on 16 November 2012
Yes it was produced 30 odd years ago but it tells a good old-fashioned story of a motley band of (not so good)goodies trying to do a job of mercy but getting screwed in the process. Whenever I see it it's the Richard Harris relationship with his son which I find the most heart-breaking.
on 5 April 2015
The corn is truly as high as an elephant's eye in this wonderful actioner from a now lost period.
Every entrant in this great tale of derring-do is brilliant, and if you'd had to go into battle then, this would be as good as any team you could possibly pick to be on your side, albeit a bit creaky, I'll admit.
It's action-packed-, funny in several ways, tense, heavy handedly touching, and tries clumsily to make a few points; "kaffir" becoming bloke" for one, and the political clout of big business. To the PC NAZIS, t's probably full of 'ists and 'isms, and if you don't like it for that ,then sod off, it's not the movie for you.
This is just huge fun, probably the best of the mercenary movies, but "Dark of the Sun", also known as "The Mercenaries" runs it close, with one of history's greatest he-men in Rod Taylor..
Just a reminder of who we get here:
Richard Burton; always a joy to watch
Roger Moore; always the same to watch, and when it's right, it's perfect
Hardy Kruger- enough said, but shouldn't he have played Barnes Wallis in a movie (tho' it'd've been difficult in "The Dambusters", I admit...)
Kenneth Griffith, brilliantly camp
Jack Watson, the perfect Sergeant, with some of the great lines
Richard Harris, another actor like Burton, great, but never did all that he could
Stuart Grainger, a perfect hissable villain
And on I could go.
Gloriously nostalgic, and a joy of a movie for action fans
on 20 December 2012
For those old enough to remember, "The Wild Geese" was a staple of video shops back in the early 80's. I remember the big thick hard plastic case adorning the thick shelving of my local video store and rented it solely coz Roger Moore was in it. What followed was 100 mins of good ole british film making at it's best with some of it's finest thespians and ruffians put together to rescue an african leader who's been kidnapped by an african dictator. Double crossing,action,racism,a touching father and son relationship, it's all here, hell it even has Roger Moore force feeding a bag of heroin into a drug dealer! What more can you ask for!
If you're a fan of the Expendables movies then this might be up your ally? Ok so Richard Burton and Richard Harris were never action stars per see, but they're pretty tough for men in their 50's and although Roger Moore was in the middle of his tenure as James Bond when this was made, he had just turned 50 when this went into production, he brings his light hearted charm to an otherwise serious action film.
It's not upto par with action films these days,those under 18 might wonder what the fuss is all about, it's still a rollicking romp with a good story and decent acting ( something you can't accuse The Expendables movies of!)
Arrows 1080p picture is fine if not amazing, some have criticised this for being below par and i admit it's not the best looking blu ra around but it's definitely an improvement on the DVD quality. The DTS 2.0 s/track is also good and weighty.
The extra features include a commentary track with Roger Moore,producer Euan Lloyd and 2nd unit director John Glen who also worked as editor and Director on the Bond movies. There is also a rather amusing old fashioned feature on the premier of the film which was done in aid of the spastics society charity. here you'll see actors like Burton and co getting down on the dancefloor making utter fools of themselves! lol
The piece de resistance of the extra's though is the inclusion of the Italian unofficial sequel movie "Codename Wildgeese" not to be confused with the official sequel Wildgeese 2" which followed a few years later. Now i've seen a lot of people give this film a bad review, but if you're an Italian exploitation film fan like myself then you'll most likely love this. Yes it's cheesy and the dubbing substandard at times but this actually out actions the proper "Wild Geese" by some margin, huge explosions by the bucketload,machine gunfights,flame throwers it's all here and some of the model work is really quite impressive at times for a low budget movie. It's cast list is almost as impressive as "The Wild geese" - Lewis Collins ( hot off The Professionals TV series) Ernest Borgnine, Klaus Kinski and a long in the tooth but still cool Lee Van Cleef! as with all Italian films at the time, the film was shot with no sync sound, so all the voices were post dubbed. Collins,Borgnine and Van Cleef all dub their own voices but the rest are dubbed,Kinski's dubbing is terible giving him a plummy posh english accent!
Codename- Wildgesse itelf spawned 2 sequels, "Comanado Leopold" and "The Commander" both again with Lewis Collins.
The picture quality is ok and this is a DVD print of the film and not Blu-Ray encase you were wondering.
I can't recommend the Blu ray enough, you get a great film and another good one as a bonus ! Recommended
This is perhaps one of my all-time favourite 'action' movies.
The plot see's 'Colonel Allen Faulkner' accepting a mission to rescue an 'African' leader
who has been deposed and being held by rebel forces, to achieve this he must put
together a squad of mercenaries, needing the specialist skills of two old friends to make
the mission possible, 'Captain Rafer Janders' and 'Lieutenant Shawn Fynn'
The group put together though aged is packed with experienced campaigner's.
