BLOOD & GOLD (2023) – Nazi Killing World War II Adventure Spirited and Intense


BLOOD & GOLD (2023) is the latest international movie to premiere on Netflix, as it hails from Germany.

I said this recently, but this has been my favorite part of Netflix of late, their making available foreign language films that I otherwise would not see at the theater.

BLOOD & GOLD is a World War II action movie that is reminiscent of Quentin Tarantino’s INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS (2009) only not as intense nor as bitingly sharp with its quirky dialogue, traits that Tarantino excels at. You could say BLOOD & GOLD is INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS lite, although it’s pretty violent in its own right and does contain some unexpected comedic moments.

They both contain lots of creative killings of Nazis, and this sort of thing admittedly does make for high cinematic entertainment.

BLOOD & GOLD opens in the final days of World War II, when the Allies are closing in fast on the Nazis in Germany, and most can see that the end of Hitler’s reign is near. A soldier named Heinrich (Robert Maaser) is about to be hung by his small Nazi unit for desertion, and this unit leaves him for dead, but moments later, he is saved by a young woman Elsa (Marie Hacke) who brings him back to her farm where she lives with her brother Paule, who has Down syndrome. Elsa hates the Nazis because they killed her family, and of course her brother wouldn’t be safe with them around, while Heinrich explains that he deserted because he was sick of killing for no reason, and also because he’s searching for the only surviving member of his family, his young daughter.

Meanwhile, the troop which had hung Heinrich makes their way to Elsa’s village because their leader, von Starnfeld (Alexander Scheer) knows that a fortune in Jewish gold is hidden there. What he doesn’t know is a group of prominent villagers, led by the mayor, has stolen it for themselves and have no intention of giving it back.

The rest of the movie intertwines these two plots, as the Nazis search both for the gold and for Heinrich once they learn that he is still alive, while Heinrich and Elsa fight for their survival and freedom. The result is a well-made, well-written action thriller that contains lots of really well-choreographed action scenes.

Director Peter Thorwarth creates many memorable action sequences, including Heinrich’s rescue of Elsa when she’s about to be raped by Nazis, Paule’s fight for survival in a church tower when the Nazis bring him there to execute him in front of a crowd, and the exciting finale in the church when everyone is converging for the gold.

And there are thrilling dramatic scenes as well, like Elsa’s escape plan from von Starnfeld, who has decided to make her his bride.

Peter Thorwarth previously directed the vampire movie BLOOD RED SKY (2021) which I loved. I enjoyed BLOOD & GOLD even more.

The screenplay by Stefan Barth is very good. The story is a winner, and it includes many quirky characters, especially the different villagers, and memorable heroes and villains. The dialogue for the most part is strong, although it’s not quite as edgy enough as it needs to be. It’s missing the Tarantino-style cultural references and humor. It comes very close though.

Robert Maaser is excellent in the lead role as Heinrich. He’s believable as an action hero, and he is also very sincere. This is the second time in a week that I’ve seen Maaser in a movie. He had a supporting role in the comedy THE MACHINE (2023) in which he played a Russian mobster. He’s much better and much more memorable, and three-dimensional, here in BLOOD & GOLD.

Marie Hacke is equally as strong as Elsa. The scene where she plots her escape from von Starnfeld is the best in the movie. Speaking of von Starnfeld, Alexader Scheer is sufficiently villainous in the role. He wears a partial mask for most of the movie, and when he removes it later in the film, the CGI/make-up showing the hole in his jaw is very well done.

All supporting players in this one are excellent.

BLOOD & GOLD is a stylish, well-told adventure, filled with intense scenes of action and violence, memorable characters, and a spirited narrative that doesn’t quit.

This one satisfies from beginning to end.

I give it three stars.



Four stars – Perfect, Top of the line

Three and a half stars- Excellent

Three stars – Very Good

Two and a half stars – Good

Two Stars – Fair

One and a half stars – Pretty Weak

One star- Poor

Zero stars – Awful

Worst Movies of 2021


Welcome back! As promised, here is my list of the Top 10 Worst Movies of 2021.

As I did with my Best Movies List, I’m placing an asterisk next to this one, as once again, the pandemic has prevented trips to the movie theaters from being a safe activity, and so with this in mind, I know we haven’t all seen the same movies since we are not all heading out to the movie theaters to see the same national releases. I know there are plenty of movies I missed this year.

Okay, let’s get on with it. Without further hesitation, here is my list of the Top 10 Worst Movies of 2021:

10. CRY MACHO – probably the dullest movie I watched all year. Clint Eastwood directs and stars in this tale of a former rodeo star (Eastwood) who goes to Mexico to bring back his boss’s teenage son to the States, and along the way, the two form a bond in this underwhelming buddy movie. While I am in awe of Clint Eastwood, who at 91 years old, is still making quality movies, the story here in CRY MACHO doesn’t do him any favors. The storytelling is muddled, and Eastwood seems to be playing a character who is much younger than 91, although the script never makes this clear. Not much to like about this one, even for Eastwood fans.

