Thursday, June 7, 2012
Operation Paratrooper (1988)
Here we have a forgotten Swedish oddity, or more exactly a co-production between
and the US: Operation Paratrooper, now released by Studio S in under the title
Fallskärmsjägaren. Starring none other than Andy Warhols old darling Joe
Dallesandro! It's based on a story by extremely boring Swedish author Jan
Guillou, but feels more like a mix of an Italian war movie mixed with an
American slasher, with a dash of Swedish TV-production. This is the first time
I've seen this movie in good quality, this is the best it looked in many years
- but is it any good? Sweden
Joe Dallesandro is Sergeant Rayker, a tough motherfucker and an vietnam war veteran. He's deeply disturbed and treats his soldiers like animals, risking their lives with real ammunition and hand grenades. One day he goes to far and is fired and prosecuted for his stupidity. At the same time a general and his buddies are going up to a cabin to drink beer, do some illegal weapon affairs and just being macho - but Rayker is out for revenge and uses all his knowledge to kill them one by one, and the only man who can stop him is his own soldier who wants his own revenge...
How to explain Operation Paratrooper? For me it's one of those European genre movies that decided to me more serious and less trashy to be able to compete with the American movies of the same kind. This can of course be both good and bad. The Yugoslavian location automatically gives the movie a grey and quite boring look, closer to what we call social-realism (which is of course a lot more than locations, but I think you get my point). What takes out from the seriousness of the movie is the stupid dialogue and the over-acting from some of the talents involved. The best one is Joe Dallesandro, who here makes one of his most even and interesting performances I've seen, and its extra fun seeing him playing such a stuck-up, angry military when I've only seem him in more radikal and sexually liberal parts. Martin Hewitt, who plays Cooper, Rayker's old "student" also makes the best out of a badly written character.
Thank heavens Operation Paratrooper stick to it's exploitative roots and gives us an odd mix of First Blood, a random slasher and any war movie made during the eighties. It's is gory, but most of it is kept off screen and not show until the bloody aftermath, but director Frank De Palma keeps up the action with explosions and stunts and some nicely framed shots during the bulk of the movie. The ending feels a bit rushed and is hardly original, but works because the movie belongs to a certain degree of silliness.
Yugoslavian producer Djordje Zecevic (often credited under the name George Zecevic) also produced Mats Helge's ultra-cheesy rock-slasher Blood Tracks and I guess this means that Studio S was one of the last he made business with, because they're also releasing his Montenegro, a drama/comedy from 1981 starring Erland Josephson. I know it took for ever to close this deal, so I guess it was just a case of good luck that Mr Zecevic died in January 2012, after the deal was done after several years of communications through fax!
Operation Paratrooper/Fallskärmsjägaren is an entertaining and violent action-driven slasher-esque war thriller. And if that won't sell you this movie you probably should go back watching Arn: The Knight Templar or any other mediocre Jan Guillou adaptation!