HTS Moderator , Reviewer
Title: War Pigs
HTS Overall Score:68
Ahh, the good old world of DTV films. There’s more of them than there are flies in the world I know. Some are good, some are bad, and some are plain awful. I’ve said it before, but I have a love affair with the DTV market. There’s just something to be said for bad movies and movies with low production budgets. Especially when it involves Dolph Lundgren. I’m sorry, but I have a weakness for the giant Swedish action star. I’ve been following his career ever since the late 80s when he made his first appearance in the 007 film “A View to a Kill”. He’s charismatic, roughhewn, and simply a lot of fun to watch, even in his worst movies (where he’s usually the most bearable part of the movie). Luke Goss is another actor that I wish had gotten more prominent roles. He started out great in the late 90s and early 2000’s, with a promising career in at least minor roles, but after only a few years he was relegated to DTV sequels of “Death Race” and other low budget films. Sad as he also has a lot of charm and charisma, especially as a villain (he made “Blade II” for me). Combine the two of them in a war film with tons of clichés and horrible accents and you have the recipe for an entertaining action rental for sure.
It’s WWII and Luke Goss is in for a bad day. As Lt. Jack Wosick, he has to take the fall for a superior giving him botched orders which end up killing all of his men, including friend Sgt. McGreevy (Chuck Liddell, who despite being billed as a major actor on the front of the movie only is in the film for like 3 minutes). Court martialed for someone else’s mistake, he’s demoted to Captain and his future is grim. That is until Major Redding (played by Mickey Rourke who looks like he’s got enough Botox in his face to rival Joan Rivers) decides to come in and assign Captain Wosick to a super-secret mission behind German lines which will ensure that his little court martial problems go away. The only problem is that the Captain is still troubled by the memories of men that were killed under his command, as well as his assigned commando unit (labeled the War Pigs) are a bunch of insubordinate jackanapes who seem to be more trouble than they’re worth.
Paired up with French Legionnaire Captain Hans Picault (Dolph Lundgren), a hulking beast of a man, Captain Wosick is tasked with whipping the war pigs into a true fighting unit and take them on a mission that very well may get them killed. A prospect that the already troubled captain is having a hard time reconciling. The War Pigs don’t exactly take kindly to their new officer and do everything humanely possible to make his command a living hell. However, they may have underestimated their officer’s determination, for iron sharpens iron, and by the end of their trials, both the War Pigs and their commanding officers are razor sharp.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=60466[/img]“War Pigs” is a cheaply made movie, but it’s still a good amount of fun. Every cliché in the book is laid out for all the world to see, from the insubordinate private’s up to Dolph Lundgren and Luke Goss hamming it up as the responsible and tortured older, wiser leaders. Things go wrong according to clockwork, and of course their combined efforts will bail them out at the proper time. Honestly I wouldn’t expect anything less of a low budget DTV film like this one. It’s the status quo and as a fan of the direct to video market I’ve come to except these cheesy tropes. There’s plenty of wrong in the movie, from the ground on up. The writing is a bit weak, but luckily never so bad that you end up banging your head against your own remote. It’s just that the writing is overly simplistic and doesn’t lend itself to much character development. The insubordinate War Pig members follow the bully with a heart of gold mentality to a T, and their eventual redemption is pretty much known from beginning. Dolph Lundgren gives one of the worst French accents I’ve ever heard in my life, and I know Mickey Rourke looks more and more like Joan Rivers every movie I see him in. the puffiness and botox in his face has gotten so bad you almost can’t see his lips move when he talks!
With that being said, “War Pigs” is a surprisingly passable action movie thanks to Luke Goss and Dolph Lundgren. The rest of the War Pigs are actually rather forgettable, but veteran actors Goss and Lundgren infuse enough believability into their characters to carry the movie. Dolph unfortunately doesn’t get to display a lot of martial arts prowess besides some hand to hand combat scenes during training, but his low, guttural French accent is a lot of fun to giggle at, and the two main leads seem to mesh well on camera.
Rated R for bloody war violence and some language
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=60474[/img]The 1.78:1 AVC encoded image looks good for a low budget film. The WWII period piece is given a desaturated look to the picture, with a slightly golden hue to imitate other WWII styled films. The colors that are show tend to be a bit grungy, and earthy in color. Detail is good, but never exemplary, with a digital shiny veneer to the image. There is a bit of a softness to the movie that belies the digital photography, and I did notice some hints of banding here and there. I didn’t detect any DNR or other manipulation though, which is a definite plus in my book. Black levels are good, but because of the desaturated color palette they tend to look a bit washed out. Skin tones tend to be good, and contrast levels fairly balanced, although there seems to be a bit of a high contrast boost in some scenes. Overall a solid transfer that does well with the limited budget it had.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=60482[/img]The 5.1 DTS-HD MA track is an aggressive audio experience, with explosions and yelling and gunshots galore, but it is a tad unrefined as well. Dialog is crisp and clean, with solid vocals. The only problems I had with the dialog was mainly accent related, mainly residing on the shoulders of Dolph, whose horrible French accent made him nearly unintelligible at times. Surrounds are used decently, but the mix is surprisingly front heavy for such an action oriented film. For all that noise I have to say that the clarity and separation of channels was a bit lacking. Everything seemed to blur into one sound, with the distinction of channels very limited. LFE is heavy and pulsing, and adds some nice weight to the gunshots and explosions (especially the one near the end with the tank taking out their intended target). While “War Pigs” isn’t a fantastic track, it does the job rather well, despite a few flaws in the mixing.
I didn’t expect much from “War Pigs”, but the title alone had me insanely curious to see what the film was about and I’m in no way about to pass up a Dolph Lundgren movie. Even if it is horrible. Thankfully the movie isn’t horrible. It just isn’t great either. After “Skin Trade” I had hoped for some better roles for Lundgren, but it looks like he’s back to making passable action movies once more. Luckily “War Pigs” is on the top end of passable and makes for a rather entertaining, if not clichéd, watch. Audio and video for the disc look quite good, with the only really disappointing factor on the disc being no extras. Recommended for a decent rental.
Starring: Dolph Lundgren, Luke Goss, Mickey Rourke
Directed by: Ryan Little
Written by: Adam Emerson, Andrew Kightlinger
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 AVC
Audio: Korean: DTS-HD MA 5.1
Runtime: 88 Minutes
Blu-ray Release Date: December 1st 2015
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