGLORIOUS BASTARDS—it doesn’t really matter what genre you place it under, so long as the word BAD followed directly by the word ASS is used to describe it.
So far as the story goes, it’s an incredibly simple archetype: Men on a mission in Nazi occupied France. Pretty standard DIRTY DOZEN-esq fair, but with an original twist: they’re all escaped cons, instead of imprisoned ones. Sure, it’s not a huge leap (a bunny hop, perhaps), but like the tagline says, “Whatever the Dirty Dozen did, THEY DO IT BETTER!”. Fuckin’-A.
This flick is one helluva entertaining romp across war-torn Europe. The acting is macho and superbly ‘B’. The music is catchy and inspiring. The action is frequent, intense, fun and well-shot. And it’s almost an hour shorter than it’s often compared inspiration, THE DIRTY DOZEN. In fact, so far as I’m concerned, the Dirty Dozen can suck eggs—a dirty fucking dozen of them. It would be completely unfair to even try and compare the two. BASTARDS wins on the entertainment scale, pound-for-pound, hands blown-off and down. There’s hardly a single 5 minute stretch in the entire 99 minutes of BASTARDS that doesn’t involve some krout getting his body riddled with freedom-coated bullets, and let’s be honest, that’s what you really want to see in a WW movie. So, if that doesn’t sell you, you’re just browsing. Either buy it, or get the fuck out.
I highly suggest checking this flick out and doing so before catching Tarantino’s similarly named film. It will spoil nothing, as they are the same in setting only, and it will give you a good perspective as to just what inspires that creepy brilliant fuck to make such zany and entertaining films. Namely, other zany and entertaining films by creepy brilliant fucks. INGLORIOUS BASTARDS, watch it before the Nazis confiscate it!
[HOW BAD-ASS ARE THE MAIN CHARACTERS?]
“You’re deserters, cutthroats and thieves. You don’t even deserve to be called soldiers!”
Bo Svenson is Lt. Robert Yeager the Strategist
Peter Hooten is Tony the Racist Womanizing Asshole
Fred Williamson is PVT. Fred Canfield the BadAss
Michael Pergolani is Nick Bouvier the Walking Woolworths
Jackie Basehart is Berle Hayes the Cowardly Mechanic
I hate to bring up the comparison again, but it must be done. The Dirty Dozen. Take those 12 assholes and their kooky personalities, social disorders, badass traits and psychoses; cram them into 5 men and throw them in a situation twice as bleak, with half the time to get out of it, and you have the Inglorious Bastards.
Aside from the two leads, Yeager (the brains and cool-headed leader) and Canfield (the BAMF), you get a douche-bag, a lunatic and a pussy. If that doesn’t sound like a team to get behind, you’re a pansy. These five combined kick more ass than an abusive donkey herder. If you divide up their combined kills, they average out at 25 per Bastard. And that pussy Berle only got two that I can recall, leaving Svenson and The Hammer to pick up the slack. No complaints here.
Despite being one ugly mother fucker, Bo Svenson is one suave and charismatic leader. Williamson is like Shaft, but with more muscles and a stogie (cool, sexy and not to be fucked with—times 10). Hooten HAS to be Cole Hauser’s biological father—has to be, they couldn’t have picked a better man to play an asshole. The guy takes bets on his own life expectancy, knowing that he never has to pay the money back as he’s sentenced for execution. Pergolani is a big greasy meatball version of Harpo Marx. Only with much more hair and an insatiable libido. Then there is Basehart—well, they can’t all be winners. Not to say I’m angry they allowed the wimp to tag along, o’contraire. His character serves as an excellent basis of comparison for all the ballsy heroics of the other 4. He’s essentially Jiminy Cricket and sometimes there is so much awesome happening, you need that little reminder of what a common man would do in such situations. Namely, piss his pants. So, all-in-all, it’s a pretty perfect cast.
[THE BODY COUNT: APPROXIMATELY 280]
Combined the Bastards fill about 125 bodybags and everybody else (The Resistance, The Krouts, The Allies) rack up a very satisfying 155. And it could have been many more, as I did have to blink every so often.
