The Dirty Dozen


A product of that first, bigger-is-better period before CGI entered the frame, The Dirty Dozen may not have quite the class of The Magnificent Seven or the sheer crowdpleasing oomph of The Great Escape, but it's still a fantastic men-on-a-mission movie.

The plot is pure Boys' Own as Lee Marvin's disgraced army hardman trains 12 military convicts for a near-suicide mission. Still, you can't fault its caustic cynicism and tongue-in-cheek style. From the elaborate training sequences (Marvin using wit, violence and hookers to turn his collection of crooks, perverts and killers into a crack commando unit) on to the mission itself (to infiltrate a château housing some Nazi big boys), there's an exuberant sense of videogame excitement about it all.

Revelling in both its own absurdity and Marvin's deadly presence, this Sunday-afternoon belter delivers enough thrills and spills to distract from the flaws. Let'shope Tarantino's Inglorious Bastards gets close...

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