This Movie is claimed by Tarantino to be a Homage to all those great kick ass action War Movies such as “The Dirty Dozen”, “Kelly’s Heroes”, “The Guns of Navarone” and “Where Eagles Dare”. I absolutely love these movies. They are pure adrenaline filled fun. Where Eagles Dare is perhaps my favorite of the bunch with it’s utterly relentless action and gun play coming years before the likes of John Woo.
Inglourious Basterds did not have the meat and two potato I was expecting. Yes it has beautifully visualized actions scenes but they are few and far between with large sections of this two hours and thirty five minute movie being very cerebral with Dialogue filled conversations between colorful characters sitting down at a table. Tarantino can write great dialogue and give it time to breath like a fine wine. In some ways it’s refreshing to just have two people sit at a table and talk without the need for action thrown in or the scene changing ever five minutes. But it other ways it’s exhausting to the mind especially when you’re reading the subtitles for 75% of the movie not that I mind but I think most Tarantino fans have come to expect a bit more pace after his recent offers of Kill Bill and Deathproof. Even a German friend I was sitting beside during the movie found the subtitle reading hard going.
Another problem is that this movie is called “Inglourious Basterds” with Brad Pitt plastered on the front of the Poster and featured heavily in advertisements and trailers yet this film really isn’t about the intrepid troop. They are hardly in it. They don’t take center stage, they don’t even have any great dialogue to chew through. No this movie is about Col Hans Landa, this is his movie from start to finish and the part is excellently played with glee by the highly talented Christoph Waltz who is surely deserving of some acting award here. Check out his scene with Brad Pitt and Eli Roth at their first encounter, he is riveting in his performance while the other actors literally stand still beside him.
Brad Pitt sure is fun to watch in this movie but as I said above he’s hardly in it. His main confrontation with the protagonist falls flat after building up the statures of each so well. I almost get the impression that Pitt did this as a favor to boost the movie and promote it to a wider audience but I doubt Brad Pitt fans will get there moneys worth here as he seems to haven’t had time to film many scenes, least of all, action.
What great action we do get he does not feature in. He remains tied up to a chair. You wouldn’t see that happening to Clint Eastwood in “Kelly’s Heroes”. Of the action scenes the best are the Mexican (crotch) standoff in the bar and the final piece at the Ritz cinema both done to perfection.
This Film is good. But it’s not the sandwich you were expecting to bite into and it’s a lot to chew on. It has no chance of eclipsing the great War movies it claims to stand alongside. Stick in “Kelly’s Heroes” or “Where Eagles Dare” for a true men of action film.
Favorite Quote: “You probably heard we ain’t in the prisoner-takin’ business; we in the killin’ Nazi business. And cousin, Business is a-boomin’.” – Lt. Aldo Raine