CoH is a real-time strategy game situated in World War ii, received as cutting-edge technology when first released in 2006, eventually spawning a series of expansion add-ons . the game is third-person-view thus NOT dizzy, as you control soldiers AND tanks from afar, while setting timers for aerial bombings . it excels on three aspects of detail, artificial intelligence and story-line .
- 1997 its Canadian producer Relic Entertainment found,
- 2004 acquired by Californian THQ,
- 2013 sold to Japanese Sega just last Month, as the much-anticipated game sequel Company of Heroes ii is in the making for release within the year .
although it still remains as the most extensive WWii strategy game, some sees its time-line from Normandy on-wards, a short-coming to the more grander games released since . and because the main supporting characters of ‘Saving Private Ryan’ 1998, and television mini-series ‘Band of Brothers’ 2001, appear in this movie try-out, namely :
- Tom Sizemore from the former, as Sergeant Horvath and
- Neal McDonough as Leutenant “Buck” Compton in the latter,
you cannot help but watch it, knowing it will be another cheap B-rated movie like ‘Saints and Soldiers’ 2003, trying to squeeze every money juice after its block-buster originals .
( TIME-LINE )
the movie takes place over Christmas of 1944, when Allied Forces from the West and Russians, East were cornering the Third Reich to its demise . however, Hitler mounts a surprising offensive as the Battle of the Bulge, to re-capture the Port of Antwerp . during which, his secret weapon – nearing completion – would come to light ..
December 16th 1944, Ardennes Forest, Belgium : a small group of heroes are told to deliver two truck-load of Christmas ham ration boxes to Forward Operations, through “14-year old boys with broken rifles . no ammo, no food .. a cake-walk”.
* * * SPOILER WARNING * * *
on the way, they are soon attacked, to find a whole column of German tanks advancing . some of them barely escape, realize they are behind enemy lines and try to get back to their Command Post . when they hear an immense explosion and see spreading light afar, they decide to go towards it for “Germans ain’t fighting against themselves”. after which they find a bombed-out barracks-village, where a scarred and dying OSS officer tell them : this is a test site for a new Nazi weapon, and order them to deliver his secret documents to a contact waiting in a train headed for Stuttgart .
better accept this as a game – true to its title than a movie . but as the viewer cannot control a movie as you would a stategy game – which the original game is – from here on, the movie unfolds as an adventure game would : bumping into a big Red Army Sergeant (played by Dimitri Diatchenko) who escaped from a labour camp, who joins them .
throughout the journey, the action part of movie proceeds with constant skirmishes, chased by a nemesis German Commander (played by Richard Sammel) like Colonel Hans Landa in ‘inglorious Basterds’ 2009, however with few of them being shot – as if you input a “cheat code” or installed a “trainer” in such a game , pitting against German infantry that seem more stupid than the original game’s Ai (artificial intelligence).
upon arrival at the train station, they witness their contact caught and shot . they see no alternative but to ride on the train, to take place of the dead contact .
they also find a downed British Royal Air Force pilot (played by Vinnie Jones) in the cargo carriage, who also joins them . movie lead-man Burroughs (played by Chad Michael Collins) had been assigned sniper just prior to this mission, from “shooting toy ducks at state fairs”. Sergeant Matterson who had been leading this mission, appoints him to continue to “do the Right Thing” minutes before being gunned-down .
Burroughs reads-out their instruction in the handed document, holding the included Opera ticket, as well as a coat number :
- ride the train to Stuttgart,
- meet someone named Kestrel at the Opera House – playing Faust,
- give him the coded message in the document,
- with the main objective to retrieve diagram schematics of the bomb,
- after which the OSS (World War ii US Office of Strategic Services) will have a truck waiting, to get them to safety ? hmm ..
comic action and loose story-line as it seems, the budget did put up several tanks, and its mission getting to sound impossible, like MISSION : IMPOSSIBLE .. you sit through, while the team plays this time around like the more precise 1998 WWii infiltration game ‘Commandos : Behind Enemy Lines’, as they try on German uniform .
* * * SPOILER ALERT * * *
DANGER ! DANGER ! WILL ROBINSON !
the scene in the Opera House proceeds surreal like a David Lynch movie, intact with over-whelming music . just like an adventure game procedure : Burroughs enters the Opera House with the ticket included in the document, and is handed a dark coat from his coat number . soon a beautiful brunette appears out of nowhere to approach and kiss him like a lover, whispering “Thank You for my coat . I’ve been expecting You . follow me”
she is the local German Resistance and assistant of Dr.Grunwald (German actor Jurgen Prochnow from ‘Das Boot’ 1981), who is building an “Atomic Bomb” !!! whose first prototype was a failure, but completed this morning . her agreement with the Americans was his extraction and her’s . she will have ONE truck available at the research factory in Heigerloch – where he was contained for Months, to be destroyed by Allied bombing there-after .
there is a quiet night before the storm : where she takes a bath (much like when Lt.Winters takes one at solitary leave in Paris, in ‘Band of Brothers’) and the Russian Sergeant plays the piano (like the night in the church in ‘Saving Private Ryan’ when they laugh about past times in recollect).
in the middle of the night : Burroughs wake up to find the Russian Sergeant leaving at gun-point, with their factory intrusion plan map . bidding “we were a poor people once, but never again . this bomb is power and prosperity . it will make the World listen . we’re not so different : I, like You am doing this for my country.”
ending climax comes with full-fledged Allied bombing, where the bombers are shown in cheap graphics in stark contrast : to the second-half of another historic but grander movie ‘Pearl Harbor’ 2001 . after the attack, surviving members are found at Allied Combat Hospital in Strasbourge, France .
[ TWELVE O’CLOCK HIGH ] EPILOG
Academy Award Nomination for Supporting Roles to Vinnie Jones for his part as downed RAF pilot,
and Dimitri Diatchenko on his role as Red Army Sergeant
– both unexpected on-start, and impressive ’til the End .
kinda thought the late Heath Ledger would have made a character in this game-to-movie //
( First of May, 2015 when SEOUL became sudden mid-Summer) despite all the rants about B-movie short-comings and historical inaccuracy such like usage of post-war weapons and clothe designs – come~on and let us spike some Command-and-Conquer (alternative-time game) spirit into your imagination : I thank the creators for realizing another factor from a die-hard World War ii movie – only possible coming from an avid COH game enthusiast .
– I wish I had the time and mind-set to play games for-ever, Korea Tech BLog –