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Geheimcode Wildgänse

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    Ian Jane
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  • Geheimcode Wildgänse



    Geheimcode Wildgí¤nse
    Released by: Ascot Elite
    Released on: May 13th, 2014.
    Director: Anthony M. Dawson (Antonio Margheriti)
    Cast: Lewis Collins, Lee Van Cleef, Ernest Borgnine, Klaus Kinski, Mimsy Farmer
    Year: 1984
    Purchase From Diabolik DVD

    The Movie:

    Directed by the late, great Antonio Margheriti under his Anthony M. Dawson pseudonym, 1984's Geheimcode Wildgí¤nse (Codename: Wild Geese for those of us who don't speak German) arrives on region free Blu-ray uncut from Ascot Elite. The premise of Code Name: Wild Geese isn't exactly a mind bending one. In fact, you could argue that it's pretty basic at best. But director Margheriti's story of a commando team hired to take down an opium operation is a fast paced and action packed film that, despite its shortcomings, is hard not to enjoy.

    Lewis Collins (who also shows up in Commando Leopard and The Commander, once again directed by Margheriti) plays Commander Robin Wesley. He's been assigned the task of assembling a crack unit of soldiers to aid in his mission to wipe out a heroin plant hidden in the jungles of South East Asia. Who gave him this job? Why, a couple of big wigs including a guy named Fletcher (Earnest Borgnine) and another named Charleton (Klaus Kinski) that's who. They don't really go into detail on why they want Wesley to do this, but they specifically state that he's the man for the job and who are we to doubt them? They also let him know that he could run into trouble with a local General who may have a sizeable army to deal with once they arrive. This guy isn't going to react too kindly when he finds out what their intentions are.

    So Wesley puts together his team of mighty fighting men and sets out to get himself a pilot in the form of a man called China, played by Lee Van Cleef. Good choice there on his part. If you're going to head into a jungle to take down a heroin plant and possibly have to fight your way out against a drug lord's army, you definitely want Captain Apache himself by your side. Wesley also drives his car through a tunnel along the side of the wall to evade some people who are following him. This also serves to prove, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that he is a complete and total bad ass (location junkies take note - this looks like the same tunnel Jackie Chan zips through using his roller suit in Chinese Zodiac).

    Anyway, Wesley, China and the crew head into the jungle, steal themselves a helicopter, and head into the thick of it all to bag themselves some fiends. They do just that, take down the processing plant, and rescue a foxy hostage named Kathy Robson (Mimsy Farmer). They also find out that Charleton's name is on the list of contacts that the drug lord kept in his computer.

    After they head out of there they take one of their wounded to find shelter with a priest who runs a church in the middle of the jungle. He informs them that there is a second plant that they're going to need to take down as well. The evil drug peddling General tracks them to the church they're hiding out in and bombs it to kingdom come but our heroes aren't there when it happens and make it out safely. Finding out that the priest was among the dead, however, pisses Lee Van Cleef off pretty good, so you know what's coming.

    As the remaining commandos head off to the second plant, who should we see heading up the river standing at the front of a boat with some other soldiers? Charleton. Now, if you've seen Aguirre - The Wrath Of God (and if you haven't, you should), you know that if you see Klaus Kinski heading towards standing at the front of a boat heading up river, you should get the Hell out of there. But Wesley and China are tough SOBs so they stay and fight. They're determined to do whatever it takes to complete their mission and get to the bottom of the drug-dealing ring… no matter who is involved.

    While the first twenty minutes of the film move a little slow, once the crew gets to the jungle and starts blowing stuff up, the movie keeps going at a brisk pace and it seems like there's a new explosion every two or three minutes. Kinski and Van Cleef are both great in their respective roles, and Kinski's final scene is wonderfully over the top, though both actors really should have been given a bit more screen time. Most of the screen time goes to leading man Lewis Collins, and he does fine in the part. He doesn't have the most range you're ever going to see nor does he really have tons of charisma but he plays the tough guy part well and his interactions with Van Cleef are fun to watch. Throw in a sorely underused Borgnine and a sexy Mimsy Farmer and you can easily see how the cast in this picture really help to make it as watchable as it is.

    Regardless, even with the two powerhouses in supporting roles, Code Name: Wide Geese is a lot of fun and is worth watching just for the ridiculous car chase scene alone. The action comes at a solid pace and the jungle settings are nicely photographed and the goofy eighties synth rock score from a German band named Eloy somehow kinda-sorta works even when there's no way that it should. Throw in plenty of gratuitous violence, some great tough guy dialogue, and oodles of quality explosions and you've got yourself a winner. Throw any expectations of realism out the window and enjoys this one for the ultra-violent eighties escapism that it is!

    Video/Audio/Extras:

    Codename: Wildgeese debuts on Blu-ray, uncut, from Ascot Elite framed at 2.35.1 widescreen in AVC encoded 1080p high definition. Contrast is a little off here and sometimes things look a little flat but detail and depth are better than standard definition could provide even if things never reach the eye popping clarity other releases have. Some of this would seem to stem back to the elements and shooting style employed. Black levels are okay and skin tones look alright. The greens could have maybe looked a bit lusher but the bright hues of the explosions are nice and colorful.

    DTS-HD 5.1 Surround Sound mixes are provided in German and English while Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo tracks are provided in French and Italian. There are no subtitles provided. The English audio is fine. Dialogue is easy enough to understand and the score sounds good enough to work. There's some decent power behind the gun shots and explosions here and while this is still limited by the age and low budget of the material, it sounds fine.

    The disc includes an audio commentary with producer Erwin C. Dietrich as well as a 'Promoversion' of the feature, which is a truncated shorter version of the movie presumably put together for promotional purposes. There's also a featurette on the disc entitled Soldner Stories, a featurette on Manfred Lehmann entitled Strib Iangasm Den Philippines, a featurette on Thomas Danneberg entitled Soldner Und Synchronstar, an interview with Hartmut Neugebauer and another interview with Klaus Kinski. Unfortunately none of these extras are subtitled, they're all in German and German only (which makes sense given the target market for this release).

    Rounding out the extras are a trailer for the feature, trailers for a few other Ascot Elite action Blu-ray titles, the film's original film soundtrack as an isolated score and a decent sized still gallery. Menus and chapter stops are also included. And once again, for the BD-Rom equipped out there, if you pop the disc into your computer you'll have access to a thirty-six page text interview with Dietrich from an issue of a German fanzine called Splatting Image. This is all in German but it's got some very cool pictures and stills accompanying it. Additionally, the disc also includes the complete text of the incredibly rare one hundred and ninety seven page book on Dietrich's films, Mädchen, Machos und Moneten: die unglaubliche Geschichte des Schweizer Kinounternehmers Erwin C. Dietrich. It's also all in German but it's loaded with pictures and archival images. Additionally the cover art for this release is reversible, with one poster art style on side A and an alternate poster art style on side B - it's a little thing but it's a nice touch.

    The Final Word:

    Codename: Wild Geese is a blast, a ridiculously fun low budget eighties action extravaganza with a killer cast, some wacky stunt work and lot of bad ass explosions and tough talking characters. It's a shame that the awesome array of extras on the disc aren't English friendly and the transfer isn't one that will ever serve as home theater demo material, but the movie is here in HD completely uncut and the world is a better place because of it.

    Click on the images below for full sized Blu-ray screen caps!































    • Paul L
      #1
      Paul L
      Scholar of Sleaze
      Paul L commented
      Editing a comment
      This is such a fun film and, happily, this BD is uncut. Nice review, Ian :)
    Posting comments is disabled.

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