Monday, August 29, 2011

The Wild Geese (1978)

Director: Andrew V. McLaglen

Starring: Richard Burton, Roger Moore, Richard Harris, Hardy Kruger, Stewart Granger, Winston Ntshona, John Kani, Jack Watson, Ronald Fraser

More info: IMDb

Tagline: Burton, Moore, Harris, Kruger are...The Wild Geese

Plot: A British multinational seeks to overthrow a vicious dictator in central Africa. It hires a band of (largely aged) mercenaries in London and sends them in to save the virtuous but imprisoned opposition leader who is also critically ill and due for execution. Just when the team has performed a perfect rescue, the multinational does a deal with the vicious dictator leaving the mercenary band to escape under their own steam and exact revenge.

My rating: 8/10

Will I watch it again? Chyeah!

I love this movie. It gets better with age. I'm noticing things now that I didn't thirty years ago; little things like when the mercs are being pursued and shot at by the local military force and one of the mercs, in full sprint, reaches down to pick up a machine gun left by a fallen comrade, doesn't quite get a grip and drops it, all the while running. He lets it go without a moment's hesitation. If he had tried again to retrieve it he would have likely been shot. In most movies he would have stopped to pick it up, fired a few rounds killing more than enough of the enemy and lived. Not in this picture. There are many examples of small stuff like that that make a huge difference. It's the little details that mean a lot. It shows someone cared enough to include them.

As if the action weren't top notch, the cast is outstanding. There's lots of British testosterone up there on the big screen as well as a lot of quality acting chops. They're all fun to watch. It's nice to see Stewart Granger get a lot of screen time, too. Roy Budd's score is lots of fun and loaded with as much action as you get on screen. And if more than two hours of badass acting and killing isn't enough, the ending kicks all kinds of ass. The only thing I can't abide by, though, is the theme tune written & performed by Joan Armatrading. It's atrocious. That vibrato...that fucking vibrato. Woof.

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