Sunday, 20 November 2011



Although things would have been improved substantially if they'd included a few scenes of people throwing fish at Charlie Sheen. Made in the days when Sheen Jr was a decent enough action lead instead of an unemployable basket case (this came just after Clint Eastwood's The Rookie), this is another ridiculous, overly jingoistic boom-bang movie in which the brightest and best of the US military kick Middle East terrorist ass in the name of freedom and democracy, blow things up and shoot everyone in sight. Hurrah! It's incredible to think Hollywood ever made movies so idiotically simplistic.

The Navy Seals are actually the Navy SEALs: the SEa, Air and Land special operations teams of the US Navy. Michael Biehn's squad (which includes Bill Paxton and Charlie Sheen) are assigned to rescue a helicopter crew captured by terrorists: during the mission Sheen finds a hoard of weaponry including Stinger missiles but there is no real opportunity to do anything about them. Subsequent attempts to relocate the missiles, now known to be in the possession of extremists, initially prove humiliatingly fruitless but information provided by half-Lebanese journalist Joanne Whalley-Kilmer eventually leads them to Beirut....

In fairness to the film, the action sequences are perfectly well executed and put together with some decent stunt work and an impressive car chase towards the end. Lewis Teague knows how to make solid, no-nonsense B-movies (Cujo, Wedlock, Cat's Eye, Alligator), and even had a shot at the big time with The Jewel Of The Nile; it's a pity he's been absent from our cinema screens for such a long time. But Navy SEALs is thuddingly crass and predictable: as soon as one of the team is set to be married you know - you absolutely KNOW - he's not going to make it to the end of the film, just as you absolutely KNOW Charlie Sheen will eventually control his wild and crazy adrenaline rush attitude.

Backed by thumping rock ballads and a Sylvester Levay synth score that sounds exactly like Top Gun, it's efficiently made, but it is badly written, overly and overtly flagwaving and ultimately annoying. Matters aren't helped by the poor picture quality of the DVD, which looks one step up from a VHS tape and is in the wrong ratio. I don't recall caring for it very much in 1991 when it quite unaccountably got a UK theatrical release, and I still don't care for it.


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