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Yojimbo's Movie Reviews (2306)

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The Dirty Dozen 
"The Dirty Dozen" by Yojimbo
3/4 stars

Lee Marvin stars as a maverick colonel who is "volunteered" for the task of whipping a dozen death row inmates into shape to attack a target behind enemy lines. On more than one occasion, female acquaintances have refused to watch certain films because they are "boy's films", something I find irritatingly dismissive. But where The Dirty Dozen is concerned, it's a case of guilty as charged. If Star Wars is the film that reminds me of being 8 again, this film takes me back to the 12 year old me, playing with my Action Man (GI Joe to you colonials...) Lee Marvin is at his gruff best, and Charles Bronson, John Cassavetes, Jim Brown et al dole out the testosterone soaked heroics to have at the dreaded hun. It's the kind of old fashioned boy's own war film that Aldrich excelled at, and a supporting cast also including comic relief from slow-witted "General" Donald Sutherland and a darker edge provided by religious psychopath Telly Savalas, it covers all possible bases. The bootcamp-maneuvres-mission formula has been copied umpteen times since and the broad comedy of the first half of the film contrasts with the Magnificent Seven style slam-bang finale behind enemy lines perfectly. It's huge fun if you like this type of thing, but it's definitely aimed at an XY audience.


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