Wednesday, July 23, 2014


It's always a hoot watching old films and tee-vee shows about World War II done up a good twenny or so years after the fact, because that was the time when the guys who fought the war were now in their forties and you can bet that most of 'em were looking back on those days wonderin' just how the hell they ever made it out alive (from what I can tell, most of 'em didn't even seem worried about getting offed while they were actually living through the thing!). And most of these shows and films were just chock fulla entertainment and lotsa pow energy without the sap and touchy-feely that would eventually seep into such once-manly thing as blood 'n guts war films. Sure as shit smells it ain't like you're gonna see a whole buncha overly sensitive soldiers gettin' tucked in and kissed goodnight in these mooms like you did on M*A*S*H, and while you're at it you sure ain't gonna see any of that sicky-sappy "human side" of soldiers like in this one SGT. ROCK comic I once read where the guys of "Easy Company" were rip-roarin' it up while being entertained by a (now get this!) ventriloquist and his dummy! Yeah, like I can see hardened combat survivors laughing their assess off over a grade school assembly-level ventriloquist routine, right before they get their milk and cookies and go beddy-bye that is! And don't forget the bed time story, Sarge!

If you still envision World War II vets as the kinda guys who have hair on their chests and read men's adventure mags with titles like GUTS AND GLORY, you can bet the whole lot of 'em are watching mooms like HELL RAIDERS 'stead of the puerile pablum that has been passing for tension-packed war entertainment these past three or so decades. A late-sixties Larry Buchanan effort with all of the charm 'n budget cuts that entails, this 'un might be short as far as high quality explosives go but is pretty long on the entertainment, at least when you get over the slow scenes where the men whoop it up at some whorehouse and ponder the fact that the female lead is in this film for absolutely no reason at all.

John Agar and Richard Webb head up a bunch of mine diggers on a special mission to get rid of some incriminating papers in their former HQ now in the hands of the Nazis. Not as easy as it sounds though, and of course the burden falls heavily on the stock company complete with a grizzled old vet and the kid from Brooklyn who never had a chance to get it done and like right now!

If you're lookin' for deep philosophical meanings and various Pauline Kael-esque insight you better stick with some of the aforementioned quap I mentioned. But for a good sit down and soak it all in action film, you can't really do much better even when the breaks in the plot make for ample potty poopy time.

One surprising fact about this 'un is that HELL RAIDERS was filmed entirely in Texas! Now you know why the whorehouse looks more like a Mexican restaurant than a standard dago brothel!

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