Play Dirty - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Play Dirty Reviews

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½ January 3, 2016
Play Dirty is an excellent film. It is about Captain Douglas who is is the British army leader who is ordered to lead a band of mercenaries into the desert. Michael Caine and Nigel Davenport give fantastic performances. The screenplay is well written. Andre De Toth did a great job directing this job. I enjoyed watching this motion picture because of the adventure and drama. Play Dirty is a must see.
October 14, 2015
I can't understand why this movie is listed on this website as being released in 1969. I'll just have to go with what I know to be true. As a '70's movie, Play Dirty reflects all of the bitter values of post Vietnam America. Michael Caine is a member of the British SAS, who you might have learned about, or rather not learned about even if you watched it, from the TV show The Desert Rats. I don't know that much more about this British WWII unit except, from the movie version, that their efforts, in contrast to the popular TV show about the same subject,and to which this movie is an obvious response, are very unsuccessful. After many setbacks, the leader of Caine's unit persuades Caine and their mutual commander to undertake a mission which will be of either potentially suicidal failure, for those undertaking it, or war wining success.
I don't like war movies in general but as a fan of the cynical '70's movies I found Play Dirty to be immensely entertaining. The title says it all about the tactics Caine and his sidekick, who is actually his commanding officer, display. None on Caine's team exhibit the all-American gunghoness displayed by say, John Wayne, and it's not just that they are British. They follow their mission to the end and not without inner conflict. Outside of their own emotions is the fact that they have set something in motion that they can't turn back from, it's not No Retreat No Surrender in the Van damme way, they simply have no choice in the matter. The anti-climatic ending is Hollywood's tribute to the state of affairs in the United States at the time. WWII is here just Vietnam again. During the Korean war, Hollywood looked at WWII differently.
½ December 6, 2014
Michael Caine stars as a officer engineer that must direct a group of specialists across the North African desert to takeout a Nazi fuel dump.

Caine is always worth watching but it is a shame that he has doesn't have a film to support him. Nigel Davenport has a bromance with Caine throughout the movie and their relationship is kinda "gotta keep you alive, or I am gonna regret it."

The movie is extremely dull, boring and doesn't have a pay off worthy of the time spent enduring the movie. Sigh! (1.5 out of 5) So Says the Soothsayer
November 20, 2014
I preferred the story of Cyril, and how he rose to ruin.
October 18, 2014
Yeah! That's what you all war films like ''dirty dozen'' fans want around..
½ December 10, 2013
At the time of release this film must have been a new benchmark.
It is a gritty, critical and cynical look on the futility of war.
The story is told in a slow pace and really brings home the tedium and toil involved in the kind of warfare it portrays.
Great effort has been made to get the look and feel of the period correct and is any war buff's delight.
Acting is underplayed and must have been really chilling at the time and Sean Connery's Bond seems almost goofy in comparison.
The storyline, however, drops this film in the very dry african dust. Many of the characters and scenes are so superflous that large chunks of the film can simply be cut with no loss whatsoever to the final conclusion. It is almost as if the filmmaker tried to strech 20 minutes of film script into a full length feature. One scene, a failed rape attempt, underlines this problem. It carries no dialog, no music, almost no sound and contributes nothing to the story. One feels it has only been included for the shock value it carried at the time the film was released.
In the end one feels that this film is just as futile and worthless as the whole process of war it tries to criticize.

Today there are other films that comment on war a lot better. Watch if you are interested in Jeeps, Trucks and uniforms from WW2. (Very little else) Avoid if you want to see anything with any real content or commentary.
½ August 24, 2013
Solid, satisfying war adventure in war-time North Africa--Superior, fast paced and cynical!!
July 25, 2013
"Rommel will be defeated by two people. Hitler, who can't give him enough fuel and me, who is going to blow up what little he has." Michael Caine leads a group of convicts on a Dirty Dozen style mission in North Africa to do just that. It's a tough, mean little war film that is a must see for fans of these sorts of war films.
July 12, 2013
Cain, and the rest of the cast are great! They also pull off one heck of a finale
May 27, 2013
I generally like Michael Cain so when I saw that he was in this movie I became interested enough to watch it yesterday on Cine+ Classic. Well, Michael Cain was making a good performance in it but that was pretty much the only good thing about the movie. It starts of pretty promising but as soon as the actual mission starts it all goes downhill.

Both Michael Cain and Nigel Davenport make good performances in the roles they were given. The rest are mostly there to fill up the scenes. The movie blurb makes references to the Dirty Dozen and that is really an insult to that movie. Most of the team are simply incompetent. Leech, the so called expert starts of by screwing them into losing one of their trucks as well as a lot of equipment by pure spite and incompetence.

Colonel Masters is a snivelling wimp when confronted with his superiors who in turn are career-focused assholes.

