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* BlackAndBlackMorality: One side is a group of mass-murdering sociopaths. [[BaitAndSwitchComparison The other side are Nazis]]. The battlefield is presented as a place where moral and ethical rules simply don't exist, which is fairly unusual for a movie set in WWII.


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* EvilVersusEvil: One side is a group of mass-murdering sociopaths. [[BaitAndSwitchComparison The other side are Nazis]]. The battlefield is presented as a place where moral and ethical rules simply don't exist, which is fairly unusual for a movie set in WWII.


The film was a financial failure, with many at the time suggesting that its bleak tone and BlackAndBlackMorality is inappropriate for a movie set in World War II (which had [[ThoseWackyNazis decidedly clear-cut bad guys]]), while others myopically dismissed it as a ripoff of ''Film/TheDirtyDozen'' (released a year earlier). Years after release it earned something of a cult following thanks to high profile advocates of the film like Martin Scorsese (who included it on a long list of guilty pleasures for the May-June 1998 issue of Film Comment).

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The film was a financial failure, with many at the time suggesting that its bleak tone and BlackAndBlackMorality EvilVersusEvil is inappropriate for a movie set in World War II (which had [[ThoseWackyNazis decidedly clear-cut bad guys]]), while others myopically dismissed it as a ripoff of ''Film/TheDirtyDozen'' (released a year earlier). Years after release it earned something of a cult following thanks to high profile advocates of the film like Martin Scorsese (who included it on a long list of guilty pleasures for the May-June 1998 issue of Film Comment).


* WouldHitAGirl: The only reason Leech doesn't execute the unfortunate German nurse on the spot is because one of his troops is wounded and needs treatment. She ends up suffering a lot of abuse, and gets executed at the end anyways.

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* WouldHitAGirl: The only reason Leech doesn't execute the unfortunate German nurse on the spot is because one of his troops is wounded and needs treatment. She ends up suffering a lot of abuse, and gets executed at the end anyways.anyways.
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* KillEmAll: The entire squad and the captive nurse are all dead by the end of the movie.

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* KillEmAll: The entire squad and the captive nurse are all dead by the end of the movie. The only person who ''might'' still be alive is critically wounded to the point where his demise is only a matter of time.


* CurbStompBattle: The "official" strike force trailing Douglas's group gets massacred after Leech inadvertently draws the Germans to them.
* DoNotDoThisCoolThing: The film really, really goes out of its way to avert this. Even the action scenes are staged less as action exploitation than existential horror.

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* CurbStompBattle: The "official" strike force trailing Douglas's group gets In a largely successful attempt to avert DoNotDoThisCoolThing, all of the battles are brief and abrupt steamrolls where one side can do little more than run around in confusion and horror while getting massacred after Leech inadvertently draws the Germans to them.
* DoNotDoThisCoolThing: The film really, really goes out of its way to avert this. Even the action scenes are staged less as action exploitation than existential horror.
by another, often unseen force.


* ThePeterPrinciple: Douglas is actually an oil company engineer loaned to the Army to work only in fuel transfers and has no actual military experience, not that this saves him from getting impressed to lead a suicide mission. His subordinates openly laugh at his efforts at command and only bother keeping him around because of a cash reward for bringing him back alive, and his superiors flat-out expect him to fail.

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* ThePeterPrinciple: Douglas is actually an oil company engineer loaned to the Army to work only in fuel transfers and has no actual military experience, not that this saves him from getting impressed to lead a suicide mission. His While he does make a vital engineering contribution to the mission, his subordinates openly laugh at his efforts at command and only bother keeping him around because of a cash reward for bringing him back alive, and his superiors flat-out expect him to fail.command.


* ThePeterPrinciple: Douglas is actually an oil company engineer loaned to the Army to work only in fuel transfers and has no actual military experience, not that this saves him from getting impressed to lead a suicide mission. His subordinates openly laugh at his efforts at command and only bother keeping him around because of a cash reward for bringing him back alive, and his idealism gets them all killed.

to:

* ThePeterPrinciple: Douglas is actually an oil company engineer loaned to the Army to work only in fuel transfers and has no actual military experience, not that this saves him from getting impressed to lead a suicide mission. His subordinates openly laugh at his efforts at command and only bother keeping him around because of a cash reward for bringing him back alive, and his idealism gets them all killed.superiors flat-out expect him to fail.


