Exploitation Retrospect | The Journal of Junk Culture and Fringe Media
Codename: Wildgeese (1985)
Review by Bruce Walsh | New World Home Video

If Antonio Margheriti didn't use the pseudonym Anthony M. Dawson he would be proud to be CODENAME's director. This is a MOOOVIE where all the inane subplots fall into place to create an entertaining Action/Adventure.

And what a cast! Lewis (FINAL OPTION) Collins plays the highly confident and somewhat overzealous Captain Wesley. The ever-jovial Klaus Kinski plays the GQ merc Charlton (he has more costume changes than Imelda Marcos). Lee (CAPTAIN APACHE) Van Cleef is the hardened veteran helicopter pilot Colonel Travers, whose prison sentence could be commuted upon completion of the mission. Ernest (HIGH RISK) Borgnine floats through as Fletcher, head of the DEA in Hong Kong. Unfortunately, the babe element lacks. With the less-than-appetizing Mimsey (who cares?) Farmer as the Canadian reporter captured by drug dealers. The only decent babe is a secretary named Sarah who doesn't even rate credits.

The mission: "Two days work, burn some opium in the triangle."
Explanation: "We get paid...that's explanation enough."

The dialogue is minimalistic macho do-or-die statements, the way all movie (and for that matter, human) conversation should be. The all-so-important "See ya in Hell" and the highly entertaining "When you kill them make it slow...I want them to suffer...and then take pictures" each pop up.

There's a bunch of other neat stuff too, like: lots o' explosions and shootings, long-distance knife throwing, a senseless stop-animation car chase, Khmer Rogue, drug dealers, a missionary, opium fiends, and the ever-popular crucifixion. And quite possibly the best use ever of a flamethrower -- in a movie. And how could I forget the Israeli merc Habib.

A Feel Good Hit!

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