Sunday, November 15, 2009

This Week’s Poll: Who would you send on a secret rescue mission?

Here’s the scenario: An important political figure has been kidnapped and is being held in an isolated fortress. You’ve been assigned to find the team that can complete a successful rescue mission. Your first phone call is to Jim Phelps, of course, but—bummer!—his Impossible Mission Force is booked for the season. In fact, a lot of potential rescue specialists (e.g., Snake Plissken from Escape From New York) are on other assignments. So, your choices have been narrowed to the following:

The Dirty Dozen – They’ve got the experience, the numbers, and a tough-minded leader in Major John Reisman (Lee Marvin), plus Trini Lopez can keep everyone loose with a song here and there. The fact they use poetry to learn their missions is a bit of a concern (e.g. “One: down to the road block, we've just begun; Two: the guards are through…”). But the only big downside is that Maggot (Telly Savalas) is an unstable homicidal psychopath.

Robin Hood and his Merry Men (The Adventures of Robin Hood) – I know…their only weapons are swords, longbows, and wooden staffs. But, hey, some of them are really good with the longbow (splitting an arrow is fine shootin’), plus they’re crafty with disguises and know how to stage an effective ambush. The only area of concern is that they do seem to enjoy a big outdoor barbeque more often thanthey should—that could be a distraction.

The Magnificent Seven – Yes, there are only seven of them…but five of them are pretty handy with guns and knives. Chico (Horst Buchholz) may not be the quickest with a six-shooter, but the kid’s got chutzpah as evidenced by his infiltration of the Mexican bandit gang. Of course, the weakest link in the Seven is Harry Luck (Brad Dexter), who’s not particularly good at anything and will have to be convinced gold is involved before he’ll participate.

Major Smith and Lieutenant Schaffer (Where Eagles Dare) – Only two people, you say? Well, remember that Smith (Richard Burton) and Schaffer (Clint Eastwood) own this type of mission: They staged an impressive rescue of a British general (well, an actor playing the general) from a mountain fortress overrun with German soldiers during World War II. Plus, they employ effective undercover help in the guise of Mary Ure and Ingrid Pitt. But before you make them the easy pick, consider this: they blow up a lot of stuff so their rescue might generate some negative press and Smith keeps important information to himself (like if there’s a mole in your organization).

Lee, Roper, and Williams (Enter the Dragon) – You’re correct…these guys aren’t really a team and Lee (Bruce Lee) is the only one with any kind of professional experience. Plus, Roper (John Saxon) has a gambling problem, Williams (Kelly) is wanted after a run-in with racist cops, and both of them are easily distracted by the opposite sex. The good news is that these three can handle any number of bad guys just by using their hands and feet, plus Williams will spout some memorable dialogue (“Man, you’re right out of a comic book!”).

I know, it’s a tough choice! But you were hired to make hard decisions like this. Keep in mind that if the rescue is unsuccessful, the Secretary will disavow any knowledge of your actions.


  1. Excellent poll and excellent choices! Personally, I'm voting for the crew with a man who can single-handedly take out a seemingly endless batch of baddies, and that would be the almighty Bruce Lee. Can't wait to see what others say!

  2. I 'll go with the Seven even though I know Robert and Brad are not always dependable.

  3. I really gave this a lot of thought. Ultimately I think that the Eagles crew with the two men and two women have the best odds. Both the Dozen and the Seven have some loose cannons or weak links. The Merry Men may have difficulty moving to a new area. And the Martial Artists are all capable (especially Lee) but not a tried team. The Eagles crew have proved their mettle in another seemingly impregnable fortress, against the German army. Go Eagles!

  4. I can't fault your logic, Toto; Smith and Schaffer have the experience with this kind of thing. Dawn, Lee is a great leader, but you also get Telly as a psycho! Paul, two words: "Brad" and "Dexter." The others can probably pick up the slack, though. Sark, I'm concerned that Jim Kelly as Williams might be "too busy lookin' good."

  5. I have to go with Bruce Lee and his buddies. True Williams and Roper might not be on task all the time, but I agree with Sark. Bruce Lee could kick everyone's butt. He could face a room full of experience guys....and whack each one down on the floor. Plus he can sneak around and climb walls in the dark and not be seen. I like the other choices too, but I wouldn't trust The Dirty Dozen. Dirty is the key word there.