The mission initially goes to plan, until .....The Official who had hired 'Colonel Faulkner'
and his men, fails, as agreed to have them picked up at the designated place.
Now the Mercenaries along with the 'African' leader (who has to be carried) face a long
treck to take them clear of danger, however the rebel army is in close pursuit of the group.
A great cast-list on-board including 'Richard Burton' (Colonel Allen Faulkner) 'Richard
Harris' (Captain Rafer Janders) and 'Roger Moore' (Lieutenant Shawn Fynn)
This is an action packed and exciting tale, perhaps one of the all-time-greats in this
category, the film will hold your attention throughout, if you have never seen this 1978 film
you're in for a treat.
Sadly, the HD upgrade is not the best.
This is a great movie, the kind of "oldie but goldie" which is worth to be rediscovered many years after the first viewing.
It has a good and smart story, very good action scenes which impress even today, 30 years after and last but not least, a STELLAR casting. Just count - Richard Burton, Roger Moore, Richard Harris, Stewart Granger and Harry Kruger, in all five stars. And then Jack Watson, a less known actor, who plays Master Sergeant Sandy Young - and with his size and his face he is simply the perfect incarnation of sergeant masterdom.
The story describes a rescue operation in a fictif African country - a major mining company wants to save an imprisoned African leader, hoping that once he seizes the power he will give them favourable terms on mining concession. The story is very similar to the archifamous Frederick Forsythe's novel "Dogs of War". This movie is however much much better than the adaptation of "Dogs of war" with Christopher Walken, especially because, although quite tragic, it has also quite a lot of hilarious moments and one-liners, many of them delivered by the homosexual medic serving in the unit.
A very good British war/adventure film, to discover or rediscover.
Marvellously macho, a men on a mission movie proudly proclaiming that the old adage is indeed true, there is life in the old dog(s) yet. A notable cast of British and Irish thespians were rounded up and unleashed into a plot that required a band of mercenaries sent to extract an African President from some prison in the darkest part of Africa. The formula is tried and tested, the leader is a man made of stern stuff but carrying emotional baggage, his band of men assembled are a mixture of ex soldiers who have either fell on hard times or just haven't been able to let go of the army life that they feel was their calling in life. The latter of which causes great consternation amongst spouses and immediate family members.
Director Andrew V. McLaglen lets it unfold in steady and unfussy time, structuring it in three stages. Stage one is getting to know the principal players, their fears, pet peeves and psychological make up, stage 2 is the re-training programme, where the good old boys wait to see who keels over from a heart attack first, then stage 3 is the mission, where blood will be shed, bodies will fall, treachery and racism are big irritants, and of course big sacrifices will have to be made during a whirl of explosions and politico pummelling. The screenplay, much like the actors playing the key roles, is very self aware to not take itself too seriously, it's also very funny at times, there is some absolute cracker-jack slices of dialogue here.
The PC brigade and political historians beat themselves around their heads trying to flatten the appeal of The Wild Geese, it didn't work. Most action movie fans understood fully just what was going on, and it's the reason why today it still holds up as a perennial favourite on the British TV schedules. Richard Burton, Richard Harris, Roger Moore, Hardy Kruger, Jack Watson, Kenneth Griffith, Ronald Fraser and Percy Herbert, I salute you all. 8/10
on 20 January 2015
WOW what a stupendous film this really is.I watched it for the first time recently and was very impressed. Concideting it was made in 1978 it's a very violent action film, even by today's standards. Infact it's far better than most action films made theses days. It's basically the orginal Expendables with Richard Burton in the Stallone role, but playing the same character as he did in the excellent Where Eagles Dare. Sir Roger Moore sits slightlyin the back ground on this one but has more than enough personality to make up for it. Richard Harris is also great as our three main characters go on a rescue mission to Africa but are double crossed and left for dead. They go from rescue mission, to escape mission then finally revenge against the man who set them up. The film is well directed and the action scenes are brutal and fantastic. I will sum this movie up as a cross between The Expendables and Rambo First Blood Part 2.
