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Monday, August 1, 2016

The Wild Geese (1978)

A wealthy international banker (Stewart Granger) hires a mercenary (Richard Burton) to put together a team and rescue an African leader (Winston Ntshona) being held captive by the dictator who deposed him. The mission will be a risky undertaking but nothing will prepare them for the ultimate betrayal. Based on an unpublished novel by Daniel Carney and directed by Andrew V. McLaglen (MCLINTOCK). Although not based on a book by Alistair MacLean, the film is similar in structure to war movies like THE GUNS OF NAVARONE and WHERE EAGLES DARE. It's a good solid action/adventure movie that unfortunately finds a conscience about halfway through the movie and suddenly we get a lot of rhetoric about how we all need each other (in the form of Hardy Kruger's racist mercenary and Ntshona's black leader) and the movie stops cold. Not that there's anything wrong with a film having a political conscience, far from it, it just seems shoehorned in since that's not what the film is really about. But when it focuses on excitement and action, it's on firmer turf. The film is forward in that one of the mercenaries is an openly gay character but I wish he weren't such a stereotype (the other mercenaries call him "Auntie"). Some of the set up of the characters is too predictable. I was able to pinpoint quite accurately who would die and who would survive. With Roger Moore, Richard Harris, Barry Foster, Frank Finlay, Patrick Allen, Jeff Corey and Ronald Fraser. 

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