The film was a financial failure, with many at the time suggesting that its bleak tone is inappropriate for a movie set in World War II, while others myopically dismissed it as a ripoff of ''Film/TheDirtyDozen'' (released a year earlier). Years after release it earned something of a cult following thanks to high profile advocates of the film like Martin Scorsese (who included it on a long list of guilty pleasures for the May-June 1998 issue of Film Comment).

to:

The film was a financial failure, with many at the time suggesting that its bleak tone and BlackAndBlackMorality is inappropriate for a movie set in World War II, II (which had [[ThoseWackyNazis decidedly clear-cut bad guys]]), while others myopically dismissed it as a ripoff of ''Film/TheDirtyDozen'' (released a year earlier). Years after release it earned something of a cult following thanks to high profile advocates of the film like Martin Scorsese (who included it on a long list of guilty pleasures for the May-June 1998 issue of Film Comment).


* SuicideMission: A very literal example, as the irregulars aren't actually expected to succeed, but the serve as a decoy for a much larger regular force. Ironically, it's the regulars who drive into a German ambush and get killed, serving as the decoys for the decoys.

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* SuicideMission: A very literal example, as the irregulars aren't actually expected to succeed, but the they serve as a decoy for a much larger regular force. Ironically, it's the regulars who drive into a German ambush and get killed, serving as the decoys for the decoys.


''Play Dirty'' is a 1968 war film by Andre [=DeToth=] (his last film in fact), starring Creator/MichaelCaine, Harry Andrews, and Nigel Green, and Nigel Davenport.

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''Play Dirty'' is a 1968 1969 war film by Andre [=DeToth=] (his last film in fact), starring Creator/MichaelCaine, Harry Andrews, and Nigel Green, and Nigel Davenport.


* ShaggyDogStory: When the irregulars find the ammo dump in question, it's revealed to have been a decoy (complete with straw statues as "guards"). Rather than call it quits, though Douglas demands they head to the nearby fuel dump in Benghazi and blow up that one instead, which leads to . . .

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* ShaggyDogStory: When the irregulars find the ammo dump in question, it's revealed to have been a decoy (complete with straw statues as "guards"). Rather than call it quits, though Douglas demands they They head to the nearby fuel dump in Benghazi and find that the real ammo dump is there, and decide to blow it up that one instead, which as a distraction while they steal a boat and flee. Which leads to . . .



* SlidingScaleOfIdealismVsCynicism: Very much on the cynical end. The one idealistic act anybody does throughout the movie - Douglas demanding they find the ''real'' fuel dump after the one they've targeted turns out to be a fake - ends up getting them all killed.

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* SlidingScaleOfIdealismVsCynicism: Very much on the cynical end. The one idealistic act anybody does throughout the movie - Douglas demanding they find the ''real'' fuel dump after the one they've targeted turns out to be a fake - ends up getting them all killed.


Released during the Vietnam War, the film is an extraordinarily cynical deconstruction of ElitesAreMoreGlamorous, highlighting both the brutal behavior that's necessary to survive behind enemy lines and how little loyalty and ethics factor into special ops strategy. The patrol start out as [[VillainProtagonist Villain Protagonists]] and get worse as they go, with the biggest threat not being the Nazis but each other - and their Machiavellian, unethical superiors.

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Released during the Vietnam War, the film is an extraordinarily cynical deconstruction of ElitesAreMoreGlamorous, highlighting both the brutal behavior that's necessary to survive behind enemy lines and how little loyalty and ethics factor into special ops strategy. The patrol start out as [[VillainProtagonist Villain Protagonists]] and get worse as they go, with the biggest threat not being the Nazis but each other - and their Machiavellian, unethical superiors.
unethical, self-serving commanders back at HQ who double-cross them at every opportunity


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* GeneralFailure: The commanding officers aren't incompetent so much as viciously apathetic and self-serving, and treat the chain of command as a license to squander the lives of anybody below their rank.


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* SourceMusic: The film opens to a German officer driving to the tune of Lilly Marlene. The music suddenly changes to a swinging British version of the song, and he changes his Afrika Korp headgear accordingly to a British peaked cap.

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** One of them sets off a flare trap while sneaking into the German fuel dump. [[KillEmAll It doesn't go as well for them this time]].


The film was a financial failure, with many at the time suggesting that its bleak tone is inappropriate for a movie set in World War II, while others myopically dismissed it as a ripoff of ''Film/TheDirtyDozen'' (released a year earlier). Years after release it's begin to garner a cult following thanks to high profile advocates of the film like Martin Scorsese (who included it on a long list of guilty pleasures for the May-June 1998 issue of Film Comment).

to:

The film was a financial failure, with many at the time suggesting that its bleak tone is inappropriate for a movie set in World War II, while others myopically dismissed it as a ripoff of ''Film/TheDirtyDozen'' (released a year earlier). Years after release it's begin to garner it earned something of a cult following thanks to high profile advocates of the film like Martin Scorsese (who included it on a long list of guilty pleasures for the May-June 1998 issue of Film Comment).

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