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Wild Geese, The (BluRay / DVD Combo) 
Written by: on December 31st, 2012

Theatrical Release Date: UK / Switzerland, 1978
Director: Andrew V. McLaglen
Writer: Reginald Rose
Cast: Richard Burton, Roger Moore, Richard Harris, Hardy Kr├╝ger, Stewart Granger

BluRay released: December 11th, 2012
Approximate running time: 129 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Widescreen / 1080 Progressive
Rating: R
Sound: Dolby Digital Mono English
Subtitles: N/A
BluRay Release: Severin Films
Region Coding: Region Free
Retail Price: $29.98

Although marketed by Severin as a “70s British version of The Expendables”-culled from a review from Total Film-this 1978 mercenary epic brings with it a bit less crash/bang/wallop and more austere English class; an intelligent adventure film with story and substance to spare.

The Wild Geese brings together an A level group of British actors in a wonderful ensemble cast which features Richard Burton, Sir Roger Moore and Richard Harris-alongside German-born Hardy Kruger-in a tale of aging mercenaries, brought together for one last mission: to rescue a deposed African president from execution at the hands of a bloody coup d’etat.

Of course, no mission is simple and without the expected number of snags and double-crosses, all of which take their toll upon Burton and his crew of silver foxes. Jack Watson is particularly enjoyable to watch as R.S.M. Sandy Young, whose job as a ‘fix ’em up’ drill sergeant results in some truly memorable training sequences.

Elsewhere, The Wild Geese also features a number of blood ‘n guts battle sequences during it’s latter half, with some particularly visceral footage making an appearance within the film’s final act. Director Andrew McLagan and screenwriter Reginald Rose do a great job at adapting Daniel Carney’s novel The Thin White Line into a film which packs just as much heart and humor as it does action, bringing a certain British charm and gravitas to a film which could’ve easily gone the exploitation route, yet instead works almost as a higher brow Dirty Dozen than anything Ilsa related.

Indeed, The Wild Geese knows how to tell a story, and retains audience attention right on through to its satisfying conclusion.

This review originally appeared at Examiner.com and is reprinted here with permission.

The BluRay:

Note: The BluRay portion of this review was written by Michael Den Boer.

The Wild Geese comes on a 25 GB single layer BluRay. The film is presented in a 1080 progressive anamorphic widescreen. Colors and flesh tones look accurate, black and contrast levels fare well and details generally look crisp. There is no problems with compression and DNR is kept to a minimum.

This release comes with one audio option, a Dolby Digital mono mix in English. Dialog comes through clearly and everything sounds balanced throughout. Range wise things at times do sound rather limited. It is too bad a lossless audio mix was not included with this release, since it surely would have greatly aided this films more action oriented moments.

Extras for this release include a trailer for the film (3 minutes 45 seconds – 4:3 full frame), footage from the film’s premier (7 minutes 16 seconds – 4:3 full frame), three featurette’s, the first one titled ‘The Wild Geese Director’ (15 minutes 48 seconds – anamorphic widescreen) with director Andrew V. McLaglen, the second one titled ‘The Mercenary’ (9 minutes 52 seconds – anamorphic widescreen) with military advisor Mike Hoare and the third one titled ‘Stars War: The Making of Wild Geese’ (24 minutes 37 seconds – 4:3 full frame), a documentary about Euan Lloyd the producer of The Wild Geese tilted ‘The Last of Gentleman Producers’ (37 minutes 17 seconds – anamorphic widescreen) and a audio commentary with producer Euan Lloyd, actor Roger Moore, second unit director John Glen and moderated by filmmaker Jonathan Sothcott. When it comes to the extras Severin Films have gone the extra mile and then some. Every area of this production is explored with great depth and for good career retrospective of this film’s producer has been thrown in for good measure. Also included with this combo release is a DVD copy that has all the contents that are included on the BluRay counterpart. Overall Severin Films gives The Wild Geese its most action packed release to date, recommended.

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