9. FEAR STREET: PART TWO – 1978 – Yeah, I know. For a lot of folks, this second installment in the Netflix FEAR STREET horror movie trilogy was the best of the lot, but for me, it was the worst. Each part served as an homage to a particular horror movie genre, and here in FEAR STREET: PART TWO – 1978 that genre is the FRIDAY THE THIRTEENTH movies. I’m going to ruffle more feathers here as well when I say honestly that I’ve never liked the FRIDAY THE THIRTEENTH movies and have found them all to be particularly bad. FEAR STREET: PART TWO does a nice job capturing the feel of these movies, but at the end of the day, it’s yet another variation of teenagers at a summer camp being slaughtered in the most unrealistically gruesome of ways. If that’s your cup of tea, you probably love this movie. But it’s not mine. I prefer intelligence in my horror.

8. GODZILLA VS. KONG – Again, this is one that a lot of people really liked, but for me, even as a fan of giant monster movies, especially King Kong movies, and Godzilla movies as well, this one was simply bad. I find it difficult to understand why this movie has so many fans when its script is so weak. The human characters are all forgettable, the situations unrealistic and uninspiring, and the dialogue is pretty poor. So, all you have left are the giant monsters in combat. And even those scenes didn’t do much for me. I know the argument is out there that that’s how the old Toho Godzilla movies all were. That’s a fair argument, up to a point. What always saved the Toho films was that Godzilla and his friends all had personality. The monsters in these modern-day versions do not. Plus, movies like KING KONG (1933) and THEM! (1954) did have superior scripts. These new giant monster movies do not. Instead, the modern-day giant monster movie (mostly Godzilla and Kong these days) has been reduced to special effects only, without any interest in creating any kind of a story worth telling.

7. COMING 2 AMERICA – the original COMING TO AMERICA (1988) starring Eddie Murphy and Arsenio Hall was very funny. This sequel, in spite of the return of Murphy and Hall, is not. Next movie…

6. TYGER TYGER – this was a movie that I fully expected to like, because it was so different and quirky, with a sense of style that I thought would make it a winner. But this tale of a pair of selfless robbers who kidnap a drug addict before they all find themselves hiding out in a bizarre psychedelic city is probably better enjoyed when you’re high! Seriously! The longer this one went on, the less sense it made, and by the time it was all over, it largely had become a wasted opportunity. No pun intended!

5. THE LITTLE THINGS – in spite of the presence of Denzel Washington, Rami Malek, and Jared Leto this one just doesn’t work. Washington plays a former detective who’s called in to help with a serial killer case, and the character he plays is known for spotting the little things others miss in these cases. Trouble is, the script barely shows him doing this. Malek plays the hotshot detective who calls in Washington for help, but the choices he makes throughout the movie make him seen anything but a hotshot detective. And Leto plays the man they suspect is the serial killer. This one should have been awesome. Instead, it’s a muddled meandering tale that gets worse as it goes along with a particularly weak ending.

4. WITHOUT REMORSE- With a script by one of my favorite screenwriters, Taylor Sheridan, I fully expected to like this adaptation of a Tom Clancy novel, but instead it proved to be Sheridan’s first real misfire. Michael B. Jordan plays an elite Navy Seal who’s gone rogue to solve the murder of his wife, only to find— of course— that it’s all part of a larger conspiracy. What. A. Surprise. Yawn.

And now, the drum roll please. Here are my Top 3 Worst Movies from 2021:

3. SWEET GIRL -Hands down, the worst action movie of the year. Jason Momoa plays a man who vows revenge against a pharmaceutical company after its “business decision” pulled a drug from the market which could have saved his terminally ill wife. So, hubby goes insane and plots to kill the heads of this company, who, while they are undesirable, probably don’t deserve to be killed. So, there’s that initial problem. But wait, there’s more! There’s a larger conspiracy! Of course, there always is. Plus, Momoa’s character against his better judgement is constantly bringing his teenage daughter with him and training her to protect herself and be an assassin vigilante like him… and then, thanks to a bizarre plot twist, his character disappears from the second half of the movie. So, yes, you have an action film headlined by Jason Momoa, that halfway through ditches its star. Ugh.

2. MADRES – the worst horror movie of the year. This tale of a Mexican American couple who move to a new community in 1970s California that seems to have a weird sinister secret involving pregnant women, doesn’t know how to get out of its own way. The film aims for a ROSEMARY’S BABY (1968) and THE STEPFORD WIVES (1975) vibe but fails on both counts. This one is based on true events, and its reveal at the end is actually very good, but the problem is the film tries so hard to hide this reveal with a supernatural tale that is so lame it makes the movie completely ineffective. Had the filmmakers chosen to focus on what this film is ultimately about, it would have been a far darker, more memorable movie.

And now, drum roll please, the Worst Movie of 2021:

1. THUNDER FORCE – by far, the worst comedy of the year. Melissa McCarthy plays a woman who inherits superpowers thanks to her scientist friend played by Octavia Spencer. They then take on the world’s supervillains. Should have been funny. But it’s not. Jason Bateman fares the best as a supervillain known as The Crab. Written and directed by McCarthy’s husband Ben Falcone.

And there you have it. My picks for the Top 10 Worst Movies of 2021. Now, let’s move on to 2022.

As always, thanks for reading!