Two Men Went To War
Indican Pictures // Unrated // $19.99
Review by Svet Atanasov | posted August 17, 2005
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The Film:
In the troubled times of World War II Sgt. Peter King (Kenneth Cranham) and private Leslie Cuthbertson (Leo Bill) decide that real men belong where bullets are exchanged and not in the friendly confines of their military barracks. So, with a bag full of hand grenades and a few guns the two soldiers head to France to battle the Nazi invaders. Before secretly leaving their army unit Peter and Leslie quickly scribble a letter explaining their actions and dispatch it to Churchill's office. They don't seek justification for their actions but hope that people will understand their motives.

Upon entering France Peter and Leslie spot a small group of Germans and decide that it is time to engage in a real fight. Unfortunately, they are both military dentists and their actions make little sense, if at all. After a number of ridiculous situations and a heavy dose of luck Peter and Leslie manage to take over a small train station and inflict a minor damage on a passing by division of German soldiers. Their next stop is a German field radar station which requires the best of the soldiers' military tactics. Strangely enough luck is again on Peter and Leslie's side and they manage to cause some real trouble. Back home, however, things look much more complicated as upon inspection of the available military personnel Peter and Leslie are quickly tagged "deserters". Fortunately enough the letter they sent to Churchill miraculously reaches its destination and he partially exonerates their actions.

Inspired by Rymond Foxall's book Amateur Commandos this bizarre story of courage, friendship, and ridiculous military actions, is actually based on true events that took place in England during WW2. To be honest, however, after reading some preliminary info regarding Two Men Went to War it feels even more awkward that Peter and Leslie actually managed to reach France and accomplish the mission they initially embarked on. There is a certain feeling of absurdity in this story that makes it almost unbelievable and as a result I think it is likely that audiences will take it with a grain of salt especially considering the fact that it did happen during a time when many lost their lives.

I am going to be painfully honest with you: Two Men Went to War left some mixed feelings in me. Judging by the reactions the film received from both critics and audiences it seems like many enjoyed it for what it aspires to be, an honest account of two men and their hilarious actions. Yet, I find Two Men Went to War to be a bit disappointing. Too often the humor feels rather dry and perhaps a tad too "British" if I could say so. With this said, there are certainly plenty of moments where both Peter and Leslie look ridiculously funny.

The predominant amount of war films which the general public is exposed to these days rarely offer the degree of humor Two Men Went to War conveys. As a result there is something charming in seeing an overweight dentist and its significantly younger accomplice go as far away as France to battle an enemy they know very little about. Their actions are certainly questionable yet in a strange way I would say admirable. Their story however and the manner in which it is told in this film is a tiny bit disappointing. It certainly drags a bit and for many it might feel a tad too slow. Regardless, Two Man Went to War offers a good amount of laughs and if you are willing to tolerate the absurdity of what is shown on the screen I believe you will enjoy it.

How Does the DVD Look? Presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.85:1 and enhanced for widescreen TV's the image quality looks generally fine. Colors appear acceptable, contrast is rather well handled, and edge enhancement is overly distracting. I did however notice some occasional "combing" which I don't think will be as distracting on regular tubes but it will certainly be an issue for viewers with a high-end equipment. Overall, this certainly is above-average transfer yet not an impressive one either. With this said, I do have a problem with the fact that a forced preview appears before the main feature which means that every time you want to see Two Men Went to War you will have to go through the preview (time and time again).

How Does the DVD Sound? A good if rather unimpressive Dolby Digital Surround is the standard option on this DVD. Generally speaking there is nothing that one cold be unhappy with the sound quality, dialog is well separated from supporting music and there are no substantial problems with the way it is mixed either. On a side note, this film could have greatly benefited from the inclusion of optional English subtitles as at times the British accents are too thick and will certainly cause some problems for North American viewers.

Extras: There are number or special features on this DVD:

Original Theatrical Trailer-

Deleted Scenes-

Radio Churchill- an actual recording of Churchill addressing the British army mixed with some fine tunes.


Sneak Previews-

An In-Depth Look at the BDI (British Dental Invasion)- a small but effective prank.

Final Thoughts: A small independent feature with an unquestionable charm Two Men Went to War is a light comedy retelling a rather unbelievable story that took place during WW2. It could not be denied that the film will certainly have a much broader appeal to a continental audience than to your average blockbuster crowd. Either way, there are plenty of good laughs in it and the film is well worth a rental.

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