THE GOOD SOLDIER SCHWEIK 2: BEG TO REPORT, SIR (DVD) Image

Picking up where the first movie left off, “Beg To Report, Sir,” begins on a train, where officer’s servant, or batman, Schweik and his master lieutenant are on route to the front lines of World War I.

Schweik, still a lovable buffoon, out of curiosity pulls the train’s emergency brake—having once been told that the brake is an ornament and not a functioning control—and the train screeches to a halt. Once off the train, Schweik is threatened with jail time for his actions, unless he agrees to pay a small fine, but he can’t pay the fine because his money is on the train. So a good Samaritan agrees to pay Schweik’s fine if the good-natured soldier would agree to join him for a few drinks at a local pub. Schweik naturally agrees, and this is where his troubles begin.

Having spent a little too much time in the pub, Schweik misses his train and finds himself stranded hundreds of miles from his destination. So he’s forced to set out on foot. But when he’s mistaken for a spy in a nearby town, he jeopardizes himself and those he is supposed to meet on the front lines.

“The Good Soldier Schweik 2: Beg To Report, Sir” is less a sequel and more like a continuation of the first film. Together, they make one film and one story (think The Lord of the Rings, how one bled into the other). Individually, the films are so-so. Together, however, they make an epic anti-war satire, a movie so rich in characters and funny propositions that it is easy to be swept up into the world director Karel Stekly has created.

Like its predecessor, “Beg To Report, Sir,” is an anarchic, anti-authority movie about the perils of war and those stuck on, or near, the front lines. This is a film as chaotic as a Marx Brothers movie, yet with the pathos and subtlety of a serious character study depicting those struggling through times a war.

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