So once again we have survived.

Dirty Dozen: The Next Mission

tn_dirtydozennextmissionHow do you know to lower your expectations for the sequel? When it’s included on the DVD with the first movie. And not as a double feature, but as a bonus feature. I didn’t realize this was on the DIRTY DOZEN dvd when I rented it, but I found it while browsing the extras. Never seen it before so I decided to give it a shot.

THE NEXT MISSION was made for TV in 1985. It’s supposed to take place about 6 months later, but Lee Marvin has aged 18 years. Somehow they got Marvin, Borgnine and Richard Jaeckel all to come back. They have a new mission with a new Dirty Dozen including Ken Wahl and Sonny Landham.

Alot of the movie, especially the first half hour or so, just made me sad. Marvin’s age is really showing (this was his next to last movie) and he just doesn’t seem like he’s into it at all. They make poor Lee and Ernest rehash the whole Borgnine-pitching-the-mission sequence and the Marvin-recruiting-the-convicts one and they even use whole chunks and paragraphs of the exact same dialogue as in the original. Then Marvin will say things like, “That sounds familiar.”

mp_dirtydozennextmissionThis was 1985, when plenty of people had VCRs, but I guess maybe they still figured you hadn’t seen THE DIRTY DOZEN in a long time, and by exactly redoing it but with worse acting and camerawork they would make you would think “ah, what a pleasant reminder of yesteryear!” But if you watch the two back-to-back like I did I’m pretty sure you’ll agree that there’s nothing pleasant about it.

Also there’s a part where they re-use an 18 year old shot of Marvin driving up to a building. It’s so obviously not from the same film stock it kind of reminds me of on a sitcom when they cut to an exterior shot of a city to pretend this isn’t all shot on video on a stage in front of an audience. Come on man, that footage is old enough to vote. Just rent a fuckin jeep and re-do it.

THE NEXT MISSION is maybe an hour shorter than THE PREVIOUS MISSION, so they skip over the rivalry and war games and go straight to the mission, which involves the takeover of a train and the shooting of a Nazi general who might be planning to assassinate Hitler. Once it gets more into the specific preparations and the mission itself it becomes more enjoyable because it’s not exactly the same as before, and that’s probaly why Marvin starts to get more lively and enthused. He does the numbering and rhyming for all the stages of his plan like in part 1, but otherwise it’s semi-new material. For example it introduces the idea of him getting the Dozen’s cooperation by telling them there’s gold on the train. I’m not sure what book or movie started that one. They used it in NAM ANGELS though.

The big moment is when the sniper gets the target in his sights, but Hitler is there too so he’s tempted to kill him instead. Lee Marvin has to talk him out of it. That’s a dilemma usually reserved for time travelers who have the chance to stop the Holocaust but don’t want to fuck up the future in some unforeseen butterfly effect type of way, like there was no WWII but super-intelligent Yetis now control all of Asia and Europe or that kind of thing. This has nothing to do with that. The thinking, as explained by Borgnine during a golf game, is that Hitler’s incompetence will end the war soon, but if he dies now this general would take command and the war would stretch on for years. And I mean how many more dozens is Lee Marvin gonna want to train?  Shit, just one year and he’ll be 99 years old at the rate he’s aging. This war needs over with.

Landham doesn’t have much to do, Wahl plays a racist dick, and whoever is playing the Savalas crazy type is a horrible actor. But by the end I was a little more involved in it, so I kind of liked seeing how it ended up. In fact, the highlight of the movie is the very end, when the survivors crash land a stolen Nazi plane, still wearing Nazi uniforms, and an English farmer tries to take them prisoner. Reisman uses his American accent to tell the farmer he’s done a good job, puts his arm around him and heads for the nearest pub to buy him a pint.

Since this was made for TV you could compare it to DTV. They wanted a sequel but not enough to pay for a real one. But actually it was higher profile than DTV because back then there weren’t as many channels, so I’d bet more people saw this than picked up CARLITO’S WAY: RISE TO POWER. I don’t know if this was made because of all the Vietnam-related mission movies of the time. Same year as RAMBO: FIRST BLOOD PART II, but I’d guess it was a coincidence. The director, Andrew V. McLaglen, actually did the men-on-a-mission movie THE DEVIL’S BRIGADE back in ’68 and THE WILD GEESE in ’78. He also did that Joe Don Baker movie MITCHELL that the Mystery Science nerds like to make fun of, and after this one he did another TV sequel, RETURN FROM THE RIVER KWAI. The writer, Michael Kane (no relation), wrote SOUTHERN COMFORT. And JAWS 3-D. And SMOKEY AND THE BANDIT II.

