3 June 2008 | vchimpanzee
Some good acting performances, at least
Two soldiers are found not guilty on a technicality, just like in the civilian world. Can this be true? One man who raped a female lieutenant (and nearly killed her) has connections. But there may be justice after all--a cruel kind of justice.
A body is found, and military intelligence assigns John Murphy to the unit of Col. Strauss, a no-nonsense military leader who believes the Japanese are correct in their philosophy that a man who causes shame should kill himself. Strauss also believes the army has gone soft, and if he has his way, things will be different. In fact, he has come up with his own system for making right those situations that do not meet with his approval. And it's up to Murphy, posing as Sgt. Hawks, to find the evidence to put a stop to Strauss.
The movie's first scenes (where Pvt. Ramirez sold arms to the enemy) did not show a lot of promise. Therefore, I may be overly optimistic in my evaluation. I'm not a fan of movies with explosions and lots of shooting. Certainly I don't like a world in which punishment is swift and severe (though this was not a futuristic society, just one man's vision shared by his soldiers). But Antonio Sabato Jr. did a very good job, considering the material. Murphy himself had to be an actor, and he was very convincing as he pretended to be just as tough a soldier as Strauss. And hate him or not, James Remar commanded respect in his performance. One could also have a type of respect for an Adolf Hitler too, I suppose. But you want to see this man get what's coming to him eventually.
I liked Melissa Lewis' performance as well. She was tough, of course, as members of this unit had to be, but she had a female side. One specific criticism I have, which may be a sign of low quality--the barracks seemed quite large, at least compared to the one Gomer Pyle had, and yet I don't recall seeing anyone there except the five soldiers who actually had a role in the movie. Somehow there would have to be others there, though maybe not at the time we were seeing the cast members. And where did Lee stay? Certainly not with the men.
It was satisfying to watch the process. Whether it was really any good, I guess, depends on the individual.