This is not your average World War II flick.
The fact that this film is not really an average anything might be exactly why it's worth your attention.  My advice: Don’t let anyone tell you that Inglourious Basterds completely sucks, or that it’s the best war film ever made.  Truth be told, it’s neither of those things, but the film has got style and tension in spades, and it's actually entertaining throughout.  With a run time of just over two and a half hours, that’s quite a feat in itself.  Quentin Tarantino’s new feature is by no means a throw away, but it’s not his best work to date either.  My recommendation is to go out and see this one for yourself.  You’ll need to take what everybody else says about Basterds with a grain of salt, since people tend to talk in extremes when it comes to Tarantino.  Be forewarned though, this particular film is a contradiction of terms in a number of ways.  To begin with, it's a historical film that refutes history, a drama that's often funnier than it is serious, and a virtual dictionary of cinematic references, without paying much heed to the significance of the references.  Tarantino’s World War II is populated with cartoon style tough guys, beautiful femme fatales, and larger than life villains that at times can collectively seem more like caricatures than serious characters.  That being said, you’ll be hard pressed to find very many scenes in this film that don’t set up and string out the tension to the maximum, thanks in large part to some great performances from the cast. 

Christoph Waltz kills them with kindness as 'Landa

Much of the tension throughout comes from the stellar Christoph Waltz as Col. Hans Landa.  Also known as “The Jew Hunter,” Waltz makes every scene he works in interesting somehow.  The opening scene with Waltz and the superb Dennis Menochet is worth the price of admission alone.  Not only does Waltz know how to make you hang on his every word, he does it while alternating between English, French, German, and Italian.  Landa's hunt for Jews, which he likens to rats, takes him throughout Nazi occupied France and drives much of the action in the film.  Brad Pitt’s Aldo Raine pushes another story line as the leader of the Basterds, who are, you guessed it, a platoon of American Jews, each on a mission to capture 100 Nazi scalps.  Pitt plays Raine as the consummate cartoon tough guy, and his accent and lines are often more comical than anything else.  The performance meshes well with the pulpy, make believe world of heroes and villains that Tarantino has created though.  Some of the most entertaining moments in the film in fact, involve the laughs that Pitt's accent and tough guy act provide.  

Diane Kruger parties with the enemy.

As for the Basterds, the characters are pretty thin, and none are very memorable aside from Til Schweiger as the German born, Nazi turncoat member of the Basterds, Sgt. Hugo Stiglitz.  Michael Fassbender also does some notably fantastic work with his limited screen time as the British Lt. Archie Hicox, as does Diane Kruger in the role of the German actress Bridget Von Hammersmark.  Strong performances aside, what makes this film worth watching is Tarantino's effort to blend and bend the genre into something different and all his own.  He avoids the tribute to honor and bravery that is so typical of World War II films, in favor of something that moves in another direction, something that's tougher to define.  My hunch is that he knows all to well how many films have paid that tribute already.  I applaud the effort to create something different, but more than anything, I appreciate the fact that he still knows how to keep it entertaining.  Don't take my word for it though.  This is one of those films you've got to go out and see for yourself.