Commando Leopard: Just Shoot Me
, 27 Mar 2010
With actors like Klaus Kinski, John Steiner and Lewis Collins, you'd imagine Commando Leopard could be watchable, but sad to say it's just not - although it may only be a coincidence that events start on September 11th (the film was made in the 1980s), this film is nonetheless a major disaster. There's some half decent cinematography, but very little story or characterisation; the camera is often at a distance and you don't know who the characters are or what's happening. With very little meaningful dialogue this information comes slowly and by the time you've worked out who people are, whose side they are on and what it is they're fighting about you will surely have lost the will to live. There were numerous point-of-view shots but I can only assume that they were more a stylistic device than a means of identification as, in all honesty, (and not just because I'm a Kinski fan) the only character I had any interest in at all was (the very German) Colonel Silveira; he might have been a bad sort but at least he had something about him.
Somehow, Lewis Collins, who was always so good in The Professionals, makes no effort whatsoever. I imagine with a name like Carrasco he is supposed to be Latin American but you wouldn't know it for any other reason - the monotonous recital of his lines in his Birkenhead twang certainly does not indicate this. Nor does it indicate any acting ability. What a shame. A character in the film asks Collins (what I believe is) a question, 'Look, if your father were here to see that...' and Collins answers, 'He'd probably shoot me.' He probably would as well; I'd have him put down myself despite having fancied the pants off him in his Professionals days.
The rest of the cast are no better - most of the dialogue is delivered as if the script is just words being said at random rather than conversations between people. I wonder if some of this is because the cast are from so many different countries that very few of them are delivering the dialogue in their first language - no excuse for Collins, of course - but maybe I am being too kind?
There are only four things I remember well about this film: (i) a totally out of place and totally unfunny 'comic moment' when Carrasco stuffs a gun in the mouth of another character and asks him where Pepe is - close up shot with the character making his eyes bulge presumably in fear, I dunno; (ii) a mishearing on my part, which took some time to clear up - I thought a character had said he was 'planning a fat fanny tour' but in fact he had said he was planning a fact finding tour (it's 58 minutes into the film, check it out for yourself; it took me 3 listens to hear it right); (iii) there were false promises on the DVD cover of a soundtrack by Ennio Morricone but unless he has changed his name to Goran Kuzminac and started playing synthy pseudo pan pipes s*** it's not him at all. The bad thing is, and this is a warning, the pan pipes music gets into your head anyway and you find yourself humming it against your will...; (iv) I believe I've noticed a pattern emerging: any film where Klaus Kinski's name appears boxed in the credits seems to indicate that the film is absolutely dire. Look out for that. It's not Klaus' fault - he's always good - it's just the films that are bad.
This film is so bad that when one of the characters announces that 'the old man is haemorrhaging' I am not at all surprised; I'm in a bad way myself by that time. And when the priest says he wishes it would all end, I nod my head in agreement. Even Klaus could not save this film...
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