Attack on the Iron Coast

Paul Wendkos

Attack on the Iron CoastPaul Wendkos
Listen up, soldiers. Major Wilson (Lloyd Bridges) wants to blow up a Nazi port called the Iron Coast and he'll do it any way he can. He'll do it in the face of official opposition, he'll do it with a substandard minesweeper and an irate skipper, he'll even do it when they cancel a diversionary air strike — the only thing he won't do is make us care if he succeeds. Because despite some impersonally slick direction by Paul Wendkos, there simply isn't anything in Attack on the Iron Coast that differentiates it from a million other B-list war movies. Bridges is of course the stereotypical hard-ass who puts his life on the line, and despite his British superiors, it's an American underdog story all the way, with some obviously contrived static from an opposing officer (Andrew Kier) to pass the time before the rather unimpressive raid on the target happens. (Don't even get me started on the decadent porn-watching Nazi officers.) It's hard to watch Bridges' earnest performance without thinking of what his Airplane/Hot Shots masters could have done with the material — a director in the wrong mood could have easily turned the cliché dialogue and situations into a raucous farce. That would have been preferable to what's on hand, which though nicely shot for the money hasn't got an original idea in its head or three frames of intelligent composition. It's not bad enough to despise, but it's not good enough to bother with. I can't imagine anyone at this late date that'll get much out of its sawdust-boring antics, except maybe undiscriminating WWII buffs and the MST3K writing staff. (MGM)

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