Release Date: July 20, 1990
Starring: Charlie Sheen, Michael Biehn,
Rick Rossovich, Bill Paxton, &
Runtime: Approximately 110 minutes
Distributor: Orion Pictures
Director: Lewis Teague
Producer: Brenda Feigen & Bernard
Writer: Kevin Jarre & Angelo Pizzo
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Which is exactly what happens to Billy, one of the frogmen, on his wedding day. Joined by Hawkins, the risk-taking Team hotshot, and Curran, the conscientious Team commander, the SEALs are deployed to the Middle East. In a land rescue-operation involving fellow servicemen and Islamic terrorists, they learn that some stolen American Stinger guided missiles have fallen into the hands of Al Shuhana, the terrorists' leader, whose life they unwittingly spare.
The SEAL Command Center later receives information that places the missiles on a merchant ship leaving Lebanon, but in an under-cover-of-night sea raid, the SEALs come up empty-handed. The SEALs are further set back by the efforts of an American, half-Lebanese TV journalist named Claire, who seems to be siding more and more with the religious zealot, Al Shuhana.
Wanting to know what Claire may know about Al Shuhana and the stolen missiles, Curran invites her to the SEAL training grounds, but learns nothing. Higher-ups decide a Mid East informant may have information on the Stingers' location. In an air operation, the SEAL team parachute from six miles up, then snatch the informant away. Thanks to Hawkins, the risk taker who can't keep his emotions under control, Billy is needlessly killed.
The funeral scene is touching, but marred by much obscenity and a drunken barroom scene in which the SEALs eulogize Billy. Then, it's off to Beirut to blow up the missiles, where they are finally pinpointed. A lot of other things get blown up, too, in this war-ravaged, bombed-out city, including tanks, cars and buildings. Amidst the constant artillery barrages, the mission is completed, with Hawkins saving Currant and finishing off Al Shuhana.
Since the film is more interested in showing the SEALs in action on land, sea and air, it is segmented as such. Consequently, not enough attention is given to fully develop its weak premise: do emotions take precedence over rationality? In the final scene, Hawkin's rescue actions are particularly difficult to interpret. Are his emotions now under control, or is he proving that there is a time and a place for risk taking?
That flaw aside, the film earns three stars mainly for the entertainment value of the way the combat and rescue operations are executed, fair-to-good in most spots, but slow in others. They repel, crash through skylights, fight underwater, and sail through the air (aerial photography is good). The advanced weaponry, such as thermal binoculars which are used to sight bodies behind walls, is truly amazing.
As one would expect, the film contains much violence and is not recommended. There are crude sexual innuendoes, racial slurs and an implied promiscuous relationship. Most offensive of all is the constant barrage of profanity and obscenity, exploding with almost the same frequency as the artillery shells. Instead of going to see these SEALs, why not take your children to see the kind that go honk?
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