14 September 2001 | vfrickey
Neither can dead scripts...
The presence of action and adventure film veterans Michael Biehn (Navy Seals), Adrian Paul (the "Highlander" TV series) and R. Lee Ermey (Full Metal Jacket) couldn't resuscitate this flick... the dialogue and plot rarely rise above sophomoric quality.
A major exception to that observation is an excellent gritty monologue delivered by R. Lee Ermey as a Cold War relic of a CIA bureaucrat pining for the good old days early in the film. More illustration of the conflict between Ermey's old-school spook and the (aw, crap!) lady general in charge would have helped the film considerably.
The cinematography is right down there with Saturday morning "hop n'chop" martial arts films - disappointing, considering the crew was equipped to do better. I frankly was angry that this movie didn't have more polish and visual impact than it does.
Also, the technical adviser was either absent or not being listened to by the director and writers. The military details - vignettes of Ranger training and the way in which Biehn and Paul's sniper/spook characters operate ring palpably false - lack the authenticity which even the average modern TV techno-thriller series has - even the later, more disappointing seasons of "24" inspire more willing suspension of belief than "Dead Men Don't Dance."
Finally, the plot peters out toward the end. It's neither compelling nor plausible. You don't strongly care about the characters toward the end, you're just grateful for the end credits so you can get on with your life. The bad guys are predictably bad, the plot twists, while not quite telegraphed, are not terribly surprising either. If a plot twists out in the demilitarized zone somewhere and no one's paying attention, does it make any difference?
The title of this film should be "Night of the Living Dead Plot." You'll never get the hour and a half of your life spent watching this turkey back; paint your house if there's nothing on the tube besides this... watching your walls dry will easily be more entertaining.