This is what a war movie should be. People dying, not crying. Of course war is fucked up and tragic, but so is my life and when I watch a movie, I need to escape, not feel more guilty about my own pitiful existence and the shitty world I live in. Pizza, Monica Bellucci and Macaroni Combat—what more does a chubby loner need on a Saturday night to fill the void of contentment in his life? Not fucking much. Those Italians have this shit figured out, man.
[MOST SATISFYING DEATH]
While it’s sad to see him go, it’s great to watch him leave. Yeager takes one for the Allied Team by blowing, not only himself up with massive bomb, but an entire fleet of Nazi soldiers. He must take out at least 35 in one swift blow, yet he’ll be remembered as a deserter and a criminal. It’s a god damned shame.
[DUDESWEAT AND MACHISMO]
For a buddy, men-on-a-mission flick, surprisingly little. Every one of the Bastards is a horndog for the ladies, even Hayes. Yeager’s court-martial was on account of him using his fighter plane to visit his woman in London. 3 times. Nick is obsessed with straight-porn. Tony convinces an 18 year old French girl to marry him after talking to her for 10 minutes. The Hammer tries futilely to bathe with some blonde iron cross bitches. And like I said, even Berle gets the butterflies when in the presence of other pussy.
The only thing remotely gay that happens is on a pit-stop to Switzerland where the crew strips down to bathe with one another in a river, while Canfield pumps himself up with some sweaty field exercises.
But, no less than a minute later, four of the guys are off trying to score with gratuitously naked female Nazis…
[EXPLOITATION AND MISOGYNY]
Who are also bathing in the same river.
If I learned one thing from watching late-70s and early 80s cult cinema, it’s that women love, LOVE, to stand around/bathe/change clothes/marvel at other naked women. The larger the group/breasts, the better the time is had. And if a dozen or so nude German nymphs wasn’t enough, the second they spot The Hammer taking off his shirt, the group loses their shit and start trying to waste our heroes Andy Sidaris style. Do you have any idea how fast titties jiggle with the kick of an automatic machine gun? A: a lot!
[EPIC MOMENT AND BEST ONE-LINER]
Ever the opportunist, Nick tries to scam a French resistance leader into buying some stolen merchandise. After his pitch seems to have no effect on the man, Nick asks him if he can speak English, he nods and starts spouting a string of curse words. Knowing his con is forfeit, Nick just smiles, pats the cheery fellow on the face a couple of times and then slaps him one hard before walking away miffed.
“I ‘accidentally’ killed a loud mouthed sergeant, just like you—wanna try for two? They can only shoot me once.”
[THE MORAL OF THE STORY]
While denying their mindless killing machines the right to pussy might work well for aggression on the battlefield, BASTARDS proves it’s might be better in the long run to allow their automatons to believe that it is payable on death. If the non-gay soldiers truly thought that heavenly vagina was waiting for them in droves just beyond the pile of their fallen nemeses bodies, you might start to see a little more enthusiasm amongst the ranks. Not to mention, faster battles. In short, Pussy = Morale.
[THE CHECKLIST: 19 outta 25]
[X] Athlete(s) Turned “Actor” [The Hammer]
[X] Clinging To The Outside Of A Moving Vehicle
[X] Crotch Attack
[X] Dialogue Telling Us How Bad-Ass The Main Character(s) Is/Are
[ ] Ending Featuring An Ambulance, A Blanket or A Towel
[X] Giant Explosion(s)
[X] Heavy Artillery
[X] Improvised Weapon(s)
[X] Macho Mode(s) Of Transportation
[X] Main Character Sports Facial Accessory(s)
[ ] Manly Embrace(s)
[ ] Notorious Stunt-Man Sighting
[ ] Passage(s) Of Time Via Montage
[X] Politically Fueled Plot Point(s)
[X] Senseless Destruction Of Property
[X] Shoot Out(s) and/or Sword Fight(s)
[X] Slow-Motion Finishing Move(s)/Death(s)
[X] Stupid Authoritative Figure(s)
[X] Substance Usage and/or Abuse
[ ] Tis The Season
[ ] Torture Sequence(s)
[X] Unnecessary Remake [Hell’s Heroes]
[X] Vehicle Chase(s)
[X] Vigilante Justice