A ragtag group of misfits being thrown together to take on a mission no one else would attempt, and no one else thinks this ragtag group of misfits has a chance in hell of accomplishing. This basis for a movie is nothing new. Even restricting it to movies set during WWII there countless examples. Examples like Inglorious Basterds, The Monuments Men, The Dirty Dozen and Kelly’s Heroes. I guess it gets used so often because audiences like it, I know I do… When it’s done well. But when it’s not done well, you get lazy cliché fests, like War Pigs.
After following bad orders based on bad intel, Capt. Jack Wosick (Luke Gross) loses his entire platoon and is forced to take the blame. Only, Major AJ Redding (Mickey Rourke) knows that Wosick was just a pasty, and is a good soldier. So, he gives Wosick a new assignment. There’s a group of enlisted men known as the War Pigs. They’re a little on the ragtag, misfit side of things and they have managed to scare off more than one commanding officer. Along with French commando Captain Hans Picault (Dolph Lungren), Wosick is charged with whipping the War Pigs into shape.
At first flaunting their rebellious nature and contempt for authority, a training montage shows the War Pigs learning to respect their new superiors and learning to work as a well disciplined team. Which is handy, because just as that montage is wrapping up, Wosick gets his new orders. He’ll be leading his men behind enemy lines on a probable suicide mission to take out Nazis by any means necessary.
Back in the old days, before digital media, if you wanted to copy a movie or an album, you had to record from tape to tape. And every time you made copy of a copy, you lost some of the quality of the original. That’s what War Pigs is. It’s a copy of a copy of a copy of a copy. If you look closely enough, you can see the much better movies that inspired this, but so much of the quality of those originals has been lost in this cheap imitation.
It gets the ingredients and process kind of right, but it never pays enough attention to the little details. In a good example of this kind of movie, you only care about the soldiers accomplishing their goals because you care about the soldiers. Here, every member of the War Pigs is such a thin stereotype, it’s hard to give a carp. There’s the smart ass, the conflicted man of faith, the fresh faced newbie. But we only know that because these characters basically introduce themselves as such. We never learn these things organically in a way that makes them seem real. They’re never people, they’re all just movie characters.
But, having spent the last couple of paragraphs shitting on War Pigs, I will say this about it, it really did fly by. I was never totally engaged in any real way, but as it raced to its big climax, I realised I’d never been bored either. So while it’s by no means a good movie, I appreciate its economy and efficiency. Because they are qualities that are way too lacking in general in modern movie making.