Friday, August 16, 2019

Only now does it occur to me... BRASS TARGET

Only now does it occur to me... that when it comes to speculative historical revisionism, you can hardly get nuttier than the gloriously banal BRASS TARGET (based on the novel, THE ALGONQUIN PROJECT). It's a movie that boldly asks––what if?––General George S. Patton (George Kennedy)

was not, in fact, killed after a car crash, but was murdered by a hitman (Max von Sydow)

who made it look like an accident and was working on behalf of corrupt Allied military officers––including THE PRISONER's Patrick McGoohan,


THE MAN FROM U.N.C.L.E.'s Robert Vaughn,

Weirdo post-coital Robert Vaughn

and OVERBOARD's Edward Herrmann,

Flustered post-coital Edward Herrmann

the latter two of whom are playing a couple!––who have stolen $250 million in Nazi gold. And what if some noble hero (John Cassavetes) almost stopped it... and then sought revenge on Patton's behalf?

John Cassavetes is here to chew bubblegum and look creepy, and he's all out of bubblegum

John Cassavetes: even when he's trying to be wholesome, he can't not be creepy

Also playing out in the background is a romantic subplot between Cassavetes and Sophia Loren, which, given the prioritization of the XY chromosomes on display, has received zero creative energy and flops like a dead fish. 
Loren, despite her top billing, couldn't be more of an afterthought. She and Cassavetes may have the least amount of chemistry out of any Hollywood coupling I've ever seen, and I've seen STAR WARS––EPISODE II: ATTACK OF THE CLONES. Robert Vaughn has more chemistry with the viewer and all he does is stare at us like a walleyed lunatic.

I mean, really, though.
Nothing can spark their interest––not even the thought of the eventual paycheck; not even the idea that when the shooting stops they never need to see each other again

The whole thing sort of plays like a movie directed by a sentient stack of WWII paperback novels and testosterone-doused hand grenade-paperweights whose favorite part of any war film is the part when a bunch of generals stand around a nondescript industrial space and talk about maps. If BRASS TARGET were a person, it'd be a guy whose favorite Peckinpah film is THE OSTERMAN WEEKEND. His favorite Alec Guinness movie is THE QUILLER MEMORANDUM. His favorite Clint Eastwood is THE EIGER SANCTION. His second-favorite is FIREFOX. I could go on.

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