The completist in me enjoyed seeing this, but I gotta tell you the quality is somewhere between the original DIRTY DOZEN and the average A-TEAM episode. And it kind of bummed me out to see Marvin getting decrepit. He had grey hair for most (all?) of his acting career, so you always think of him as a capable old guy. Here he’s finally showing his age.

Luckily it’s made for TV so it doesn’t count. On second thought it’s admirably honest to use this as a mere bonus feature, and maybe even good marketing. Remember when they put Cronenberg’s THE FLY on DVD as a double feature with THE FLY II? Good value, but I think people were happy when they later released them separately. They’d rather pay more to not have THE FLY II written on the cover. Same goes for THE NEXT MISSION. Just check the bonus disc if you’re interested.

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.
This entry was posted on Thursday, September 10th, 2009 at 1:34 pm and is filed under Action, Reviews, War. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

23 Responses to “Dirty Dozen: The Next Mission”

  1. Excellent review Vern. Personally I think we really dodged a bullet when the Super Yetis fumbled the ball. Man, that was close.

  2. Someone should do a time travel movie where it’s revealed Hitler only came to power BECAUSE someone used time travel and saved him from being killed early in his life. If Quantum Leap can do the JFK episode where the twist is in the “original” timeline it was Jackie who died, not John, then we should be able to get that.

  3. No offense to Borgnine, but his logic to the sniper to NOT kill Hitler is kinda….daffy.

    Since this takes place 6 months after the first movie, that operation taking place on the eve of D-Day, that would make this what…December 1944/Janurary 1945? Regardless if the syphillus/dope fiend dictator, or a competent tactician stuck with scant resources and manpower….Nazi Germany* is fucked. Of course maybe Borgnine doesn’t know that I guess, to be fair.

    Stu – Good concept. I’ve been looking for a book, can’t remember the title, where sometime during WW2, Hitler’s train was ambushed by a SAS Commando squad. Hitler is dead, and he’s replaced by a near duplicat UK secret agent. So you have this morality drama/spy thriller where he’s trying on one hand to end the war early….but not “too early” or else his top brass would get suspicious, and this includes the Holocaust. That might be a decent movie.

    *=Comic book fans might remember DC Comics’ THE FREEDOM FIGHTERS, which had a crazy premise that WW2 never ended…and that comic was from the 70s/80s, so that war kept going 30-40 years!

  4. shut yo mouth! I’m just talkin’ bout Mitchell!

  5. I’d pay to see both of those movies. The time travel WWII one and the Fake Hitler one. And on another note, I’m one of those people who refused to buy “The Fly/The Fly II” because as much as I love “The Fly” – it’s in my top 10 – I didn’t want “The Fly II” anywhere in my house. Same for that “Revenge of the Nerds/Revenge of the Nerds II: Nerds in Paradise” disc. Go figure.

  6. I got that two-disc version and this second one is truly awful. I remember seeing and liking it as a kid but as an adult its grimace-inducing, especially after just watching the fun first one, the original let’s lock in the nazis and burn them alive movie. And there’s two more, even worse sequels, starring Telly Savalas (different character from the first one. Not a rapist)

  7. If you want to see a film with some _really_ funny stock footage check out the first of the five, count em, five Operation Delta Force films. The first one stars Jeff Fahey and Ernie Hudson, which is the closest, by miles, that any of the films come to featuring an A-list cast. The films feature basically the same set of characters, with different actors playing the characters in each film. Sometimes, actors from earlier ODF films play different characters in the later ones. For example Greg Collins plays “Mac” in ODF 3, but gets promoted to playing the leader “Skip” in ODF 4 (the best of the series), where “Mac” is played by the guy who played the villain in the first one. But the important part is the stock footage. Someone orders a plane to drop a bomb on a railway tunnel. We then cut to what looks like early colour newsreel footage from WWII of a plane taking off and dropping a bomb. This is followed by stock explosions. We then cut to the tunnel which now has smoke coming out of it. Back to newsreel footage of the plane flying off, and then on with the film. Genius.

  8. Why the hell is the Sniper so damn cool in all these movies?

    Rambo.
    Saving Private Ryan.
    Tom Berringer.

    Who cares. It’s great.

  9. Ah, the joys of stock footage. “Strange explosions are devastating the countryside! No one knows what’s causing them, but they’re scaring all the buffalo!”

  10. “like there was no WWII but super-intelligent Yetis now control all of Asia and Europe or that kind of thing.”

    This movie desperately needs to be made.

  11. PacmanFever : Something similar happens in Dirty Dozen. Savalas returns in the third one and last one , Ernest Borgnine is on board for all four movies while Ernie Hudson is in the fourth. The only thing missing is Jeff Fahey!

