There has been an incident in the Mediterranean where an American helicopter crew were shot down attempting to rescue the men on a burning ship and captured for hostages by Arabic terrorists. But who can rescue them? How about the Navy Seals, some of whom are waking up from the stag party the night before, as one of their number, Graham (Dennis Haysbert), is getting married today? His buddies Lieutenant James Curran (Michael Biehn) and Lieutenant Dale Hawkins (Charlie Sheen) tell him not to have any misgivings about getting hitched, but something unexpected happens at the ceremony...
Or something completely and utterly expected, depending on where you stood, for the soldiers are called away just as Graham's fiancée (S. Epatha Merkerson) is walking up the aisle, to save the hostages in the Lebanon which in 1990 was a byword in the U.S.A. for a hotbed of terrorist activity. Not that watching this now makes you nostalgic for a time when terrorism didn't seem to be a global problem it seems today, as the gung ho attitudes were pretty hard to take, not least because most of the heroes we saw here were insufferably obnoxious. Well, there was one decent one amongst them, but you can guess how he was going to end up to justify the bloodbath finale.
Star Michael Biehn reportedly hated working on this film, but Charlie Sheen appeared to be having a whale of a time, at least according to the way he behaves and indeed looks throughout. Taking his cue from Tom Cruise in Top Gun - actually who were we kidding? The whole movie was a Top Gun rip-off - Sheen played the maverick character, maverick meaning in this case an utter liability who shouldn't be allowed within a hundred miles of an genuine military operation. But he's having so much fun, blowing away the bad guys with a quip or two lifted from Han Solo, and when he's not doing that getting shitfaced with his friends. Indeed, he was doing that offscreen as well, as evinced by his deathly pallor throughout.
Sheen really did not look well in this, either as if he was overcompensating for his hungover state by going over the top, or actually coked up during shooting to get him through the working day, he really does not appear at all healthy. Combine him with Biehn's gritted teeth style and you had a film without hope of being a buddy movie for the military, and adding Joanne Whalley as the love interest didn't help much as she was supposed to be a Lebanese-American journalist who is set up as an apologist for all that is evil in the Arab world before she is naturally won over to the Americans' viewpoint thanks to a night of lovemaking courtesy of a Navy Seal. If only international diplomacy were so simple in real life.
If you call that simple, simpleminded perhaps. Even when they show up to rescue those hostages, they manage to arrive about thirty seconds too late: if they'd been there slightly earlier one of them would not have been executed. Waving away accusations of unprofessionalism, they proceed to make a hash of every subsequent mission as the goal becomes who can get their hands on a Stinger missile launcher that has fallen in with the insurgents, though not before they have a fun game of volleyball - oops, wrong movie, it's the equally glamorous sport of golf they indulge in here for the inevitable hair letting down montage. They really do come across as a bunch of barely disciplined thugs and you can only hope they didn't represent what the actual Navy Seals got up to, no matter that co-writer Chuck Pfarrer was an ex-military man himself. Ending up with a ramshackle assualt in the Middle East with everything thuddingly unsubtle, this went to show that complex political situations and action movies were not always good bedfellows. Not to mention Sylvester Levay's bombastic music.