The two Arabs that are supposed to portray homosexuals are just embarrassing. When everyone else is concentrated on defusing the booby trap these two just wander about stealing things until they trip another booby trap and one of them gets blown up. That was just stupid.

Also, why the bloody hell is everyone standing around sweating and why is Captain Douglas keeping his hand on the bloody jack when it is clear that it is a simple mechanical wire to an explosive device and you would have to actually pull at the jack and thus the wire to make it go off. That entire scene was so we-think-the-audience-are-too-stupid-to-notice-that-this-is-crap.

The film pretty much continues with such nonsense and then it comes to the end. I cannot say much without introducing a huge spoiler but...what a load of utter crap! After having watched through the entire movie you get this ending as a final insult.

The only reason this movie got any stars at all is because of Michael Cain.
½ April 25, 2013
A war movie, not an action movie. A long wait to get to the climax in the middle and the explosive finale, could have cut 20 minutes.
rubystevens
Super Reviewer
March 26, 2013
tougher, grittier and just better than 'the dirty dozen.' probably one of the best final films in any director's career
flixsterman
Super Reviewer
September 30, 2012
A politely edgy offering from director Andre De Toth, featuring the indomitable Mr. Michael Caine.
½ September 4, 2012
Play Dirty is a victim of its own plot. There aren't many films that benefit from a sudden change in direction two thirds of the way through, and this is not one of them. What starts as a straight forward mission of war, with some interesting sub plots, becomes more a comment on the nature of war itself, and as a result the film loses its hold and becomes tedious.
There's some great performances from Davenport and Caine, whose characters' ambiguous natures add an initial spark of intrigue and unpredictability to the first hour. Once the film changes direction though, all interest in said characters is lost, as this rudderless ship runs, or should I say heaves itself, onto the rocks of apathy.
It is a real shame to see such promise go to waste, especially after investing, and even enjoying, an hour of unconventional, gripping and very well shot action. As an editor, I was very impressed with the cut of the film, specifically the action scenes.

If the final cut reflects what was originally scripted, the question has to be asked as to why the writers waited so long to inject the social commentary? Was there interference from the studio, was it a sign of the times, did the writers get bored or suddenly adopt a moral stand? Whatever the reason for the film's failure, it's worth noting that rather than simply label it as a bad film, I focus on what it could have been.
½ September 4, 2012
Play Dirty is a victim of its own plot. There aren't many films that benefit from a sudden change in direction two thirds of the way through, and this is not one of them. What starts as a straight forward mission of war, with some interesting sub plots, becomes more a comment on the nature of war itself, and as a result the film loses its hold and becomes tedious.
There's some great performances from Davenport and Caine, whose characters' ambiguous natures add an initial spark of intrigue and unpredictability to the first hour. Once the film changes direction though, all interest in said characters is lost, as this rudderless ship runs, or should I say heaves itself, onto the rocks of apathy.
It is a real shame to see such promise go to waste, especially after investing, and even enjoying, an hour of unconventional, gripping and very well shot action. As an editor, I was very impressed with the cut of the film, specifically the action scenes.

If the final cut reflects what was originally scripted, the question has to be asked as to why the writers waited so long to inject the social commentary? Was there interference from the studio, was it a sign of the times, did the writers get bored or suddenly adopt a moral stand? Whatever the reason for the film's failure, it's worth noting that rather than simply label it as a bad film, I focus on what it could have been.
½ August 2, 2012
In the end they were expendable, just like THE DIRTY DOZEN. I'm a sucker for downer adventure war films.
½ April 28, 2012
The most cynical and underrated of the late 60s revisionist WWII films, De Toth's "Play Dirty" is as shocking as it is entertainment. De Toth's direction is masterful and the camera work by Edward Scaife (shot on location in Spain) is stunning. The best performance comes from Davenport as the grizzled old nihilistic soldier. Strong anti-war themes separate this film from its cohorts (Dirty Dozen, Where Eagles Dare, etc.). The film only falters in some of its character development but overall is a masterpiece and highly recommended.
½ February 20, 2012
A very realistic but grim take on the North African theater of WW2. Its a solid all around war picture that i think has been overlooked but it is not without flaws. Outside of the 2 leads, little is known about the other characters in the film. The pacing can be slow at times and the lack of action may be a turn off to sum. This is more of a social statement type of war film that is attempting to show the futility of war. Still I enjoyed the film but I would only recommend it to fans of the genre.
½ January 25, 2012
If the dozen was dirty, than these Brits are fucking filthy. It's the first WW2 film I've seen with a distinct personality. So if you are looking for cliches...look elsewhere.
½ November 6, 2011
Do to the ending, I was forced to subtract half a star. I mean, what the heck! "I didn't see the white flag"
"Well... don't do it again!"
I understand that this type of stuff happened, but that's no way to off the great Michael Caine!
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