The Dirty Dozen meet the Stiff Upper Lip. A British Petroleum executive (Michael Caine) is assigned to work with the British Army in North Africa handling port duties for incoming fuels. This gives him the official rank of Captain in the British Army. The Colonel (Nigel Green) in charge of the Dirty Dozen is told he must have a British officer accompany his men on a dangerous mission 400 miles behind the German lines and is saddled with the Petroleum executive, who tries to argue his way out by saying that his contract states he is to only work port duties. That argument is lost on the Brigade Commander (Harry Andrews) who simply points out that the executive is wearing a British uniform. The real leader of the Dirty Dozen (Nigel Davenport), a released prisoner himself, doesn’t need or want the British officer, who’s supposed to be in charge, but he’s promised an extra 2,000 British Pounds if he gets him back alive. Disguised as Italians, their trek across Rommel’s Africa includes meeting and battling many kinds of enemies and the plot twists at the end will keep your interest.
I generally like Michael Cain so when I saw that he was in this movie I became interested enough to watch it yesterday on Cine+ Classic. Well, Michael Cain was making a good performance in it but that was pretty much the only good thing about the movie. It starts off pretty promising but as soon as the actual mission starts it all goes downhill.
Both Michael Cain and Nigel Davenport make good performances in the roles they were given. The rest are mostly there to fill up the scenes. The movie blurb makes references to the Dirty Dozen and that is really an insult to that movie. Most of the team are simply incompetent. Leech, the so called expert starts of by screwing them into losing one of their trucks as well as a lot of equipment by pure spite and incompetence.
Colonel Masters is a snivelling wimp when confronted with his superiors who in turn are career-focused assholes.
The two Arabs that are supposed to portray homosexuals are just embarrassing. When everyone else is concentrated on defusing the booby trap these two just wander about stealing things until they trip another booby trap and one of them gets blown up. That was just stupid.
Also, why the bloody hell is everyone standing around sweating and why is Captain Douglas keeping his hand on the bloody jack when it is clear that it is a simple mechanical wire to an explosive device and you would have to actually pull at the jack and thus the wire to make it go off. That entire scene was so we-think-the-audience-are-too-stupid-to-notice-that-this-is-crap.
The film pretty much continues with such nonsense and then it comes to the end. I cannot say much without introducing a huge spoiler but…what a load of utter crap! After having watched through the entire movie you get this ending as a final insult.
The only reason this movie got any stars at all is because of Michael Cain.