Eric Renderking Fisk | February 22nd, 2016
Before we go crazy here with this review, let me offer up this scene-setting prose. I’ve been doing a lot of reading about the lesser-known stories of World War 2, especially about the Resistance Fighters. Not the official French Resistance, that’s a mere fragment of the civilian efforts. I’m talking about the Partisans, the everyday average citizens who decided that rather than become refugees and flee to a safe region they stayed in their home territory to fight the Nazis. These people went from work-a-day joes to living in the woods so they can hide from the invading Nazis just long enough to kill them.
Seriously, go look up “World War 2 Partisan” or “World War 2 guerilla” and enjoy yourself. There are so many fascinating stories to read, you’ll be slapping your foreheads wondering how come nobody has made a movie or TV series out of this. Forget “The Walking Dead…” AMC should be making “The Fighting Forest Brothers…” cause that’s what the word “Partisan” means; Forest Brothers.
Then, do a search for Special Operations Executive or “SOE.”
The Special Operations Executive (SOE) was a British World War II organization. Following Cabinet approval, it was officially formed by Minister of Economic Warfare Hugh Dalton on 22 July 1940, to conduct espionage, sabotage and reconnaissance in occupied Europe (and later, in occupied Southeast Asia also) against the Axis powers, and to aid local resistance movements.
You read this and you’re screaming “James Bond in a fedora!” why aren’t they making more movies based on these true stories?! It’s cinema gold, the money virtually prints itself!
Then I caught wind of this movie, Allies…
August 1944. A team of British soldiers led by a US Captain is dropped behind enemy lines in France on a mission that could shorten the war. As nothing goes according to plan, commando Sergeant Harry McBain and Captain Gabriel Jackson know they must put aside personal animosity if the mission is to succeed. Inspired by true events, Allies tells the story of friendship and survival.
This was looking to be a great, low budget, World War 2 film made with the help of some local WW2 reenactors and based on actual events. This seemed to fill a niche and scratch an itch that all fans of the genre have, just give me a story with some credible looking fight scenes with dead Nazi’s stacked like cord wood… everyone will be happy.
And that’s just what we got, a team of British Commandos lead by an American Special Forces Officer into occupied territory held by the Nazi’s. As our heroes pose as civilian freedom fighters they search for a specific team of Freedom Fighters to enlist their help on an over-the-top missing that could put a swift end to this conflict.
There are plenty of reasons to keep your eyes glued to the screen, there are plenty of period costumes and uniforms, an abandoned castle that’s used as the HQ for the French Resistance which all make for a great movie that works on a mere visual level.
If there’s anything missing from this movie, I have to admit that it’s suspense that’s lacking. Granted, some of the people that we get to know in this movie die; some die in horrific ways, others die by sheer accident, and a few die valiantly to save their fellow brothers-in-arms, but it’s not felt. There doesn’t seem to be any actual jeopardy.
When something bad happens to our heroes, I just don’t feel it.
One of the problems I have with some of these films is that the actors tend to hold back, as if not to damage any of the costumes, props or vehicles. It’s as if they’re making movies with museum pieces that have to be returned in their original, excellent condition or they won’t get their deposit back.
With that caveat, it’s not a bad effort. If you see it on Netflix in the war genre category than enjoy it for what it is.
But I totally admit that the reasons why it wasn’t as good as I thought it should have been being because it’s also missing the stuff I thought it should have had thanks to the reading and research I was doing at the time I first watched it. It should have been more about American and British Forces teaming up with the French Resistance to fight the Nazis. There were a few lost opportunities that hopefully someone else will find and make the idea behind this film flourish.