Tactical Assault

Dir: Mark Griffiths
Star: Rutger Hauer, Robert Patrick, Isabel Glasser, Ken Howard

Hauer plays former Iraqi POW Capt. Holliday, back with the military, only now, posted to Bosnia (remember Bosnia?). He once again meets his colleague, Col. Banning (Patrick) - the only one who knows the truth regarding why and how Holliday got shot down, and that's something about which the returnee still holds a serious grudge. Is Holliday unhinged by his ordeal? And how far will he go to extract revenge on Banning and his heavily-pregnant wife (Glasser)? Some might mock the lack of continuity in the flight sequences, where planes change make in mid-air; we care less about that, than the startling lack of military security. It's apparently possible to drive a jeep through a base fence, steal a tank (keys presumably left carelessly in the ignition) and blow up an ammo dump, without anyone coming to investigate.

That aside, there's some fun to be had from watching these two B-movie veterans playing off each other, and Hauer could be effective in this kind of role with his eyes closed - his gleeful cackle as he drives round in the hijacked tank is a moment to treasure. Sadly, that's about the only one: this is a film with few surprises, and it's giving nothing away to say Holliday is exactly the loonie he appears to be. The issues with the plane footage are all the more surprising, given how much of the film is spent in the air, with lengthy, mostly tedious flying, bombing and dogfight sequences; while reasonably well-integrated, they take up far too much time. And looking at Hauer's solid frame, all I can say is, it appears Iraqi POW camps must have really good food.

May 2006

Plane sailing
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