Like basically every male specimen, I'm quite fond of these men on a mission type of movies, especially when it comes down to WW II movies. The type of WW II movies that are entertaining to watch, instead of realistic and shocking. I however have to be honest and say that for most part "The Dirty Dozen" isn't really doing it for me though.

Main reason why this movie isn't one of my favorite ones is because it isn't always the most entertaining or interesting one to watch. There are a lot of long stretched out and slower moments in it, that distract from the story, since it all feels pretty pointless. Perhaps it's all due to the fact that this movie got based on a novel and it didn't want to make too many cuts from the story. However, sometimes certainly story lines and characters work out way better in novels because they offer both more time and room for things to be set- and build up properly, something for which movies often don't have the time to do well.

One hour in and I'm still waiting for something exciting and truly interesting to happen. You can say that it uses it's first hour to an hour and a half to set up its characters (which is far too long anyway) but I just have to say that it doesn't even ever develops or set its characters up that very well. The characters all appear to be the same to me and the movie doesn't ever give you enough background information on any of them. I have to say that I got a far better feeling and understanding of the characters once they were thrown into the action, toward the end of the movie.

I'm not complaining too much about the movie though. It obviously still is a far from terrible or boring one to watch but especially when compared to similar genre movies, made around the same time or even earlier, this just isn't the best, most exciting or interesting movie that the genre has to offer, in my opinion.

The second half of the movie is pretty good and entertaining to watch though and definitely feels similar in style and atmosphere to great genre movies such as "The Guns of Navarone", "The Eagle Has Landed" and "Where Eagles Dare". It's some good old fashioned action fun, in which its great to finally see all of the characters at work, carrying out their mission. that of course isn't always going according to plan.

You also just have to like and admire Lee Marvin in this movie. He truly is the main character, that also carries the movie mostly on his own, for most part. It's great to see that an 'older' guy (and yes, I know he was 'only' 43 when he did this movie but he looked closer to his 60's already) play a convincing, tough, leader and 'action-hero', in a WW II production. I also really liked Ernest Borgnine and seeing a still very young and mostly unknown Donald Sutherland in this, as one of the 'Dirty Dozen'.

All in all, it's a perfectly fine and watchable genre entry but just not one that's among my favorites.


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About Frank Veenstra

Watches movies...writes about them...and that's it for now.
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