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Dirty Dozen: The Next Mission

TV-14 1985 1h 36m War List
Reviews 22% Audience Score 250+ Ratings An Army major (Lee Marvin) can either do hard labor or lead GI convicts into France on a suicide mission. Read More Read Less

Critics Reviews

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John J. Puccio Movie Metropolis Not only is the sequel a virtual repeat of the original, Marvin and Borgnine by this time were getting much too old for their roles. Rated: 3/10 May 19, 2006 Full Review Read all reviews

Audience Reviews

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Audience Member Similar to first, not quite as good because it rushes certain aspects Rated 3.5 out of 5 stars 02/11/23 Full Review Audience Member Though The Dirty Dozen: Next Mission didn't boost credibility as a TV movie sequel to a war classic, the returning presence of Lee Marvin was enough to anchor my viewing. There is very little reasoning in making a sequel to a film like The Dirty Dozen (1967). The entire concept of the film revolved around training the titular team of mercenaries to prove that convicted war criminals could be trained to work in a team and respect authority as professionals. Since the possibility of this has already been established and most of the dozen were killed in the climactic mission, the star-studded cast of the first Dozen cannot return and so they must be supplemented by a collection of very loosely-known actors. Essentially, The Dirty Dozen: Next Mission is set up to be a cheaper replica of its predecessor and has no problem living up to that. It is the viewer who is left to have the problem with it, having to re-live The Dirty Dozen with a lot of predictable plot points and familiar drama from beginning to end without the production values, charming cast or even the humourous tone of the original. The general fact that The Dirty Dozen: Next Mission is a TV movie casts limitations on it. The running time is far shorter than The Dirty Dozen and the pace moves along faster so it doesn't waste too much time with its characters being trained, but this also means there is not enough time for there to be essentially any characterization. This hardly matters because all the new mecanaries are forgettable and generic soldiers or pale imitations of characters from The Dirty Dozen. The most notable of these is Arlen Dregors, a representation of the racial oppression present within the military and a half-assed copy of Jim Brown's character Robert Jefferson. So though it copies essentially everything story-related from its predecessor, The Dirty Dozen: Next Mission shows little sense that it knows what made its predecessor great. It has the same high-concept plot, but it is a production outside of the counterculture era and therefore lacks the political commentary that was one of the many aspects making the original great. In essence, The Dirty Dozen: Next Mission is essentially a mockbuster of itself without any kind of humourous edge or sense of exploitation fun. Since there are so many limitations blocking the film from greatness it would have been better for Andrew V. McLaglen to take the same path Enzo G. Gastellari did in adapting The Dirty Dozen into his B-movie classic The Inglorious Bastards (1977), a feature which accomplished its goal of achieving exploitation fun and little more. As if he really thinks viewers will appreciate the serious nature of the film, Andrew V. McLaglen offers little room for fun with his film and delivers a production which effectively just comes off as being pretentious as a result. And even then, it lacks the same level of grit to pack any major dramatic punch. The one chance the film could have put some smart drama in would have come from the end where the characters have predictably succeeded though many of their comrades have died in the process. Rather than using the same style of plot point from the end of Seven Samurai (1954) or its western remake The Magnificent Seven (1960) where the characters discuss how the victory of their mission remains no compensation for the brothers they lost in combat, The Dirty Dozen: Next Mission actually says nothing. It just pushes forward to a generic ending which closes on the exact same note as The Dirty Dozen with dialogue which is near-identical, giving an ending mediocre enough to live up to the standards of everything that preceded it. At least the film knows to end itself with some action. In terms of production values, the larger scale of warfare depicted in The Dirty Dozen must is degraded to conforming to TV-movie movie standards and ends up with a loose collection of lesser-quality stunts. There is some fun to be had with all the explosions and gunfire amid its intentions to be old-fashioned, but there is no denying the B-movie nature of the action sequences. There are simply a lot of medium-long shots cutting between characters shooting or throwing grenades and then their enemies falling with mostly bloodless deaths. The film is essentially a lot of shot-reverse shots with only decent stunts being captured, not that much which is too creative or all that stylish. But since the story is so arbitrary, the action sequences are the best scenes in the film. The viewer is still left to wait for them to happen following a series of training sequences and mediocre dramatic plot points, but if the most die-hard fans of The Dirty Dozen can get over the story then perhaps the action will suffice. Viewer's don't have to be the least-demanding action fans to appreciate the action because it is fairly decent, but the film could use a little more of it. The return of Lee Marvin is the one consistently enjoyable element. The actor returns to the iconic role of Major John Reisman, and though the film fails to offer him any innovative material in the role he still maintains his natural charisma even 18 years on from The Dirty Dozen. Echoing the same plot dynamics he has experienced before, Lee Marvin nevertheless manages to remind viewers how he charmed them all the