A hard-nosed, hard-living Marine gunnery sergeant clashes with his superiors and his ex-wife as he takes command of a spoiled recon platoon with a bad attitude.
***A more comedic version of “The Dirty Dozen,” but taking place in 1983 and starring Clint Eastwood***
Clint Eastwood’s "Heartbreak Ridge" (1986) stars Eastwood as a tough, soon-to-retire Marine gunnery sergeant who conflicts with the brass and his former-wife (Marsha Mason) as he takes command of a spoiled recon squad. The platoon is eventually deployed to Grenada in late October, 1983, in order to prevent a communist takeover and rescue some med students.
Thirteen years after “The Dirty Dozen,” Eastwood recycles the plot and adds a lot of hip comedy. Although it’s not a great military flick like “Dozen” it has its points of entertainment, but you have to roll with the odd mixture of believable military training drama with heavy doses of amusement, mainly revolving around the cartoonish character of Cpl. Stitch Jones, played with fervor by Mario Van Peebles. If you can acclimate to this odd mixture, there’s a lot to enjoy here.
It helps that the movie hooks you in with the opening jail fight involving the hard-living Gunnery Sergeant Thomas Highway (Eastwood). His reunion with his ex-wife and their potentially developing relationship is another hook. Some parts are kinda meh, but there’s enough good here if you’re in the mood for a military training flick in the form of “The Dirty Dozen” meeting “Top Gun” (1987) mixed with an edgier version of Gomer Pyle.
The film runs 2 hours, 10 minutes and was shot at Camp Pendleton, Southern Cal, as well as Santa Clarita (café), San Clemente (bar), El Toro (airfield homecoming) and Vieques, Puerto Rico (Grenada).
Jay Weston Productions, Malpaso Productions, Warner Bros. Pictures by Clint Eastwood, James Carabatsos, Dennis Hackin, Joseph Stinson.
Stars: Clint Eastwood, Marsha Mason, Everett McGill, Moses Gunn.
Genres: Drama, War
Keywords: recruit battle assignment marine platoon combat
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