November 15th, 2014

IT CAME FROM THE THRIFT STORE: CODENAME: WILDGEESE (1986) **

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Last week, I announced that our next Thrift Store film would be Honor Among Thieves starring Charles Bronson. Sadly, I tried watching the video and the sound was pretty much nonexistent. Even when I turned the sound all the way up on the TV, it was still almost impossible to hear what Charlie was saying. I tried watching the flick in both of my VCRs and when neither would play properly, I moved on to the next tape on the pile, Codename: Wildgeese.

Before the movie starts up though, we get a trailer for the underappreciated The Boys Next Door. Sadly, it’s little more than a short TV spot that does little to relay what an awesome flick that is. Then, the film begins…

Codename: Wildgeese is an Italian rip-off of the Wild Geese movies. It has nothing to do with those films, but it does boast a pretty good cast. Ernest Borgnine, Lee Van Cleef, and Klaus Kinski are all Video Vacuum kind of guys and are fun to watch as usual. Seeing them earning a paycheck is about the only source of entertainment in the flick. Because of that, it was worth the $1 I paid for the tape.

This is your basic Men on a Mission movie. Borgnine and Kinski are government agents who hire smuggler Van Cleef to burn up some Burmese opium fields. Armed with a team of stock military grunt types, Lee goes into the jungle to complete his mission. Along the way, they rescue a hostage (Mimsy Farmer) and try to extract her from the jungle.

Legendary Italian schlock director Antonio (Cannibal Apocalypse) Margheriti was behind the camera for this one, and really, it’s pretty indistinguishable from countless other low budget actioners of its ilk. I have a certain fondness for the Men on a Mission genre, and despite a crotchety performance from Van Cleef, there is little else here of merit. Most of the time, the film revolves around scene after lifeless scene of guys in camouflage running around and shooting bad guys. As I’m sure you can already guess; all of this gets repetitive quickly. Plus, it gets hard keeping track of all the red shirt guys on Van Cleef’s team.

Still, lots of stuff goes “Boom”, so there’s that. There’s a decent bridge explosion as well as a gnarly scene where a guy steps on a landmine. Other than those fleeting moments, Codename: Wildgeese is mostly a bore.

Kinski and Margheriti also worked together on Web of the Spider.

Next week on It Came from the Thrift Store, we’ll start a run on ‘90s erotic thrillers with Illicit Behavior, starring the incomparable Joan Severance.