Sunday, February 03, 2013
Top 5 List: Men On A Mission Genre
4. The Dirty Dozen- After watching this again for the first time in years, I’m reminded how much of a genre-stealing hack Quentin Tarantino really is. With an all-star cast, Aldrich basically upped the ante on the “men on a mission” war genre that would see itself re-invented and re-imagined for years to come- and on both sides of the ocean as well. The great conceit in Aldrich’s adrenalized affair is just how long he spends humanizing the ‘dirty dozen’ before their fatalistic mission to wipe out the German high command at a Paris chateau. Nihilism doesn’t begin to describe the lengths Aldrich goes in that final battle, and its all very non-Hollywood, which probably earns the film even higher regards nowadays. This was 1966 and we’re treated to Lee Marvin sadistically trying to break off the vent hoods so his men can drop grenades down into the underground hideout of the German men and their party-goers. As an action film, “The Dirty Dozen” is aces. As a film that successfully inverts our expectations about the ‘good guys’ and ‘bad guys’, it’s a revelation. Probably the prototypical men-on-a-mission film that almost everyone identifies with.
2. Wages of Fear
Henri Georges Clouzot's 1953 film about a group of men hired to transport a truck full of nitroglycerin across a rugged South American jungle is such an underrated film. The tension reaches unbearable lengths and sweat, grime and an almost silent cinema mise-en-scene overtakes the second half of the film. I regret to say I've never seen William Friedkin's remake, titled "Sorcerer" due to a terrible DVD print, but I may have to buck up and bear it soon. As it stands, "Wages of Fear" is a classic men on a mission entry.
1. The Untouchables