    Man , I always liked this kind of movies . The Dirty Dozens , The Wild Geese , Where Eagles Dare and , obviously , Inglorious Bastards ( here in Italy “Quel maledetto treno blindato” translated as “That damned Armored Train” , I never understood all that “bastards” stuff , from a translation point of view). This are the movies I like to watch with my father, our “bonding” movies , for the widely recognizable , old school actors , or maybe because these are true classics and very fun films .

  12. Don’t forget the Man With No Name’s trilogy’s approach to recasting actors. The first 2 have a different villain played by the same actor, and Van Cleef playing a hero then villain in the second 2.

  13. Hey , remember that community project about Nazis vs Ninjas from an old comments section? ( I don’t remember the movie ) I’d pay good money to see a movie with Nazi super-intelligent Yetis vs Ninjas…with time traveling whales !

  14. Can the whales fly? Because otherwise I don’t see how they’re going to be much use again the Yetis. Unless the Yetis are in German U-Boats.

    Okay, I just answered my own question.

  15. I think that the recasting approach is a difficult art to master , but it’s almost a parallel , definite current in film making. Enter the Ninja did it , with Kosugi returning in the sequel as the protagonist ( the same thing that happens in all the Undisputed sequels , but with the same character) and in Undisputed 2 we saw the recasting of the lead ! My head hurts now.

  16. Mr. Majestyk : Time Traveling Whales ! They’re so technologically advanced that it’s not even a fair fight : missiles , laser eyes , spaceships , death stars. Plus , remember , they’ve got ninjas riding on their backs.

  17. Vern, you need to review THE WILD GEESE. One of the best merc movies ever made.
    Richard Burton
    Richard Harris
    Roger Moore
    Hardy Krueger
    Stewart Granger and a ton of other british badasses.

    To quote the great RSM Sandy Young: “Some of you know me already! Those of you who don’t are in for a great, big fuckin’ surprise! For those of you who do can expect an infinitely more horrible time than they can remember! Any man here who steps out of line I will kill stone dead, it will not worry me in the slightest! There are no Queen’s regulations here! When I say jump, you ask how high,Do I make myself clear? I want to hear it! Do I make myself clear? RIGHT! On the command Right and Left turn, A and B squads turn to the right, C and D squads turn to the left. SQUADS! Right and Left TURN! Right! Let’s drive for our first heart attack shall we!”

    Great movie.

  18. Kermit, have you seen Ninja III: The Domination? In that one, Sho gets recast as an eyepatch-wearing Obi Wan type who saves the day at the end. That movie begins with the most excellent display of ninjing ever, as a ninja runs around a golf course taking out cop cars and helicopters with throwing stars and spears and shit. Then the chick from Breakin’ gets possessed by the spirit of an evil ninja, which really puts a damper on her aerobicizing. It’s kind of an amazing movie. It’s like if Enter the Ninja and The Exorcist had a threeway with Flashdance.

  19. My theory is that the Yeti vs Time-travelling whales / Nazis movie is already being scripted, and that Seagal will be cast as the lead, and then his character will change from being a gruff sargent to an ex-CIA watchmaker, and then the whole thing will be changed inthe editing room to be about a Sri Lankan opium smuggling operation. But I do expect stock footage to make an appearance.

  20. Mr. Majestyk : Unfortunately , no . From the original Ninja Trilogy , I missed only the third one . I KNEW of the Exorcist/Ninja angle , but all the Flashdancing part is new to me. I’m still trying to track this movie down ( remember , medieval Italy over here , “tracking down” still involves sniffing around old , dusty piles of VHS from an age long gone) and now I want to see this even more.

  21. I bought a DVD-R it from a vendor on iOffer.com for $2.50. They’ve got all kinds of great not-on-DVD shit there for rock-bottom prices.

    It’s totally worth tracking down. Hands-down the best of the series. (Sorry, Franco.)

  22. Mr. Majestyk, I remember watching that one as a kid.
    Amazingly crazy movie.
    I think the Golf Ninja kills about a gazillion dudes before “disappearing”.
    I need to rewatch that one.

  23. Wow , you’re not the first to tell me that Ninja III is the best of the series , and I even liked a lot the second one , usually the most hated. I’m going to look into this iOffer thing, maybe this time it’s the right time. And , to tell you the truth , my video store HAD the movie , I’ve seen it on the shelves , but I always skipped it in favor of other things like the Octagon ,the American Ninjas or Shaw Brothers movies. Big Fucking Mistake.( Well , I rented Chinese Super Ninjas , THE best ninja movie of all time , in my opinion , so it was a mistake , but I’m glad I did it ! ).

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