Saturday, June 2, 2012

SUMMER OF 87 #8: Dirty Dozen The Deadly Mission

The cover of my VHS copy of Dirty Dozen: Deadly Mission
11.30am, Day 2:
Dirty Dozen: The Deadly Mission
Director: Lee H Katzin
Starring: Telly Savalas, Ernest Borgnine, Vince Edwards, Bo Svenson, Vincent Van Patten
Format: VHS (CEL)

Plot: Learning of a Nazi plot to attack Washington DC with a deadly nerve gas, Major Wright (Telly Savalas) leads twelve convicts on a suicide mission deep into occupied France to destroy the secret factory where the poison is made.

- Disclosure: I last watched the original Dirty Dozen movie quite a few years ago. I haven't seen any of the TV movie sequels, of which this is the second (following 1985's The Next Mission and before 1988's The Fatal Mission).
- The set up is the same as the first two movies, but with Savalas taking over the Lee Marvin role as the leader assigned to whip 12 condemned prisoners into shape for the big mission. Savalas was one of the original Dirty Dozen but his character was killed off in the first movie, so his Major Wright here is a new character.
- Among the new Dirty Dozen are: Gary Graham (ALIEN NATION TV series) as rebellious Joe Stern; real life brothers Vincent (HELL NIGHT) and James (SAW 4 and 5) Van Patten as the German-looking Webber brothers; Bo Svenson (WALKING TALL) as cunning Fontenac; Randall Cobb (BLIND FURY) as the giant Swede; Thom Mathews (Tommy Jarvis in FRIDAY THE 13TH PART 6) as clean cut Kelly; Paul Picerni (1960s TV series THE UNTOUCHABLES) as counterfeiter Ferruci; and Branco Blace as explosives expert Martinez.
- Director Katzin has some 69 credits to his name, all but a few of them in TV series and TV movies, everything from the Mission Impossible series in the 60s to Miami Vice and Walker Texas Ranger. So he knows how to put together action sequences in a TV format. Writer Mark Rodgers had a similarly-long career in TV.
- This movie opened with a good shootout and there was another soon after the Dozen drop into enemy territory, but things slow down in the middle as the soldiers infiltrate the local population and do lots of sneaking around.

Overall thoughts: This Dirty Dozen sequel is at its best when Nazis are being machine-gunned down and things are blowing up. There's plenty of that at the start and the finish, but it gets dragged down by a slow middle portion. Because it's a TV movie, there's no grittiness, but a solid cast and just enough action makes it watchable.

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