U.S. Seals (2000)

US Seals DVD CoverU.S. Seals is one of those great concepts hampered by a pleasingly generic story and strictly competent execution.

A Navy Seal unit battles terrorist pirates all across the globe in an effort first to shut down these dirtbags and their thieving, murderous ways, but only really getting revved up to kick ass once the head Navy Seal’s wife gets herself blown up due to a car bomb that also left the Seal’s only son injured!

That’s plenty in and of itself to get any American who supports the troops, their wives and little kids pumped up enough to watch this with no questions asked. That this is another Nu Image Films release (see also Air Strike and Special Forces) where they were able to apparently rent out the Bulgarian Navy for a day or two so that a helicopter and a few other pieces of equipment could be used is pretty much all the further endorsement anybody needs. It also demonstrates how wise it was to let Bulgaria join NATO.

Still, I didn’t find U.S. Seals to be as jingoistically enjoyable as Air Strike or Special Forces. There wasn’t much in the way of overtly pro-American activity in this movie. Sure, you had the bravest guys in the whole frigging world never giving up against all odds, taking on all kinds of punishment and never cracking. What’s missing though is dialogue or action scenes designed to put the rest of the world on notice that America is the best there is, was and ever will be!

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Unfortunately, that means quite a bit of non-whup ass stuff going on. While more muscular special forces movies are busy raiding terror camps, stealing motorcycles, and generally generating a nice healthy body count right from the get go, U.S. Seals is forcing us to endure the most arduous mission of all: character development!

We’re talking such heinous stuff as the Seals’ barbecue where we meet the team and their lady friends. It is here that we find out that Mike is quitting the Seals! Because it’s what his wuss family wants!

Thankfully, before he can actually hand in his Scuba gear and combat knife, the team gets a call from the Old Man! I don’t recall whether he was ever referred as the Old Man, but anyone who’s ever done their time in the special forces knows the dude you get your secret missions from is always known as the Old Man. Because he’s always an old man! It’s something you learn on your first day at Starfleet Academy or whatever it is they call Seal School!

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The one last mission Mike has to tackle before cashing out involves taking on a group that raids ships, steals their loot, and kills all aboard! There was probably a reason us Americans were supposed to care enough to send our very best, but I’ve plum forgot what it is.

The Seals are charged with attacking an oil platform the bad guys are using as a base and taking a few prisoners to get more information on their leader. They end up getting one of their own guys killed which I don’t think was part of the mission.

More character development ensues when we have to go the hospital and then the funeral after Mike’s old lady makes the ultimate sacrifice for our country. I’m always in favor of family members getting eliminated by the enemy since it helps to keep our guys razor sharp, but in this case, it didn’t make a lot of sense. How was it that the bad guy knew the identity of Mike and where to locate his wife? Yes, there was a traitorous CIA agent involved, but how would she know any of that information or be able to get it?

Could a CIA agent on her first assignment just call up the Seal’s HQ and ask for the name and address of the guy who just covertly attacked that oil platform somewhere near Turkey?

And really, this is one of those instances of the bad guy being so stupid it hurts. Yes, he wants revenge, but what does he think the best Navy Seal ever is going to do once his wife is killed? How good of a business decision is that?

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And this bad guy (Blaise) isn’t exactly the most intimidating guy around, even by the comparatively limp-wristed standards of European terrorists. He’s a middle-aged barrel-chested poof who doesn’t look like he could come out on top in a bar fight let alone against Navy Seal thirsting for vengeance.

U.S. Seals does give you solid action with guys diving out of moving trains, ramming an engine through a wall, blowing up stuff, and chucking grenades into pill boxes, but it’s all done in fits and starts until the last twenty minutes of the movie or so.

Too many briefings, too much handwringing over dead people, the laughable CIA doublecross storyline, and the way director Yossi Wein (Operation Delta Force 2: Mayday, Operation Delta Force 5: Random Fire, Cyborg Cop III) constantly uses fade outs instead of directly cutting to the next scene all involve the Seals not kicking tail for Uncle Sam!

Still, I can’t deny that if you’re the sort who picks up a Nu Image military film that you’ll love watching the armored military vehicles chasing after each other in the middle of one of those budget-friendly eastern European cities, crashing into mysteriously pre-wrecked cars, tables with plastic lawn furniture, and a farmer’s market that are all conveniently placed in their way.

© 2013 MonsterHunter

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