The Wild Geese Reviews

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Super Reviewer
June 24, 2014
Ah now this would or could be called 'Where Eagles Dare' set in Africa, after all that was the full intention of its director, to make a start studded action adventure movie. I guess for folk of the current era you could say its a possible 'Expendables' for the 70's...to a degree, but back in the day they often made films with rip roaring cast line ups like this so it wasn't overly unusual. The film is based on a novel and apparently the Wild Geese were an Irish merc army of the 17th century, but why would a modern unit of mercs call themselves that? are they Irish? is it simply because they are also mercs? odd.

The mission is simple, drop into Swaziland and rescue an African leader who has been overthrown (I think) and due to be executed by his own men, then bounce back across the border before anyone knew they were there. The team are a hand picked bunch of mercs led by ex-British army officer Richard Burton, his main choices include Roger Moore, Richard Harris, Hardy Kruger and Jack Watson. The rest are hired help all recruited for their skills and experience of course, on top of that they have support from the British government. The mercs are being funded by the ruthless Stewart Granger who (for some reason) wants this African leader saved and devised the plan.

The first thing that really hits you with this film is how charming everything is, the film is pretty old now (year I was born) but its all so quaint and olde worlde. You watch this now and look back at England and its incredible, the changes are VAST, the country is unrecognisable...but for the good or the bad? Seeing all the sets, props, outfits and military techniques its really quite amusing because you know at one time this was a slick modern action movie, but now oh my! I love how all the mercs wear that old British green camouflage getup with red berets! despite the fact they are in the barren dusty bush heavy terrain of Africa where they kinda stick out like...errr soldiers wearing green outfits and red berets.

What I really love (and miss) is the fact that all the main characters are just regular guys who happen to be good solid soldiers. They're not a squad of super roided up muscle bound Arnie wannabes posing for the camera at every given opportunity, they are average Joe's with average physiques and normal haircuts. There isn't any hyper martial arts or ginormous explosions with vehicles flying through the air or masses of bloody squibs bursting all over the bush floor or slow motion mega stunts or gun porn or destruction porn yadda yadda yadda. Its a very grounded action film that actually revolves around quite a bit of dialog covering planning, tactics, a bit of redemption, a bit of heart and some classic silver screen hokey ass acting from the likes of Moore who chomps on a cigar the entire time. I just love Richard Harris's hair in this film...its sooooo damn 70's its untrue, can you even imagine an action star with hair like that in a modern blockbuster! I wanna see it happen.

The film does start off pretty slow truth be told, nothing much happens for around the first 30 minutes at least, its all plot building and then training. When we do reach Africa the action gets going straight away as the men get stuck in rescuing their target. As I said this is no flashy modern CGI filled piece of crap, the action here is more along the lines of an old James Bond flick where enemies fall over and die when they clearly haven't received any bullet wounds. But despite the cheesy action it does feel satisfying, there is something refreshing about seeing some genuine old fashioned stars duke it out with lashings of hammy emotional drama as members of the unit go down in a blaze of glory.

The score made me laugh though as throughout the action, no matter what happens, the score always seems quite upbeat and light-hearted. Some guy just got shot in the head, Roger Moore's eyebrow is in overdrive and Richard Harris's hair is flapping all over the show in a sweaty panic yet all the while the musical score chirps along to itself as though it were on a sunny Sunday drive. At no point does the score ever seem to fit the onscreen action! I have found this with many old films and their scores and its quite bizarre when you compare them to today's thundering rousing tear jerking symphonies.

The film does descent into very familiar territory as the team gets picked off one by one as they attempt to escape their predicament. It is fun to watch and I was never that sure who would actually make it as this is the first time I've seen the film and there were a lot of mercs to choose from. Clearly the suave Moore wasn't gonna kick the bucket and amazingly Burton also makes it out alive despite the fact he's clearly way too old to be there, has a mountain of makeup on to hide his age, can't run to save his life and looks like he's about to keel over from heat exhaustion. There is effort to make the finale emotional as important team members bite the dust but personally I found the whole thing too silly really, not in a bad way but its just an old film simple as that.

Must give kudos for having a homosexual merc on the team (especially for the era), hilarious as half the soldiers look like they should be drawing their pensions but lets not forget that's actually the point...still damn funny though. The films also touches on the treatment of black folk by the white mercs (this was the apartheid era), mainly the stereotypically blonde Nazi looking Afrikaner who unsurprisingly has to take care of the African leader they are rescuing, doesn't get on at first yet in the end they have virtually kissed and made up.

