Days of Hell (1986)

Days of Hell VHS CoverIf your favorite parts of Italian war movies are the scenes of jeeps driving around some ugly foreign country, Days of Hell will have you creaming in your camos!

Easily taking home the coveted title “Italian War Movie With Most Jeepage Per Minute,” Days of Hell helmer Tonino Ricci (Rush, Rage, Raiders Of The Magic Ivory) brings an added depth to all the Jeeping around in the film, by having his crack commando team frequently jumping out of it to shoot native tribesmen and Russians. Additionally, in one Jeep-orgasmic sequence, D Team actually splits up and starts cruising around in two Jeeps! Two Jeeps? Admit it, you just got an M-16-sized chubby!

D-Team isn’t in this for the free Jeep rides, though you certainly couldn’t blame them if they were. There’s an important secret double-cross mission the United States government has hired them to complete.

The Russians have attacked a field hospital somewhere in Afghanistan and used nerve gas. There’s a doctor and his daughter caught up in it and D Team is to go in and get them. Tonino and co-author Tito Capri (Sinbad of the Seven Seas, Mark of the Scorpion) mix up the Italian war movie formula though by letting us in on the double-cross right from the beginning!

It turns out that not only are the Russians using chemical weapons, but the U.S. developed them and allegedly has used them as well. This bit of propaganda could possibly turn off some patriotic Americans since there is no way in hell this awesome country would ever do something so odious, but if we did, it was probably really necessary to maintain national security and to maintain the flow of cheap consumer goods, oil, diamonds, and gold. Most real Americans like myself though can be pretty open minded about things like this when there’s a movie involved that sees lots of extras flying through the air due to frequent explosions.

Days of Hell 1

In short, D Team is being sent on a suicide mission. Once they locate the doctor and daughter, they’ll all be eliminated, thus preserving both the U.S.’s and Russia’s foul secret! Can D Team avoid this fate? Can they take on the Russian military and the crooked natives alike and survive? Can they secure the evidence necessary to expose the craven cowards who run this world? Well, they don’t call them the frigging D Team for nothing!

Any doubts I had that D Team would find a way out of this messy affair were quickly laid to rest once I got a look at D Team’s leader, Captain Williamson (Bruno Minniti under his English nom de plume Conrad Nichols). We first meet him during a training session where he’s practicing his stick fighting kung fu and is greased up like he was about to enter a posedown competition at the Mercenary Olympics.

Suitably beefy guns are ably displayed throughout the film, first with his training tank top and then with his sleeveless army shirt during the mission itself. That he tops off his battle outfit with a red ascot only solidifies for the viewer that he has the pizzazz to lead D Team! And don’t think that Tonino didn’t love that guy, too! Bruno was in about five of Tonino’s movies, including the title role in Thor The Conqueror!

What about the rest of D Team though? The Captain is only as fabulous as his lamest soldier! No problems here! One team member looks like a Bee Gee, another is a professor/translator who is hiding diamonds for some reason, and the fourth guy is some fourth guy! I don’t know about any of you, but I would walk into hell itself with Barry Gibb, the hoarding egghead, and Fourth Guy!

Days of Hell 2

After a five second scene at someone’s pool where we almost meet these three guys, the mission is on! The mission goes about like you would expect and want it to. Driving Jeeps or Land Rovers, talking to natives, shooting natives, driving, shooting Russians, driving, blowing up stuff, driving, rescuing girl, blowing up more stuff, shooting more Russians and natives, driving, and shooting more Russians. Top it all of with a helicopter hijacking and you have enough scenes that aren’t dependent on any kind of story to fill up an entire 90 minute movie! Thank God!

Captain Williamson is no dummy though! He starts to catch a whiff of some double-cross and announces not once, but twice during the film that things are going too smooth! Someone else adds that things “stink like a flounder.” Whew! We all know how stinky flounder is!

Someone also wonders about getting “out of this pukey country” which doesn’t have anything to do with anything, but I thought was a good example of that colorful mercenary shop talk great movies like this excel at.

Days of Hell 3

D Team encounters high drama as they try to make their escape across a heavily guarded border, but it all works out when they decide to use the plan they used in a similar situation in Cambodia! The plan? Split up and shoot everyone!

They also had the able assistance of their orphan native boy sidekick who was really adept at slinging hand grenades like he was David and the Rooskie tanks were Goliath!

One stolen Russian helicopter gunship and a hastily arranged political asylum in Pakistan later, the boys deliver the corpse of the daughter to medical personnel, slap each other’s backs, smile and joke about another mission well done! Well, except for the girl dying and all!

Aimless military action, innumerable colorful explosions, and the orphan boy kicking one of the commandos in the ass all serve to make Days of Hell hours of heaven for the undiscriminating viewer accustomed to movies like Brothers in War and Delta Force Commando II: Priority Red One where the Jeep action is cruelly rationed out!

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