Despite being set in London and Africa, Films and Filming magazine voted The Wild Geese the best Western of the year, and they weren't wrong. Its heroes may be mercenaries out to rescue an African leader from his rival before he can be executed only to find themselves pursued by hostile natives when their employer betrays them but the film uses Richard Brooks' The Professionals and The Magnificent Seven films as templates: Hardy Kruger's entire subplot as a former South African anti-terrorist who forms an unlikely bond with black idealist Winston Ntshona (who would play virtually the same role in The Dogs of War a few years later) is straight out of Joe Don Baker and Bernie Casey's racially-charged adversarial friendship in the third film in the series, Guns of the Magnificent Seven. But the film's big marquee stars are Richard Burton ("When I'm not killing perfect strangers I'm an out of work drunk"), Richard Harris (on his best behaviour thanks to a clause in his contract that docked his pay if he got drunk on set) and Roger Moore (still trying to find a hit outside the Bond series), and they're pretty much the spring chickens in a cast of British character actors of then-near-or-past-pensionable age like Ronald Fraser, Kenneth Griffiths, Jack Watson and the obligatory Percy Herbert. It's a pretty impressive cast all round, with Stewart Granger as their duplicitous and unlikeable client, Barry Foster and Patrick Allen among his flunkeys, Frank Finlay as an Oirish missionary and Jeff Corey as a local Mafioso to throw in a familiar face for the American market (to no avail, the film barely being distributed stateside when its US distributor ran out of cash).
Producer Euan Lloyd may have had dubious taste in scripts, but this is the one film where everything came together: Andrew V. McLaglen's direction and the Bridge on the River Kwai cinematographer Jack Hildyard make for a particularly handsome and well-paced adventure film shot on an impressive scale for a British film of its day British films and they're ably supported by a top-flight crew including several Bond veterans as well as a terrific Roy Budd score that knows when to stand back and when to amp up the excitement. It all combines for a pleasingly well-crafted old-fashioned men on a mission movie that's everything The Expendables could only wish it was.
The film has had a slightly chequered history on home video. In the UK the film played as a roadshow release complete with overture and intermission, but neither have been retained for any of the film's home video releases (though you can find the overture, intermission music - a song featuring Jack Watson! - and Budd's original main title music that was dropped in favour of a Joan Armatrading song on the now-deleted soundtrack album). The original UK DVD included an audio commentary by Roger Moore, Euan Lloyd and second-unit director John Glen, 37-minute documentary about Lloyd, The Last of the Gentleman Producers and Movietone newsreel footage of the UK premiere that played down the political protests (somewhat ill-advised, since Lloyd admirably insisted on a colour-blind production where the black South Africans who worked on the film received equal pay and conditions). The Australian DVD went even better, adding 24-minute documentary on the making of the film that was shot at the time, radio interviews with cast and crew; stills gallery; and the film's excellent trailer, but the picture quality wasn't as good. However, the German Blu-ray release was particularly poor quality. Arrow's much-delayed UK Blu-ray release was an improvement, but the picture quality was unexceptional and the extras a depleted lot - the audio commentary and premiere newsreel plus a heavily cut version of the entirely unrelated Codename Wild Geese in standard definition.
Thankfully, Severin's US region-free Blu-ray/DVD combo pretty much gets it right, with a very decent transfer that hasn't been subjected to noticeable DNR or over-zealous restoration. While the original look of the film means that the images don't pop out or as sharp as more recent films it's still a very good representation of how the film originally looked, with only a few of the night shots veering a bit towards the flat side. It also has an impressive selection of extras old and new: no radio interviews or stills gallery but it does offer the audio commentary, the documentaries on Lloyd and the making of the film, newsreel, trailer and two new interviews with director McLaglen and real-life mercenary Mad Mike Hoare, who was both inspiration for and technical advisor on the film. Definitely the pick of the litter so far.
on 24 April 2012
Along with "Where Eagles Dare" this has to be my favourite war film. They each boast a brilliant cast headed by Richard Burton, and lots of thrilling action and suspense, but "The Wild Geese" is edgier and more realistic.
A group of mercenaries, bankrolled by a shady newspaper tycoon hatch a plan to spring an enlightened African leader from his despotic captors, but it all goes horribly wrong and they find themselves trapped in enemy country, surrounded by a literally bloodthirsty army. As they try to escape, the net closes around them and the tension builds and builds.
Although these dogs of war are basically amoral killers, it's hard not to share their outrage at being double-crossed, fear for their lives when being left stranded, or root for Janders (Richard Harris) as he tries to reach the getaway plane. The battle scene at a remote air strip is a masterpiece of tense, edge of the seat action and the final scene where Faulkner (Burton) comes face to face with his betrayer positively crackles with tension.
How refreshing it is to see Burton, Harris, and Roger Moore subdue their own egos for the greater good of the film - often, when big names get together the end result is a load of witless drivel. It's also nice to see a film that creates a genuine sense of fear and tension; in this age of the mobile phone that rarely happens anymore.
on 14 January 2005
having seen the film many times and been a "security" type for many years, I feel my comments are justified, especialy if I was to make a content entry!! However, take a film with so many legendry British stars, whether they be "A" or "B" type stars and put them in to a ground breaking storyline, and you are in for a real treat. Burton and Harris are brilliant and believable, as is Jack Watson's RSM. Moore is still too suave but Krugger's South African's banter with Limbani, is still a high point. I don't think you will ever witness a film with so much British talent, at thier acting best, ever again. It is a must watch and must have film with out a shadow of a doubt!!