The Five Man Army
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Where this army leads, action fans – especially Spaghetti Western fans – will want to follow. Set during the Mexican Revolution, The Five Man Army is a niftily executed tale of mercenaries who, on behalf of rebel forces, take on a mission to rob a trainload of gold. Make that a suicide mission, because this train is heavily armored; armed with troops, cannon and machine guns, and traveling a route guarded by more soldiers. Peter Graves, then known for his role as mastermind Jim Phelps in TV’s Mission: Impossible, faces another odds-defying task as the Dutchman, leader of a handpicked commando squad consisting of a strongman, an explosives expert, a circus acrobat and a Samurai swordsman. Famed composer Ennio Morricone’s throbbing score amplifies the action of this ready-to-be-rediscovered film that, writes The New York Times’s Vincent Canby, is “for anybody who enjoys lean, taut suspense with no fiddling around.” All aboard!
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The film has a somewhat tv feel in the look of the film and in the story telling. One reviewer used Mission Impossible in his review and that is an accurate statement, because the story feels like a Misson Impossible TV show. Don't get me wrong this is a strong film and an enjoyable one too. The five men are likable and we care about them. The story has enough twists to make the robbery exciting. The action is another area that feels like a tv story. There isn't the blood shed that made Italian Westerns popular at the time.
If you are an Italian Western fan like me this is a forgotten gem along with Hannie Caulder.
Peter Graves is the Dutchman, a man with an assignment to steal a large shipment of gold from the Mexican government for the Revolution. It's on a train, well guarded with a troop on horseback every five miles along the route. A carload of soldiers, not to mention those in with gold.
He chooses a team for their talents, all associates from his past: the strong man(Bud Spencer), the explosive expert(James Daly), a circus acrobat/sharpshooter(Nino Castuelnuov0), and the expert knifeman(Tetsuro Tanba).
Watching them go through the plan is like warching a MI episode: right up to the double cross.