Posted in: Disc Reviews by David Annandale on October 22nd, 2009
Enzo Castellari, Tarantino fave and director of the original Inglorious Bastards, here gives us a tale of wartime intrigue that sweeps from the retreat of Dunkirk to the Battle of Britain. During the Dunkirk evacuation, a team of Nazi saboteurs don English uniforms and mingle with the embarking troops. Captain Paul Stevens (Frederick Stafford) finds evidence that this has occurred, but no clues to the identities of the saboteurs. Indeed, the second-in-command of the group, Martin (Francisco Rabal) has become his close friend and roommate. The saboteurs target Britain’s radar system, a critical part of the island’s defense against the Luftwaffe. It’s up to Stevens and his specially assigned team to stop the saboteurs before the Battle of Britain is lost.
It’s amusing, of course, to watch a film all about England’s fate hanging in the balance with not a single English actor in the mix. But the story is a good one, and the action is relentless, ranging from the epic scale (the Dunkirk scenes are quite spectacular) to the more personal (plenty of exciting gunfights around the radar installations). The dogfights are a somewhat less satisfying combination of rather obvious models and stock footage, but Castellari’s inventive use of split screen keeps the visual interest high.
As far as the transfer goes, things are very good. There is no artifacting, the blacks and contrasts are just fine, and the resolution is as sharp as one would expect on a Blu-Ray release. I did, however, notice some tearing now and then towards the end of the film. The source print is a bit rough in spots. The opening has a fair bit of grain and flicker, though the damage largely disappears shortly thereafter, and there is no speckling to deal with. The colours, on the other hand, look a bit pale and washed out, and there are a couple of shots where they actually look a bit dirty. Generally, the movie looks good, and the bland colours may well be how the film has always appeared, but eye candy this is not.
The case claims the sound is in 2.0 surround, but it is, in fact, mono, as far as I can tell. Certainly there isn’t a peep from the rear speakers. The clarity of the track is just fine, but there isn’t too much else of note here; it is simply another example of workmanlike mono sound.
Interview: (14:15) The conversation between Tarantino and Castellari, begun on the Inglorious Bastards disc, continues here. Once again, Tarantino’s hyper enthusiasm drives him to ask multiple-part questions often longer than the answers themselves.
Eagles Over LA: (16:34) The showing of the restored print, hosted by Tarantino.
Deleted Scene (0:32).
As fun as this is (and it is very fun), of the two recent Castellari releases, I would still favour The Inglorious Bastards, since its action scenes are always moving the story forward, while the air battles in Eagles hit the pause button on the sabotage plot. Nonetheless, this is fine entertainment.