Company of Heroes

Another World War II film?!?  Really?!?  After Schindler’s List, the mini-series Band of Brothers, Saving Private Ryan, Letters from Iwo Jima, Downfall, Bridge on the River Kwai, Das Boot, Life is Beautiful, The Thin Red Line, and The Pianist what else is there to say? The fact that there has been a ton of films about this same subject is not inherently a problem.  The problem is that only about thirty percent of them are worth my time investment.  That leaves seven out of ten World War II films not being worth the time it takes to sit down and watch them.  At this point I have to warn anyone considering making a World War II film that you have to do something original and of quality.  Do not replicate films that have already been made or focus on subjects already covered.  In other words, bring something new to the table.  Don’t get me wrong there are still things to be examined or exposed about an event that changed the course of human history.  A good film about World War II is still possible and I expect them to come.  This just wasn’t it.

A troop of American soldiers is given what is supposed to be a simple assignment during the Battle of the Bulge.  Not far into the mission they soon begin to realize that the higher ups had misjudged where the Germans were and how many there were.  The troop is trapped by an incoming German tank division.  A gun fight ensues in which many of the troop are killed.  New company sniper Nate (Chad Michael Collins – Lake Placid 2) is made the leader by the former Sargeant, who stays behind.

With the guidance of the more experienced soldier, Dean Ranson (Tom Sizemore – Black Hawk Down, Natural Born Killers), Nate tries to complete the troop’s mission while staying out of sight  from the German division led by Beimer (Richard Sammel – Inglorious Basterds, Casino Royale).  After rescuing a Russian soldier named Ivan (Dimitri Diatchenko – Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, Get Smart) and being joined by a British soldier (Vinnie Jones – Snatch, X-Men 3: The Last Stand) they stumble upon a super weapon that the Germans have been developing and testing.

They realize that they are part of a mission by the Allied forces to get the German scientist behind this weapon.  He and his daughter Kestrel (Melia Kreiling) are snatched from the Germans, but Nate and Dean will have to figure out a way to get everyone to the Allies before Beimer kills them all.

All that being said, Don Michael Paul (Half Past Dead) does not entirely heed my warning in that he does look at a different part of the war, but he does not do it well.  The first part is accomplished by examining a facet of the Battle of the Bulge (in Belgium) that I did not know about.  What wasn’t done well was the overall quality.  Now, I know it is a low budget film, but that does not excuse some of the faults.

First of all, the realism aspect is thrown completely out the window.  This accomplishes nothing but taking you out of the moment.  Historical mistakes such as weaponry used by either side or a German woman wearing pants are all over the place.  It makes you take everything happening a lot less seriously.

Matching that silliness is the plot.  The actors do a decent job, but don’t assume that because Tom Sizemore is in this that it is another Saving Private Ryan.  He does what he can with the little he is given as do the other actors.  A thin story with very little research done and tons of clichés made this unbearable.

I would advise any fans out there of World War II films to stay away.  This is just going to annoy you.

Special Features:

-Deleted Scenes

-In the Trenches: Filming Company of Heroes

-Fabricating World War II

-Previews of Sony Blu-ray Disc, Parker, Iron Man: Rise of the Technovore, A Dark Truth, Lake Placid: The Final Chapter, Small Apartments

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