- Broken Base: Depending on who you ask, the ending is either delightfully appropriate or excessively mean-spirited and abrupt.
- Big-Lipped Alligator Moment: Out of nowhere, the wounded Assine coughs up blood (never a good sign) and shoots the nurse with his revolver, apparently because of some magical psychic connection with Hassan (who was killed in the attack on the depot). In an otherwise grounded World War II film. It doesn't seem to be anything more than a hastily-written excuse to kill the two off.
- Crosses the Line Twice: The ending is so shocking that it can come off as this.
- Darker and Edgier: Is this for World War II movies as a whole. Certainly, there are plenty of WWII films about how War Is Hell, and even some with decidedly ambigious protagonists (such as Inglorious Basterds and The Dirty Dozen). But Play Dirty goes well beyond any of them.
- Darkness-Induced Audience Apathy: Play Dirty is cynical even by the standards of late-60s war movies and Vietnam disillusion, so this is inevitable. Especially with it being a World War II movie.
- Dueling Movies: Play Dirty released only a year after The Dirty Dozen, and was castigated for being a ripoff of it even though they have very little in common beyond the assemble-the-team concept which sends a group of criminals on a suicide mission. Even today, any retrospective of the film is obliged to go into detail on why the author feels it's better or worse than The Dirty Dozen.
YMMV / Play Dirty