A big, impressive slab of drama -- maybe not a masterpiece or an epic, but a colorful story that sweeps you up and covers a lot of ground at a fast clip.
'The Reconstruction,' which clocks in at 2 hours, 43 minutes, with not a single extraneous frame, elevates the work from a robust genre film to a full-blown epic.
| Original Score: 5/5
To see this seamless 'reconstruction' -- consisting of some 15 entirely new sequences as well as augmentations to 23 others -- is to behold a masterpiece revealed.
Even though it has gained more than 45 minutes, it doesn't feel longer. Scenes that were choppy or half-baked are now allowed to play out as Fuller intended.
| Original Score: 3/4
The director's gift for bare-knuckles lyricism rescues scene after scene.
If you don't elect to watch The Big Red One through the lens of Sam Fuller's mystique ... you'll realize that it has been celebrated in ways that essentially make virtues of its flaws.
| Original Score: C
In its own rough and still unfinished way, The Big Red One works -- as a memoir of a time, and a movie of the war.
Alas, the lost version of Samuel Fuller's The Big Red One of 1980 has been found -- reassembled, actually, by the distinguished film critic Richard Schickel -- and it's a lot less than legendary. It isn't even very good.
The combination of old-time Hollywood valor and ahead-of-its-time surprises makes this restoration a big event.
| Original Score: 3.5/4
What the movie may lack in Saving Private Ryan-style gloss, it more than makes up for in authenticity, or, in other words, heart.
Seven years after Fuller's death, 24 years after its initial, botched release, and almost 60 years after V-E day, The Big Red One is finally here, in a form close to what Fuller intended.
You must see this film for one unstoppable reason, and that is Lee Marvin.
The Big Red One isn't even Fuller's greatest war film. Of those, I'd rank it fourth -- but that's not half bad.
As the longest and biggest of Fuller's movies, it magnifies the essence -- good and bad -- of his work.