Some good, some bad, and some ugly
Andrew McCaffrey | Satellite of Love, Maryland | 05/31/2006
(3 out of 5 stars)
"I've seen a handful of Spaghetti Westerns, but I've never seen a Spaghetti World War II film. Given that Italy was on the losing end of that particular conflict, I was curious to see how they would portray the event.
As it turns out, COMMANDOS is a relatively interesting war film -- if a little lacking in substance. It's tense in places and exciting enough that I never felt bored. There are better war films out there, but there are also worse.
During WWII, the Allies are putting together a very special raid. The US Army has assembled a band of Italian-Americans -- all literate in Italian, and all knowing enough to reasonably pass for Italian solders. The mission is to parachute into the northern Africa desert and take possession of a critical oasis. Seems simple enough. Except on the eve of the mission, the commander who was supposed to lead is replaced by a man with a lot of desk-bound experience, but no practical knowledge.
This infuriates second-in-command Lee Van Cleef (DEATH RIDES A HORSE and "the bad" in THE GOOD, THE BAD, AND THE UGLY), who was not only very close to the original commander, but loathes the fact that he will be lead by an inexperienced yahoo. In a previous mission, Van Cleef was nearly killed because of a know-nothing commander's bungling. His determination to prevent history from repeating itself is what fuels Van Cleef's quietly bubbling anger.
Compared to other, more spectacular files of the genre, COMMANDOS does look a little on the cheap side. But by relegating most of the action to the eponymous commandos, the director is able to wring a lot of tension out of very little money. The film's most intense moments are split between the initial commando raids and the subsequent scenes in which the squad is desperately trying to fool passing convoys into believing that they are indeed all members of the Italian army.
I don't have much to say about the movie, because at the end of the day there isn't much to it. It makes for exciting and entertaining viewing, but not much to think about afterwards. There are numerous attempts to humanize both sides of the conflict and to make the commando's prisoners of war come across as sympathetic characters. And while these moments are successful, they aren't especially original either. Which pretty much sums up my opinion of the film's entirety."
Fairly Good Van Cleef
M. Brennan | Cookstown,, Tyrone. Northern Ireland | 01/07/2005
(3 out of 5 stars)
"This Text refers to the St.Clair Vision DVD release.
St.Clair Vision have released this film in it's 2:35:1 widescreen ratio.
Not so much an anti-war film as, "there are no winners in this war" story. Picture quality is at best good though at times a little grainy.
A worthwhile purchase at a budget price, you can't beat it.
Lee Van Cleef is always worth a look.
Terrible film overall.
T. M Rogers | Az United States | 03/06/2006
(2 out of 5 stars)
"Normally I ignore bad movies and do not review them unless thay offend me. COMMANDOS offended me. It is poorly shot, poorly directed and the "Germans" all speak perfect English. This movie has a few decent action scenes, but overall it is just a B- movie about some WW2 commandos in Africa. I watch a lot of WW2 films and this one has to be the cheapest I have ever seen. Waste of time...even for 3.00"