Movie Review: Carter's Army (1970)

Synopsis: In 1944, Capt. Beau Carter is given the task of taking and holding a German-occupied bridge. The important mission is made more difficult when the racist Carter learns he will need to rely on an all-black squad that has never seen combat.

Who's in it? The movie stars Stephen Boyd, Robert Hooks, Billy Dee Williams, Richard Pryor and Roosevelt Grier.

Review: I came across this movie on Epix under the title The Black Brigade. Even though I wasn't overly interested in a war movie, I saw the film had quite a few recognizable names and decided to give it a try. Unfortunately, it wasn't as good as I was hoping it would be.

While the premise was an intriguing one, I felt like the movie failed to fully capitalize on what it was trying to do. Ultimately, it ended up being an OK film but not one that I would describe as particularly memorable.

One of my biggest complaints about this movie was, for a war picture, it really didn't have a whole lot of action. In fact, other than the occasional need to hide from a German patrol, airplane or sniper, their walk to the bridge/dam they were trying to sieze was a walk in the park. Heck, even the final battle was kind of bland, taking maybe five minutes.

Another thing I found I wasn't a fan of was the way the racism seemed a bit forced. A big part of the problem was the movie doesn't do that great of a job of establishing Carter (Boyd) as a bonafide racist. Other than one scene involving Carter berating his lieutenant (Hooks) for touching a white woman, every other interaction he had with his men seemed more like an Army officer who was determined to complete a mission and was frustrated with the lack of experience and military discipline.

I also feel like the movie doesn't do a good job of explaining why Carter only took a few, randomly chosen, men rather than the whole brigade. Given the importance of the mission and the overall lack of experience, it seemed like it would have made a lot more sense to have more bodies, especially if they would have had to hold the bridge for a long time. If nothing else, having more bodies would have given the movie an opportunity for more action (I suspect part of the reason why there were so few battles was because the smaller group meant the film could only kill off one or two people before the last fight).

Final Opinion: I get the point the movie was trying to make but other films (like Glory) have done a much better job of making that point stick than this film did. Again, it was OK but it wasn't anything special, even with the all-star cast.

My Grade: C


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