Delta Force One: The Lost Patrol (2000)

DF1 PosterA tribute to all the soldiers who ever served in two made up Middle East countries in a fictional peace keeping force, Delta Force One: The Lost Patrol, a film larded up with a famous son, grandson, and a C-List kickboxing movie legend, is the sort of thought provoking work that will leave the viewer pondering such unanswerable questions as “which relative humiliated his more famous ancestor more: Mike Norris or Bentley Mitchum?”

The obvious answer of course is that being the grandson of screen legend Robert Mitchum, one’s presence in a movie with Gary Daniels couldn’t help be about a big as drop off in the cinematic gene pool as possible. Don’t get me wrong, I think Gary is our best laid back British-accented kickstud, but it isn’t exactly the same as working with Gregory Peck, is it?

Still, Bentley doesn’t do anything particularly awful in the film since his biggest moments involve him staring at a computer screen and trying to deactivate a nuclear warhead. Surprisingly, it’s Chuck Norris’ son Mike, who is probably the subject of discrete snickers at family reunions following his performance as the hot headed Sgt. Mike Morton.

With his receding hairline, undefined-bordering-on-lumpen physique, and his penchant for shouting his lines such that you could almost feel the cringe of even a thespian the level of Gary Daniels (he played twins in the post apocalyptic Cold Harvest!), Mike’s performance probably had director Joseph Zito on the phone with Chuck, whom he directed in the classic Missing in Action and the spectacularly prescient Invasion USA, pleading with him to send another Norris, any Norris to take over!

Bizarrely, and perhaps most telling about the picture’s shortcomings, is that Mike Norris’ character is the most interesting thing in the movie!

When he’s assigned to Gary Daniels’ team to find out what happened to a previous peace keeping team in a disputed border region, Gary is outraged because Mike is a violent trouble maker who can’t wait to get at the weapons cache!

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And then, as if to prove the point that the scriptwriter Clay McBride has an extreme case of short term memory loss, right after his commander tells Gary the crazy Mike is on his team, he reminds Gary to be careful because tensions on the border are running high!

From a military standpoint, it would seem that assigning the trigger-happy Mike to this powder keg of an assignment is right up there with invading Russia in winter, but from a film standpoint, it’s manna from low budget action movie heaven! You’re already wondering which local is going to get plugged first!

Mike spends most the movie on the mission complaining about Gary getting everybody killed and when are they going to get to start shooting back? And you can’t really blame him because Gary starts the mission in command of three jeeps and about 15 or 20 guys and ends the movie with one totally trashed jeep, a native tracker who can’t track, a medical officer who doesn’t do anything other that wrap a bandage around Bentley’s flesh wound, and little native kid bent on getting revenge for the death of his father!

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And then when Mike finally does get to shoot, it’s time to break out the pathos! When a mob of natives advances on the team, Mike kills one of them and stands in shock as a loved comes running over to the body and begins screaming and wailing!

And to make matters even worse, the team is then hectored by their native guide for supposedly being peacekeepers, but killing people instead! Come on Mike! Put a round in that guy’s ungrateful face! Sometimes you got to make a little war to get a whole lot of peace! Grow up, already! Spilt milk and all that!

But for Mike, war and shooting people will never as fun as it once was! Later, Bentley is carrying both his and Mike’s weapon and he sagely explains that Mike’s weapon became too heavy for him to carry!

And then Mike is standing at the edge of a cliff in the desert contemplating what it means to be a dude who doesn’t get his kicks soldiering anymore and Gary comes over to give him the talk. You the talk of which I speak. It’s the one where some story is told (preferably a personal one from the commanding officer) about war, killing, moving forward, doing the right thing from here on out and not blaming yourself (even if it was clearly your own damn fault). Well Gary (whose heart is clearly barely in this, his fifth film of 2000!) matter-of-factly tells Mike, “we all make mistakes” and walks away! Thanks Cap! I feel better already!

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The rest of the film is as enjoyable as finding a camel spider in your fatigues, meandering between Gary’s jeeps getting blown up, a crooked customs official, the native boy, and actual actor John Rhys-Davies as an arms merchant brokering the sale of a nuclear device to some rebels.

Frequently dull with way too much time spent with all the wheeling and dealing among the bad guys, the movie can’t even deliver on its most obvious promise – that of Gary Daniels kicking the crap out of people every ten minutes. Only at the end of the movie is Gary unleashed to kick a few heads, but by then any self-respecting Gary fan would have departed for the greener pastures of one of his other movies from 2000 such as Fatal Blade or City of Fear.

And in a final bit of scripting insanity (or is that inanity?), the movie ends with an Animal House-like onscreen write up of the fates of our characters, most of them probably intending to be amusing, but like most of the rest of movie, failing unequivocally at every step of the way. (Did you know that one of the characters in the movie went on to write a screenplay about his adventures which became the source of the movie? Did you also know this was Clay McBride’s last credit as a screenwriter? Okay – you probably did know that.)

© 2013 MonsterHunter

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