I don’t believe in separate scoring systems for ‘bigger movies’ and DTV/VOD movies, like some might. E.g. some give a DTV a rating out of ten as a movie, then another rating out of ten as a DTV. I think the best way to take any movie, be it a TV movie or 300 million Marvel movie, is just to give it the same fair treatment as the next. That said, War Pigs is a very small and simple movie and expectations should be tempered. You shouldn’t expect this movie to be Fury or Kelly’s Heroes. But at the same time you shouldn’t expect it to be awful, like too many VOD movies these days. All things considered, it punches above its weight.
A riff on the Dirty Dozen, the ‘War Pigs’ are a band of assorted trash from WW2 army stock and they are selected for a mission 17km behind enemy lines to recon and report on a new super weapon. The weapon by the way, is a fictional cross between the actual German ‘Dora’ artillery piece and Saddam Husssein’s ‘Project Babylon’. So then, disgraced Lieutenant Luke Goss and seasoned war dog and French Foreign Legion veteran Dolph Lundgren are sent in to train these ‘expendable’ fools, and lead them on the mission. And the movie, beyond that, doesn’t overextend itself with any silly plot twists. It’s just in, do the job, out.
I’m going to be generous and say that War Pigs is just about an average movie, if only for the performances put in by Goss and Lundgren. Look man, we know this film is cheap as hell, but it goes a long way when your two leads are putting the hours in and minimalism is used visually to hide (mostly) set limitations. Lundgren puts in his best performance here since his role as Gunnar Jensen in the original Expendables, at times you even forget that it’s him. That goes a long way in making poor food easier to swallow. And he’s also in most of the movie (unlike Mickey Rourke’s cameo), so this isn’t a DTV Cameo Con. I’d have to say the understated conversations between Lundgren and Goss are probably the best thing about the movie.
The first half of the movie is bad, it slows down a lot and there is a lot of contemplation (don’t overdo that in such a movie), the opening action sequence is also terrible and uses CGI muzzle flashes, although those are absent later in the film, odd. The second half is better, it raises the bar to execute ‘so-so’ action scenes, probably an achievement all things considered. I mean there are no shaking cameras and admirably, real German armour is used – this is one of the few times you’ll see an honest to goodness, real, Panzer IV rolling around the screen. As an armour nut, I can spot fakes immediately.
Bottom line, I just don’t know if I could have tolerated this had it been one of those pieces of shit where Vinnie Jones is the lead. Instead the performances by Lundgren and Goss and the fact that the movie keeps its expectations in check will lead to a generous 6/10.