Operation Delta Force 4: Deep Fault (1999)

ODF4 DVD CoverThe fourth and most tragic mission for Operation Delta Force really only comes alive during the final 20 minutes or so when Delta is facing overwhelming odds in averting a devastating man-made earthquake and the Operation Delta Force theme music begins to play! Just as quickly though the movie peters out into a series of scenes of guys taking forever to die, taking forever to cut the wire on a nuclear warhead, and taking forever to fire their last bullet at the bad guy. Still, I have always loved that theme (at least since I realized there even was an Operation Delta Force theme at the end of Operation Delta Force 3: Clear Target) and was hoping something other than the dull mess that made up almost of Deep Fault would happen as the mission drew to its monumentally costly close.

That this was the lamest of ODF films since their initial outing against South African terrorists was a bit surprising considering the talent involved and the dramatic strides made in Clear Target. While not perfect (Delta never got the bad guy), Clear Target had a good combination of exciting stunt work, drama involving the team, and plentiful use of special ops hand signals.

Deep Fault has boring action sequences as mushy as all the nasty dirty snow we see throughout the first two thirds of the movie when Bulgaria is standing in for Serbia and Turkmenistan, drama with the team that would be laughable except you’re just embarrassed for the guys, and most telling of all, a relative dearth of hand signals!

It’s all the more disappointing since director Mark Roper also made Clear Target and the man filling the constantly rotating role of Captain Skip Lang is Greg Collins. Collins played Mac in Clear Target and his near drowning during a submarine explosion closed that film out in spectacular fashion. The material here just isn’t as good, resulting in him inanely babbling to the new Mac (Joe Lara – the villain from Operation Delta Force!) that Mac has to get the “fear” back because it is the “fear” that keeps them alive.

Lara (who shows his commitment to the role by not having a ponytail!) is forced to go through the movie with some kind of death wish, though most of the time he just comes off as being a jerk. Sometimes he shoots unarmed dirtbags, sometimes he tortures suspects, and sometimes he doesn’t shoot unarmed guys, but urges them to reload!

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Skip knows he has a problem, but the only way he knows how to deal with it is to tell some story during the handball game about when he was a kid and somebody fell into a hole or something. And just to make sure we get that this Operation Delta Force movie is more “real” Hutch the sniper starts to miss his shots and has doubts about his sniping ability! Can we get these crybabies back into the field already?

The field though isn’t really any better because Delta is sent into the wintry Balkans to retrieve some plutonium the rouge seismologist Garcia is planning to use to cause a large earthquake in California. He half-heartedly states that it is on behalf of the Cuban people (he is of Cuban descent) which doesn’t make much sense since the last time I checked, the Castro brothers don’t live in California, though it surely has its share of Communists, too.

Really though he is just pissed because the federal government closed down his pet project Zeus which involved using nuclear weapons to cause earthquakes. (You know – because one of the problems with nuclear weapons and regular old earthquakes is that they’re just not destructive enough.)

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Following the expected failure of the initial effort to stop the plutonium, Delta is dispatched to a deserted island (except for the mammoth dam and all the gear and military muscle that Garcia somehow afforded on an rogue seismologist’s salary) to stop Garcia’s plan to sink California.

Things marginally improve once inside the underground base with Delta sliding on zip lines, getting hoisted on ropes, shooting guys and having various dramatic moments such as the one where one of our boys announces for some reason that he is sick of the lies and takes on a machine gun nest all by himself with only two grenades.

For fans of the Operation Delta Force series, Deep Fault is a wasted opportunity, with so many regular characters killed off, but with little impact, partly because it was always someone different playing them in each movie, but mostly because the best special ops guys on the planet are being killed by just a scientist and his hired goons.

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The film also manages to botch what is initially an interesting departure for the series (Delta Force in the snow) as their winter vacation quickly becomes ridiculous as the cable car Delta is on gets blown up and thrown on its side. It continues to slide down the road allowing Delta to ride it while shooting, even as the cable car defies all the laws of physics and picks up speed and begins ramming and blowing up cars in its path like some sort of mass transit battle tank!

By the time Joe Lara is leading the surviving members of Delta (one other dude!) in a twenty-one gun salute to conclude the film, you can’t help but feel that it is requiem for the whole series and while we of course mourn that the friends we grew to know by name and hair color over the course of four films are gone, mostly we are mourning that the film felt it necessary to take almost an hour convincing us to never visit Bulgaria in the winter.

© 2013 MonsterHunter

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