The things I do for my readers (both of them)! My current project is to review the war movies available on Netflix Instant. If you are a war movie lover, you need to get Netflix. I could not have started this blog without it. Watching and reviewing the 100 Greatest War Movies would have been impossible ten years ago. I was able to watch all 100 mainly with the help of Netflix. And that was before Netflix Instant. Now there are a substantial number of quality war movies available to stream. And some that are not quality. Shall we see which is “War Pigs”? The fact that it was directed by Ryan Little of “Saints and Soldiers” does not help much since it could be made by the competent director of the first of that series, or by the incompetent director of the other films. I good sign is it does not star Tom Sizemore, but it does include Mickey Rourke.
The movie starts in Belgium in 1944. Three minutes in we are treated to a firefight. It is pretty intense with graphic wounds. This realistic show of force is a good sign, but then Rourke shows up as a hippie-haired, bloated Major Redding wearing a cowboy hat. He has a special mission for Lt. Wosick (Luke Goss). He is a war hero who is under charges so he can get redemption if he is successful. All he has to do is locate a massive German artillery piece that can change the war, naturally. He will be aided by a French Foreign Legionnaire named Picault. He is played by Dolph Lundgren (where is Tom Sizemore when you need him?) Their elite squad will be a five men (or six because apparently some actor snuck on the set). War movie lore assures us they are elite, but this movie portrays them as an average bunch of Joes. They are not the Dirty Six nor are they SEAL Team Six. They are so average that they have to have a Frenchman train them in rudimentary tactics like mine discovery and using a walkie-talkie. They also get some classroom time learning how to draw. Not because that is crucial to the mission, but because it allows the movie to bring in nude model. And then we don’t get full frontal. What the heck? That is absolutely the least I expect from straight-to-DVD. I do expect and get terrible dialogue like: “I’m not going to lie to you. It’s not going to be easy.” (The same could be said for watching this movie.)
They locate Big Bertha with shocking ease, but you know that will not be the end of the mission. Two of the men get captured – how convenient! The rest will have to infiltrate the German camp in disguise to rescue them and give us our pounds of flesh. I hope you don’t like yours with reality. The action is on the level with “The Dirty Dozen” … sequels. Or ripoffs like “The Black Brigade”. Or any other movie that has the line: “Take that you kraut basterd”. If you know your history, you know we won WWII in Europe, so it’s not a spoiler alert to inform you that they blow up the giant gun.
If you are going to make a movie like this, the worst thing you can be is mediocre. If you can’t hire a decent screenwriter, go for camp. Little does not have the gonads for that. Instead of making a poor man’s Dirty Dozen, he spends no time on character development. He puts all the dysfunction in one G.I. named Chambers. This War Pig does not want to fight. What? I kept hoping Patton would show up to slap him. The rest of the squad is unmemorable, even though I found out later that one of them is played by MMA superstar Chuck Liddell. The longtime thespian (he played a boy scout in “The Postman Always Rings Twice” in 1981 and stole the film from Nicholson) gets to appear on screen with Dolph. Actually, Lundgren is one of the better things about the movie. I was impressed and that’s not just because he might read this review. Goss at least looks the part of the weary, cynical hero. As far as Rourke, he looks like a reject from “Kelly’s Heroes”.
If you have seen all the other streaming war movies on Netflix, go ahead and watch “War Pigs”. It is not egregiously bad like “Men in Battle”, but it lacks suspense and is low on action. It is not laughable. Although you may grin at the fact that the “War Pigs” never miss. Now that I think about it, for a movie of its ilk, that is pretty much par for the course.
GRADE = C-