When the normally taciturn and perpetually granite-faced Captain Skip Lang of Delta Force addressed his team about their concerns for him leading a rescue mission where his father was being held hostage on a Russian submarine and told them simply, “it’s a long story guys, basically me and my father, we don’t talk” on the one hand I was loving it! Is there anything more special forces than brushing off all sorts of emotions about your broken relationship with your dad with really abbreviated tough guy talk?
But on the other hand, I was on the edge of my seat praying to the low budget special forces movie gods that Captain Skip would flesh out his long story about why he and his father just can’t admit that they care and respect each other’s choices in life.
And by golly, if my prayers weren’t answered just like those of the captured soldiers Skip and his team rescued at the beginning of the movie when Skip announced his presence by stating “morning boys, Delta Force, someone call for a taxi?”
Skip’s father, Captain Halsey Lang, was the best damn nuclear submarine captain the U.S. Navy ever had! Until his son Pete got killed on a special forces mission in Lebanon! And everyone knows that Pete only joined special ops because his brother Skip did! And now Skip knows dad blames him for Pete’s death!
And in fact, Captain Halsey took Pete’s death so hard he quit the navy and took the most mundane, lame job he could think of to try and forget how haunted he was! And what was that job? Cruise ship captain! We’re talking Captain freaking Stubbing from the Love Boat here!
But the bottom line according to Skip? He isn’t concerned about his father’s safety on the mission any more than his father would be concerned for his! Either this is the most messed up family ever or the coolest!
You don’t have to be a member of Delta Force though to know how the movie is going to end – with both Captain Langs in the Russian sub, toasting each other with sweet, well-earned Russian vodka! You’re just praying again to those movie gods, that there’s all kinds of flimsy buildings, surplus military equipment, and thousands of extras getting blown up over and over and over! And again, just like Delta Force themselves, those gods deliver!
As is to expected, the beginning of the film establishes Delta Force’s bona fides as a well oiled team of constant destruction immune to thousands of rounds of gunfire, tank blasts, and helicopter attacks. (Ok – one guy did get a flesh wound during this first mission, but no one’s perfect, right?)
Sent in to Iraq to free some imprisoned soldiers, HQ calls off the rescue mission because of how tough it turns out to be, but the funny thing about Captain Skip is that he doesn’t have an “off button” when it comes to old men in cushy Pentagon jobs pussying out and leaving our boys behind! What follows is so much damage (including a helicopter falling into a building) to the Iraqi forces, I don’t understand how they had anything left for the second Gulf War!
Operation Delta Force 2: Mayday ups the ante of special forces awesomeness by forcing our guys to go back to Hawaii HQ for a hearing before a panel of old geezers who want our guys to justify why they disobeyed orders and saved the POWs! They should have been justifying why they didn’t drop those old farts like they were an Iraqi platoon that stood between them and sweet freedom!
But while this is happening, something even more dastardly is occurring on the high seas! An arch super criminal evil mastermind, the poetry-spouting Lukash, is unleashing his crazy scheme for the ultimate payday!
It’s simple really. He has part of his crew hijack a cruise ship while he is hijacking a Russian submarine. He’s going to sail the captured cruise ship next to the submarine as a human shield to ward off any attempts to retake the sub, while he speeds to the secret Russian submarine base his other men have captured where he will load a bunch of nuclear warheads on his sub and then force the world pay him billions of ransom under threat of nuking various cities! See how simple that is?
Especially if the Russians are the least competent stewards of their military assets in the history of – well – ever! I can almost get having a sub taken over by a mutiny of crabby seaman, but how does a secret submarine base get captured? Isn’t that part of the whole reason it’s supposed to be secret?
Obviously, the cruise ship hijacked is the one captained by the elder Lang. He’s taken hostage by Lukash for his skills of piloting nuclear subs and forced to help Lukash escape another Russian sub. Captain Skip and his team are dispatched to liberate the cruise ship (and promptly do so without breaking a sweat) and then are sent to the not-so-secret-anymore submarine base to stop Lukash. God, but the Russians come off like inept boobs in this movie! An American special forces team has to come and save your butts in your own country? I guess all the vodka makes the humiliation bearable!
The raid goes off without a hitch for both Delta Force and the violence-loving viewer! Stuff explodes, guys are killed, both Captain Skip and Lukash shake off bullet wounds to battle each other in a hand to hand death match and Captain Halsey has to help to keep the sub from being sunk by yet another Russian sub! (It really shows just how bad things are for the Russians that they can’t even manage to sink their own subs after multiple tries.)
The borderline familiar actors from the first Operation Delta Force are replaced by unknowns, but I found it less distracting to watch anonymous dudes make hand signals and yell “Party time!” and “Go! Go! Go!” than cringing at Jeff Fayhe and Ernie Hudson cashing a check to do the same thing.
Some guy named Todd Jensen actually returns from the first movie, but for some reason he plays a different Delta Force guy in this one even though his old part is still in the second movie! An even odder bit of casting involves Gavin Hood as one of the team. Hood would go on to direct X-Men Origins: Wolverine!
Strangest of all though is the name of the hijacked nuclear sub – the Kursk! While that was somewhat unsettling, all the nonstop Delta Forcing action seasoned with a dash of the hilarious father/son dynamic (Dale Dye is perfectly cast as the unflappable white haired Captain Halsey) will allow you to easily forget that awful real life tragedy and enjoy all the pretend killing happening on screen!
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