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Before The Wild Bunch, there was The Professionals, Richard Brooks's marvelous ode to friendship, loyalty, and disillusionment. It may not have the stylistic bravado or fatalistic doom of the legendary Sam Peckinpah film, but Brooks's storytelling is simple and steady and just as insightful. The difference is Brooks is a lot more optimistic. Lee Marvin and Burt Lancaster are buddies who have drifted into oblivion after fighting together in the Mexican Revolution. Marvin, the principled loyalist and munitions expert, lost his wife and his heart. Lancaster, the dynamite expert and unprincipled adventurer, keeps losing his pants. They team up with wrangler Robert Ryan and archer Woody Strode to rescue the beguiling Claudia Cardinale, who has been kidnapped by their old revolutionary buddie Jack Palance. So it's back into bloody Mexico they go on a "mission of mercy" for railroad tycoon Ralph Bellamy, who's paying handsomely for the return of his wife.
But nothing is what it seems in this exciting, existential adventure, which was beautifully shot by Conrad Hall. Sarcastic quips, philosophical musings, and heart-rending reversals underlie Brooks's humanistic sentiments. These are tired, world-weary men who somehow find the strength and the will to pull together for the sake of love and commitment. Through it all, Brooks seems to be lamenting a decline in professionalism much deeper than his story. He's decrying Hollywood and the society at large, anticipating Peckinpah's later strategy. --Bill Desowitz
I ended up with a video from Europe that I couldn't use because it can't work here in Canada. I should have sent it back but it wasn't worth the hassle. Read morePublished 10 months ago by Frank Dowd
thought ihad already rtviewed allmy purchases asisaid before iam quite satisfied with the quality and service of my purchases and usually try to review them after ihave checked... Read morePublished on March 15 2013 by blues bro#9
I originally saw this movie when it first came out at the theater. I will have to watch this again because I must have fallen asleep when the topless scenes we're in the original... Read morePublished on Feb. 8 2013 by Terry L Rider
this film was always a favoriite of mine due to the fact it's storey is around world war 1, and the introduction of the horsless carraige and the introduction of modern weapons... Read morePublished on March 3 2004 by schackdaddy
This film was just a couple of miscasts short of being a real classic. Why Jack Palance and Claudia Cardinale as the Mexican couple at the center of the plot? Read morePublished on April 2 2003
This review refers to the Columbia Western Classics DVD edition of "The Professionals".....
A wealthy Texas oilman's beautiful young wife has been kidnapped and is being held... Read more
Another western. This has the promising markings of a pleasantly formulaic film -- four men, each a specialist in his field, are hired to do a big job in Zapata-era Mexico. Read morePublished on Dec 16 2002 by DJ Joe Sixpack