When Quentin Tarantino recently announced his next picture would be a remake of "The Inglorious Bastards," the heretofore little-known Italian action flick became an instant cult hit, with everyone wanting to see what the fuss was all about. Now, Brit-based Severin Films makes them simple with a single DVD and an overstuffed three-disc edition.
Let us not overpraise "Bastards," for it is what it is: an enjoyable B-movie. This is a guy's movie for pizza and beer night; those who don't "get" the vibe of Italian Seventies cinema are better off sticking to "Moonstruck."
The loose story entails a group of court-martialed soldiers recruited for a suicide mission involving the theft of a gyroscope from the Nazis aboard a moving train. To get to the real meat of the film, skip to its final 30 minutes (but know that you'll miss the skinny-dipping scene), full of explosive action and operatic violence played out in slow-motion. It's like "The Dirty Dozen" with the budget to cast only half that amount; one character even apes Steve McQueen's iconic motorcycle jump from "The Great Escape," albeit with far less air (or impact).
For a thrifty, would-be epic, this war flick delivers, but doesn't astound. After all, director Enzo G. Castellari once made a movie lampooned on "Mystery Science Theater 3000," so a classic this is not. But as a Friday-night rental, it'll get you in a marvelously mindless mood. (And check out the awkward 30-minute conversation in which Tarantino barely lets Castellari speak!)