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DVD Review: Inglourious Basterds (Two-Disc Special Edition)

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Inglourious Basterds is the newest film from writer/director Quentin Tarantino. While not a remake of the 1978 film The Inglorious Bastards by director Enzo Castellari, Tarantino says his film was inspired by it. Like his previous endeavors, Basterds is split up into chapters, and has several plots that start out on their own, but have the same goal.

The film starts in German-occupied France in 1941 with the introduction of Nazi Colonel Hans Landa (Christoph Waltz) who has earned the nickname of "The Jew Hunter." One young woman who escapes him is Shosanna (Mélanie Laurent). Several years later she has a new identity of Emmanuelle Mimieux and is running a small cinema in Paris.

She is approached by Private Fredrick Zoller (Daniel Brühl), a young Nazi solider who is the star of the latest Nazi propaganda film. Zoller is trying to impress Emmanuelle and convinces Nazi propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels (Sylvester Groth) to hold the new film's premiere at her theater. When Shosanna realizes that high-ranking German officials will be in attendance, she comes up with a plan to destroy the theater, kill those officials, and get revenge for the murder of her family.

Then there's the team of Jewish soldiers led by First Lieutenant Aldo Raine (Brad Pitt) known as the Basterds, whose goal is to cause panic and turmoil within the Third Reich by brutally killing as many German servicemen as possible. They scalp their victims, and leave one survivor to spread word about their attacks.

Thanks to famous German actress Bridget von Hammersmark (Diane Kruger), who's also a double agent for the Allies, the Basterds learn of the premiere and decide that von Hammersmark will attend with three of the Basterds, including Aldo, posing as her Italian escorts (it's very funny seeing Pitt who is playing a southerner have his character attempt an Italian accent which comes out horribly).

Trouble arises for the Basterds when Landa, who is handling security, starts figuring things out. Things then get more complicated when Shosanna's plan is executed; causing massive chaos and the Basterds are not only fighting for their lives, but attempting to accomplish their goal.

Tarantino has had some hits and misses over the past several films. Inglourious Basterds can definitely go in the "hit" column. The film is a great action movie with a talented cast; Pitt is great as the Nazi-hunting southerner who will do what it takes to achieve his goal. Waltz is great as the smug Nazi officer; he really made me want him to meet a gruesome end. The Basterds are great as the bloodthirsty killing machines they were, completely non-stereotypical Jews, which was fun to watch.

Inglourious Basterds has its extras spread out across two discs. On the first disc are several extended and alternate scenes. While these scenes don't really add much to the film, it's nice to have the option to view them now.

"Nation's Pride" is the film within the film used to trap Hitler; we see parts of it during the movie, but now we have the ability to see the film in its entirety.

Moving over to the second disc is where you' ll find the majority of the extras. Kicking things off is a "Roundtable Discussion with Quentin Tarantino, Brad Pitt and Elvis Mitchell" which has former New York Times film critic Elvis Mitchell asking Tarantino and Pitt questions. Topics covered include Tarantino's style, his past successes, Pitt's method of acting, what it was like to be directed by Tarantino and more; while nothing major is revealed, it's still an interesting featurette to watch.

"The Making of 'Nation's Pride'" is a tongue-in-cheek look at the film, which was directed by Eli Roth and features Roth talking about his film; the featurette is short but very funny.

"The Original Inglorious Bastards" takes a look at the original film directed by Enzo G. Castellari. It also looks at his cameo in this version, as well as featuring the cast talking about what it was like to make the film. Also included is the trailer for the original Inglorious Bastards which whets the appetite if you haven' t seen it.

Next up are two featurettes featuring actor Rod Taylor. First is "A Conversation with Rod Taylor" where he discusses how he got cast as Winston Churchill, while the second, "Rod Taylor on Victoria Bitter," has him talking about how Quentin Tarantino brought him his favorite beer, Victoria Bitter, which is hard to find, and then he talks about Tarantino and how he has such a passion for making films.

"Quentin Tarantino's Camera Angles" is a funny piece where the clapboard girl comes up with vulgar names and phrases before each scene is shot.

"Hi Sallys" has the cast and crew saying "Hi Sally" to Tarantino's film editor Sally Menke at the beginning of each take or when they flub a scene.

There's also "Film Poster Gallery Tour with Elvis Mitchell" and "Inglourious Basterds Poster Gallery" which are dedicated to the posters of the film.

Inglourious Basterds is not for the squeamish, but the film is no bloodier than Tarantino's past endeavors like Pulp Fiction, Kill Bill 1 and 2 or Death Proof. And for fans of Tarantino, blood is part of his film style and what we've come to expect from him.

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