Most helpful critical review
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 13 August 2005
March or Die was one of a number of massive box-office disasters that nearly brought Columbia to its knees until CE3K rescued it from the brink. On the surface it belongs alongside the trilogy of mid-70s adventure films that Sean Connery made for the studio, with Gene Hackman's embittered Foreign Legionnaire reluctantly leading his surviving men to protect Max Von Sydow's archaeological dig. It's a perfectly workable premise for an adventure but it never really works. It's a schizophrenic film at best, and not just because of the usual international co-production vagaries: Gene Hackman is starring in a bleak, revisionist drama while Terence Hill is starring in an old-fashioned swashbuckler, and despite John Alcott's strikingly subdued photography neither strand quite works - not enough panache or too much depending on whose turn it is in the spotlight. The final (and only) battle scene is a particularly odd affair, with Hackman's character behaving very oddly indeed, depriving the audience of the expected climax in a way that seems more bizarre and just plain wrong than innovative.
Heavy pre-release cutting probably didn't help (the original US TV broadcast included a number of deleted sequences, including an additional battle scene), but this is more an interesting failure than a successful reinvention of a subgenre it all but killed off for good. It certainly managed to help kill off director Dick Richards' once promising career. Yet for all that, it's not a complete disaster - there's still enough to like in the film and draw you back to it from time to time even if it does seen a missed opportunity.
The fullframe DVD is a decent transfer with no loss of picture area (although the Australian DVD is in widescreen), but there are no extras: a shame, as it would have been interesting to see the deleted scenes, and the film's trailer was a very good example of wildly overhyping a film (it pitched it as an experience that would become one of the most important of your life!).