- Movie Rating -

The Wild Geese (1978)

| November 11, 1978

I saw The Wild Geese for the first time on a crummy old UHF station when I was a kid and even then I knew that this movie was a dumpster fire.  It says a lot when an action movie is too stupid to even keep the attention of a 9-year-old, but here we are.

The Wild Geese was made at the lowest common denominator, and aimed at those that presumably don’t ask for anything more.  The bar is set so low in this movie that it could cut your grass.  It’s a half-assed old war picture with lots of guns, lots of explosions and a lot of talented aging British actors sporting khaki and doing little else except cashing a paycheck.  Into this heap of indifference we have Richard Burton, Roger Moore, Richard Harris

And just to keep you awake, there are a lot of talented British actors gathered together to give performances that anybody anywhere could have given.  Here we have Richard Burton, Richard Harris, Roger Moore and Stewart Granger acting out scenes that weren’t written, they were stolen from every other war movie that you’ve ever seen.

The plot here is ridiculous.  A mercenary soldier (that’s Burton) is hired to sneak into an African nation in order to rescue kidnapped populist political leader.  The exposition is explained for the audience, Burton feigns reluctance and then rounds up his old war buddies to help him out (that’s Harris and More), both of which he hauls out of their cozy retirement.  This is the kind of toxic manhood movie where guns and cigars and soft-level four-letter words are employed to make sure that we absolutely know that these are men, real men, tough men, that they are manly men who do manly things.

The battle scenes are kind of embarrassing.  Burton and his cronies parachute into enemy territory and spend the rest of the movie mowing down one hapless, faceless enemy goon after another.  The job of these actors that you’ve never seen or heard of is to be shot and killed by the troup of actors that you have heard of.  Your chances of survival in a picture like this is based on where you are on the celebrity food chain.

The Wild Geese is a ridiculous movie, but what makes it even worse is the deadening credit of the late, great Richard Burton who was on a losing streak during the decade with, not only The Wild Geese but with The Exorcist II, Hammersmith is Out, Bluebeard, Raid on Rommel, Massacre in Rome, The Medusa Touch and Absolution.  Fortunately, his legacy of great work in the previous decades would stand, but cashing a paycheck in garbage like this did him no favors.

About the Author:

Jerry Roberts is a film critic and operator of two websites, Armchair Cinema and Armchair Oscars.
(1978) View IMDB Filed in: Action, War
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