It is a great military adventure which isn't entirely realistic and isn't played that way. Its more like an extended episode of The A-Team with some slightly controversial elements of the time. It almost feels like a film for boys, like toy soldiers and playing war, its daft, hokey and artificial merely giving blokes/young men/boys a chance to see their favourite Hollywood alpha males kick some ass. Its just unfortunate they set this Hollywood war game in a location where serious things were happening and it didn't really feel very suitable. But if you can look past the awkward political aspects of the era, its a solid romp at a time when male Hollywood stars were real men's men grrrr!.
Super Reviewer
February 5, 2013
A big, spectacular and explosive good time for two hours. It's smart, very funny and loaded with non-stop action. A classic action movie that you cant help but love. It's a thrilling and endlessly enjoyable British version of The Expendables. It's packed with action, humor, and a large list of British stars that all delivers the goods. I loved this film. Richard Harris, Roger Moore and Richard Burton are excellent together, they are the perfect combo of wit, attitude and heart. Movies like this are rarely made anymore but its nice to look back and see where our heroes of today were inspired from our heroes of back in the day.
DragonEyeMorrison
Super Reviewer
½ May 12, 2010
Wild Bunch vibe, with a british flavour. In many ways this has the soul and form that was lacking in The Expendables. British people truly are more badass by default.
kpn666
Super Reviewer
½ January 14, 2008
An action war thriller which takes the best parts of the Dirty Dozen, the Dogs of War and others and rolls them into this hectic flick with more than a touch of style and throw in a star leading cast and yep, it works!

One of the best war action movies Ive seen, they sure dont make them as they used to! Meet the Wild Geese, a mercenary group hired to rescue an exiled African president for a British CEO whose interests lie in the Presidents country's copper mines, an obvious plot of treachery and deception afoot. But when things go astray, the Wild Geese decide if they are going to die, they will die hurting those who betrayed them where it hurts - and crossing these men will come at a high price as the CEO and the African dictators' army will find out the hard way.

Its smart, a great script, some great humor and near realistic action scenes, its not a movie with all the huff and fluff of Hollywood, but a geunine near reality based movie, so no fancy computer imagery or such, just nice raw cinema at its best.


Yep, defintley a war movie to watch!
Super Reviewer
September 12, 2010
A entertaining good old blood and guts action-adventure, starring the late Richard Burton in a first-rate performance as a fearless veteran mercenary, Colonel Faulkner who has been employed by a sinister British banker, well played by Stewart Granger, who in a effort to advance his own business interests, wants him to free a deposed African president from a brutal prison in Africa, before he is executed by a ruthless dictator. Burton contacts and also hires his former mercenary compatriots, played terrifically by Roger Moore and Richard Harris, who organized 50 crack mercenary paratroops to go to a remote hostile corner of Africa to rescue the imprisoned president. Burton and his team of mercenaries accomplished their mission, only to fine out the hard way that they have been double-crossed by the banker, who has struck a new deal with the dictator. Solid direction by Andrew V. MacLaglen, with excellent supporting performances by Hardy Kruger, Jack Wetson, Winston Ntshona, John Kani, and Kenneth Griffith. The thrilling combat battle sequences are well-choreographed, and the nail-biting climactic escape is very suspenseful. Filmed on location in South Africa. Highly Recommended.
DrLappos
Super Reviewer
September 15, 2007
Brilliant. Old Brits with guns and stuff....
FanadFilmsProduction
Super Reviewer
½ May 5, 2007
This was one of the most real performances Richard Burton ever gave. Also, Roger Moore and Richard Harris were amazing in it.