first time around with the same straighforward attitude towards all the drama with an occasional comedic edge. Lee Marvin maintains the same level of strength he did in The Dirty Dozen, even if the script he is stuck with does not. It's good to see Ernest Borgnine make a return as well, even if it is a mere cameo. So The Dirty Dozen: Next Mission boasts some occasional moments of flare in the action scenes and leading performance from Lee Marvin, but the recycled plot and limited production values fail to create any sparks. Rated 1.5 out of 5 stars 01/27/23 Full Review john l Falls into all the pitfalls, traps and land mines of "Made for TV" movies, with all the film shot to fit . . . the allotted broadcast airtime for it. Suffer from obvious lack of budget, cheesy on the cheap special effects, and over the top melodramatic dialog. Furthermore, whoever their military adviser was completely failed, if they even had one. Starts out at the courts-martial scene in the beginning: no such thing as secret ballot on a courts-martial panel and citing conviction of crimes specified within various punitive articles in the UCMJ (Uniform Code of Military Justice). The UCMJ didn't even exist until 31 May 1951 when it replaced the Articles of War that had been used since 1775, the last version of which had been enacted by Congress in 1920. During WWII, the trials, convictions and sentences would have been under the Articles of War. In addition, officer insignia is incorrectly positioned on their Class A uniforms, albeit someone was savvy enough to not have generals wearing branch insignia (a common uniform error). Watch the original theatrical film, not this "Made for TV" (and TV ratings sweeps) tripe. It's much, much, much better. Rated 1 out of 5 stars 03/31/23 Full Review Audience Member I own this as a bonus feature on the Blu-Ray of The Dirty Dozen (1967) Rated 3 out of 5 stars 02/24/23 Full Review Audience Member I don't like this movie at all. The movie is unnecessary and the story drags. My other issues is that for a movie set two years after the first Marvin really aged. Also Wall sleep walking was a dumb sub plot and the movie as a whole is very poorly written. Rated 1.5 out of 5 stars 02/26/23 Full Review Audience Member The testosterone fueled 1967 World War II classic "The Dirty Dozen" is one of my all time favorite movies, not only as a "men on a mission" war film but just as an overall film in general. It had all a man could want in a chest bulging film with dream cast lead by the ever reliable Lee Marvin. Though the film was a huge success it's still hard to imagine that filmmakers 20 years later decided to make a sequel. It just seems far too long to make a follow-up not to mention it's give the ultimate preconceived death of being 'made-for-TV". Not only did they wait twenty freaking years, they made it for freaking TV guaranteeing this long-awaited sequel is going to DOA. Due to its TV made nature I actually refused to watch it for years but finally decided to go into it free of expectations and you know what, for a TV movie, it actually wasn't all that bad. Despite the extra wrinkles and weight around our returning characters faces and waists, the plot of this decades year later sequel takes place not lot long after the original with Lee Marvin in trouble again. Ernest Borgnine gives Marvin another deal... if he takes in another Dirty Dozen behind enemy lines to complete a nearly impossible mission, the prisoners along with him get their criminal records wiped free. Lee Marvin, despite his age, is still as tough as ever but his appearance does bring some unintentional laughs when watched back-to-back with the first film. This war has seriously taken its toll on him as he looks like he's aged twenty years (considering the plot only takes place shortly after the first film)! Borgnine has packed on a few pounds and his character has mellowed a bit. Richard Jaekel also makes an appearance rounding out our three original actors to return. The rest of the cast is made of some real likeable character actors. What's great about this sequel is playing 'spot the actor' as you recognize nearly all of the dirty dozen from other films, such as Sonny Landham ("Predator", "48 Hrs"), Ken Wahl ("Wiseguy", "The Soldier"), Gavan O'Herlihy ("Death Wish 3", "Never Say Never Again"), among others. The secondary cast is all well picked to ensure the film will be likeable from an actor standpoint. Director Andrew V. McLaglen is a veteran of many theatrical mediocre action films and he does what he can with the limited resources of a TV-made-production but it still has a rather hallow look about it. He still manages to craft some good action sequences which was a surprise. What he can't save is the rather hum-drum script about assassinating an assassin to kill Hitler (don't ask). The film lacks the character development and theatrical look of the original, but all that aside this actually isn't a horrible made-for-TV sequel. Just make sure you remember that it's 'made-for-TV' or else you will be tremendously disappointed but it kept my attention for its hour and a half running time, a definite feat for a TV made movie. I still wish there would have been enough interest to make this a theatrical feature as I would have loved to rejoin the Dirty Dozen for another big budget epic but alas that never happened. "Dirty Dozen 2" did draw enough viewers on TV that two more sequels would follow: "Dirty Dozen: The Deadly Mission" and "The Dirty Dozen: The Fatal Mission". This sequel can be found as a bonus feature on the 2 Disc Special Edition DVD release of the original film, stuck on the second disc, treated as if it's some dirty little secret. Dig it out, it's worth a watch at least one time. Rated 2.5 out of 5 stars 01/17/23 Full Review Read all reviews
Dirty Dozen: The Next Mission

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Movie Info

Synopsis An Army major (Lee Marvin) can either do hard labor or lead GI convicts into France on a suicide mission.
Andrew V. McLaglen
TV-14 (L|V)
Original Language
1h 36m