Codename: Wild Geese / Geheimcode: Wildganse (1984)

2.5 out of 5

Cult Italian director Antonio Margheriti, directing here under his usual pseudonym of Anthony M. Dawson, once again tries to compete with the crowded 80s action market with his 1984 effort Codename: Wild Geese. Margheriti, obviously attempting to cash in here on the equally cult British war film The Wild Geese, follows up his enjoyably shameless Indiana Jones offering Ark of the Sun God from earlier in the year with a film which employs all of the director’s tried ‘n true tricks of the trade.

Gratuitous explosions and adorably innocent miniature work manage to keep the wooden acting of lead Lewis Collins at bay, while the all-star supporting cast, which features Ernest Borgnine, Klaus Kinski and a long in the tooth Lee Van Cleef, deliver performances interested enough to push Codename: Wild Geese a notch above Margheriti’s later war effort Der Commander, while remaining significantly below the director’s ace 80s flicks Cannibal Apocalypse and The Last Hunter.

Sexy Euro starlet Mimsy Farmer shows up late in the film as a bit of junkie eye candy, but her part is more or less overshadowed by Borgnine’s goofiness and Kinski’s usual celluloid villainy. All the while, respected German prog act Eloy deliver a minimalistic keyboard soundtrack reminiscent of the typical, Tangerine Dream sound of the day. Codename: Wild Geese is the ultimate guilty pleasure for fans of 80s Italian trash.

Maurizio Merli header graphic courtesy of Paddy O'Neill of Foxyfide Graphics