I could watch this over and over again.
September 17, 2010
Good luck to you, you Godless murderers.
file:///C:/Documents%20and%20Settings/Edward%20Cantillo/My%20Documents/cooltext469859153.png.pngMixing action, humor, sentiment, and even a few righteous moral convictions, The Wild Geese is good, rousing fun. Released theatrically in 1978 (oddly, this 2005 DVD release is referred to as the "30th Anniversary Edition"), director Andrew V. McLaglen?s film depicts the adventures of a group of British mercenaries hired by a shady multinational corporation to free the benevolent leader of an African nation held captive by a ruthless dictator. Led by the caustic, no-nonsense Col. Allen Faulkner (Richard Burton), these soldiers of fortune are all stout fellows out to earn a big payday and restore a good man to his rightful place of power (the underlying message of universal racial brotherhood is effective, if somewhat simplistic), and they do their job swiftly and efficiently... at least until they're double-crossed by their venal, perfidious employers, at which point the film becomes a tale of survival and revenge. The cast, which also includes Richard Harris, Roger Moore, and a host of other fine veteran actors, is first-rate, the story-telling efficient, the dialogue entertaining (with occasional bursts of profanity), and the action reasonably exciting and not overly graphic. And even if the pace is somewhat leisurely by new millennium standards (we're nearly an hour into it before the actual mission starts), The Wild Geese is a very enjoyable ride. Bonus features include a profile of producer Euan Lloyd and commentary by Lloyd, Moore, and journalist Jonathan Sothcott. --Sam Graham
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The first few minutes were really boring but his was anstounding movie. All cause of acting and effects and you have a little bit of good acting.
August 25, 2006
My favorite movie- a wonderfully realistic look at mercenary warfare as it was from the 60s to the 80s.
June 13, 2006
Richard Burton, Roger Moore and Richard Harris are great as three British mercenaries hired to rescue an imprisoned African leader. They don't make good action movies like this any more.
½ January 19, 2014
So great to see Burton, Harris and Moore having such a ball in this tough and gritty thriller. The back story is great and puts it above such nonsense as The Dirty Dozen but the run into the climax is a bit of a tedious runaround and shoot 'em up.
½ November 5, 2013
They mostly come at night,mostly
Plot/Summary57 years after the original attack, Ripley and a crew of marines return to the planet to kill the remaining aliens that have slaughtered the colonists on the planet.
My Review
This is one of those movies that, whenever we find it on cable, no matter w
hat part is on, we can't help but tune in. There is too much awesomeness in this movie to identify just one reason why Cameron's 1986 sequel to Ridley Scott's Alien works as well as it does.

Aliens continues the story of the number one cause of hurtin' for chicks named "Ripley." It adds a new layer to the Alien's biological cycle, introducing an Alien Queen and ? in doing so ? one of the big screen's best and scariest villains. The hit sequel is a bullet of a movie that packs the perfect amount of character development, horror and action into a story that could have been thread-bare in a lesser craftsman's hands.

Ripley's return to LV-426, the planet where she first encountered the alien, is now home to a shake-n-bake colony of families and workers, which is basically ringing the dinner bell for the xenomorphs to prove that, in space, everyone can hear you scream if you die loud enough.

Ripley joins an elite group of Colonial Marines sent on a bug hunt, and they quickly find that neither flame thrower nor bug-eyed troopers by way of Hudson are a match for things that bleed acid and sweat slime. Cameron's decision to keep Ripley and Newt as the emotional core of the movie makes the increasing threats around them all the more conducive putting us on the edge of our seats.

That, coupled with the Power Loader vs. Alien Queen showdown, underscored by James Horner's epic score, is why Aliens is not just a great Cameron film, but one of the best movies ever made.
½ February 15, 2013
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.
October 12, 2012
One of the absolute classic special forces/operations films of all-time. Really does a good job of portraying the historically critical role of mercenary units frequently used during the Cold War (even still today) in Africa when the need for a covertly planned coup was called for and answered by men (characters) brilliantly played by Richard Burton. The supporting cast is excellent as well with Roger Moore and Richard Harris to name just a few. Highly recommended for action/military aficionados.
½ July 27, 2012
It's THE DIRTY DOZEN with aging mercenarys, with a bloody (English slang) high body count and former 007 agent, Roger Moore.
April 21, 2012
Nothing outstanding, but a solid cast and I liked it.
November 20, 2011
Splendid action film, with first rate acting--Burton and Harris are untouchable. The story works, but it is too close to the truth for contemporary politically correct imbeciles, who would as soon forget about Moise Tshombe, the betrayal of the Congo, and the willingness of many in the West to embrace any thugs whatsoever under the banner of "decolonialization". But perhaps these spastic leftist sentiments have receded enough to permit people to enjoy a good film.
April 28, 2008
THE WILD GEESE (1978)
December 11, 2010
A good old shoot em up blood and guts british action film.
½ October 9, 2010
One of the highlights of that year, to my recollection.
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