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The Wild Geese

The Wild Geese
A British multinational company seeks to overthrow a vicious dictator in central Africa. It hires a band of (largely aged) mercenaries in London and sends them in to save the virtuous but imprisoned opposition leader who is also critically ill and due for execution. Just when the team has performed a perfect rescue, the multinational does a deal with the vicious dictator leaving the mercenary band to escape under their own steam and exact revenge.
Title The Wild Geese
Release Date 1978-07-05
Runtime
Genres Action Thriller War
Production Companies Richmond Productions
Production Countries United Kingdom, Switzerland

Reviews

Per Gunnar Jonsson
Yesterday we sat down to watch another oldie that I had seen when I was younger quite some years ago. I remember this movie being quite high on my list of movies that I appreciated as a kid so when I saw it coming it on Blu-ray I had to get it. It is still a decent film but I remembered it as better. The story is a fairly old a frequently reused one. Band of mercenary gets a mission by some person or entity of debatable reputation. Said person or entity double-crosses them, usually in a way which leaves them stranded and with a very short life expectancy. One or more of the mercenaries did not have his or hers imminent demise written into the script and thus ruins the plans, and usually the life, of one or more persons on the double-crossing side. Nothing wrong with a trusted and tried story as long as it is well done. In 1978 when this film was made I guess the actions scenes were considered fairly good. Today they are rather mediocre though. The mercenaries that are supposed to be experts are behaving in a fairly amateurish manner. The bridge attack scene is especially annoying in that these people just sit there waiting for the plane to make pass after pass instead of getting their behinds under cover. In a later scene Richard Harris is seen shooting at the bad guys together with a bunch of his fellow mercenaries but his gun is pointing in a 30 degree angle upwards. He might have hit some real geese but sure as hell not any of the bad guys. As so many films from the 70’s it also tries to make a political statement but that particular part is just boringly old today. A South African running around and calling the guy they are supposed to rescue for “kaffer” all the time because he is black is at best a historical curiosity, and a fairly boring one at that, today. Naturally a 5 minute, equally boring, speech from the black guy turns the South African guy. Boring and silly. That is not to say that the movie is a bad one. It is still worth watching. The first parts of the movie, when the main characters are introduced, is quite enjoyable. I especially liked the bad attitude of Col. Faulkner. I have always liked Richard Burton as an actor and he doesn’t disappoint in this movie. Roger Moore is of course always Roger Moore. Whether or not you like him is another story. Also, even though it is not up to today’s standards there are plenty of watchable action in the later parts of the movie. So I did enjoy my oldie movie evening but the movie was not as good as I remembered. But then that is maybe not too surprising when you re-watch a move that you first saw as a kid.
John Chard
The man is dead, Mr. Faulkner. Now only the spirit remains. Marvellously macho, a men on a mission movie proudly proclaiming that the old adage is indeed true, there is life in the old dog(s) yet. A notable cast of British and Irish thespians were rounded up and unleashed into a plot that required a band of mercenaries sent to extract an African President from some prison in the darkest part of Africa. The formula is tried and tested, the leader is a man made of stern stuff but carrying emotional baggage, his band of men assembled are a mixture of ex soldiers who have either fell on hard times or just haven't been able to let go of the army life that they feel was their calling in life. The latter of which causes great consternation amongst spouses and immediate family members. Director Andrew V. McLaglen lets it unfold in steady and unfussy time, structuring it in three stages. Stage one is getting to know the principal players, their fears, pet peeves and psychological make up, stage 2 is the re-training programme, where the good old boys wait to see who keels over from a heart attack first, then stage 3 is the mission, where blood will be shed, bodies will fall, treachery and racism are big irritants, and of course big sacrifices will have to be made during a whirl of explosions and politico pummelling. The screenplay, much like the actors playing the key roles, is very self aware to not take itself too seriously, it's also very funny at times, there is some absolute cracker-jack slices of dialogue here. The PC brigade and political historians beat themselves around their heads trying to flatten the appeal of The Wild Geese, it didn't work. Most action movie fans understood fully just what was going on, and it's the reason why today it still holds up as a perennial favourite on the British TV schedules. Richard Burton, Richard Harris, Roger Moore, Hardy Kruger, Jack Watson, Kenneth Griffith, Ronald Fraser and Percy Herbert, I salute you all. 8/10

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