Thursday, August 26, 2010

'Ski Troop Attack' may leave you cold

Ski Troop Attack (1960)
Starring: Michael Forest, Frank Wolff, Wally Campo, Richard Sinatra, and Shiela Noonan
Director: Roger Corman
Rating: Five of Ten Stars

An American ski-borne scout patrol trapped behind enemy lines during the winter of 1944 find themselves hunted by their German counterparts while trying to blow up a strategic bridge.

This is a pretty straight-forward war movie that offers a little bit of something for those who like to think of American soldiers as heroes, as well as those who like to think of them as bad guys. It also stands as one of Corman's better, dramatic non-horror efforts, with decent pacing and fairly decent dialogue. But there is nothing here that really stands out, except that the film's environment and the dangers faced by the soldiers is unusual.

"Ski Troop Attack" is at its best when the Americans are playing cat-and-mouse with the German patrol tracking them--there are moments of suspense that measure up against some of the truly great war movies to be found there. It's at its worst when the Americans force themselves upon a German woman in a farm house they come across while looking for a way back across the enemy line--they behave like stupid brutes... although this is probably the scene the dozens of people who liked Brian De Palma's "Redacted" a few years ago will like the most. (It's not so much the soldiers suddenly behave like idiots who confirm every bit of Nazi propaganda in the mind of the German woman that bothers me, but rather the fact that the scene drags to the point where you'll be WANTING someone to get shot... which is the obvious outcome from the moment the Americans enter the farm house.)

Overall, however, this is not a bad little war movie. It's just not all that great, either.

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