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|Index||116 reviews in total|
Classic Eastwood and great fun from mid-'80s as produced and directed by the
fine man himself. I have to say this is an ideal role for Clint, like Dirty
Harry Callahan in the army. I truly love his exaggerated macho-characters
because they're so amusing and provide so much fun for a Clint-fan like
myself. In here he's a real monster: unpitying, blunt, tough and almost
sadistic but like most of Eastwood's characters he isn't all that cold, even
Sergeant Tom Highway has his sensitive side. In this case he reads women's
magazines and tries to reconcile with his ex-wife.
Script is filled with obscene language and lots of hilarious, legendary one-liners that kept me laughing pretty hard. Of course I understand why critics don't necessarily like "Heartbreak Ridge". We don't have to watch and wait far to find out what the flick is all about, first scene tells it all. This movie is shameless and far from being intelligent but that doesn't mean it's boring. What the hell, it entertains and finally that's what counts. Quote from the film: "You can rob me, you can starve me...and you can beat me and you can kill me. Just don't bore me."
Among my husband and his buddies, this movie is like Shakespeare -- they
quote from it often and well, so often and well, in fact, that the quotes
are just part of their vocabulary and the source is forgotten. It does have
more than its share of witty quips, even for me, a lowly female
I really do like this movie. It makes me miss the 80's, when it was still considered acceptable to be a patriotic American, and movies that glorified America and the military could be made without the felt need to apologize left and right. And of course Clint Eastwood is clever and attractive as always, as the hardcore Marine lifer who's trying to discover his tender side in time to reunite with his ex when he retires.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Watching Clint Eastwood work his magic on the big screen is something
for a movie lover like myself to treasure and in "Heartbreak Ridge",
Eastwood really unleashes it here.
Eastwood stars (and directed) the film as Thomas "Gunny" Highway, a very seasoned and highly decorated, but a troublesome U.S. Marine gunnery sergeant. Highway begins what may be his last tour of duty and along the way, he deals with a rowdy and undisciplined bunch of recruits (Mario Van Peebles being the most sarcastic and cocky one among the bunch) and turns them into reliable soldiers, Major Powers (Everett McGill), a higher-ranking officer who totally dislikes Highway, and tries to revive his relationship with Aggie (Marsha Mason), his ex-wife who isn't afraid to tell him about the misery that she has suffered.
The film runs at a brisk pace and Eastwood saves the best scenes for last when he guides the squad into Grenada to find a medical school where the students (mostly Americans) are held captive and the shootouts are well-done. Plus, the humor in this film is sharp and very witty although some of it may be offensive.
"Heartbreak Ridge" does remind me of the one film that I've seen made by the late Samuel Fuller - "The Big Red One". There are a few differences that seem notable, but both films bear a strong resemblance and appeal.
Clint Eastwood is at his best in the role of "Gunny Highway." This is
a really excellent flick about patriotic values, military camaraderie and
old grizzled military veterans. Gunny Highway comes across as the exact
fellow you would want covering your ass in any tough situation you could
possibly imagine. And Eastwood plays him perfectly with steely resolve,
devotion, humor and a healthy touch of irreverence. Its great to see the
transformation of Highway's squad, as well as the final moment of judgment
for the totally hateful, obnoxious and bureaucratic Maj. Powers. (Oh, if
only such b*****ds would get their deserved comeuppance in real life in
a manner, what a beautiful world it would be!)
The only real fault is the attempt to compare a minor police action in Grenada with Vietnam and Korea, "I guess we're not 0, 1 and 1 anymore." I mean, give me a break, Korea and Vietnam went on for years and killed millions! Grenada involved a couple of hundred casualties over a couple of days. Please! But I suppose in 1986 the American people were desperate for some kind of heroes. Its just that that kind of jingoism would have been much more appropriate after Desert Storm than Grenada. That being said, its still a very good movie with a fundamental message about values, loyalty and comradeship that we could easily have more of these days, besides, Clint is just great!
I have to say that I really enjoyed watching this movie.
The grizzled, maverick war veteran, Sgt. Tom 'Gunny' Highway must be one of Clint Eastwood's more comedic roles (apart from the 'every which way' films) He had me bursting out laughing every time he even opened his mouth. One particular line that had me in stitches was when he was telling a cadet to put his Kevlar helmet back on by 1900 hours 'or he wouldn't have a head to wear it on'-pure class!! I've always liked Clint for his tough no-nonsense roles. This one is no exception! As a matter of fact, there were plenty of 'laugh-out-loud moments in this film to keep everyone happy-like the smart-ass remarks from the punk cadets.
The showdown between Highway and 'The Swede' was highly enjoyable, too.
'Heartbrake Ridge' is certainly a lot more lighter and easier to swallow than the similarly-themed 'Full Metal Jacket'.
This film certainly passes as perfectly adequate, undemanding popcorn viewing.
I had forgotten how funny this film really is. Shown on British TV last
night, I found myself laughing like a loon all the way through it. Being a
big fan of Eastwood, it's been quite a while since re-viewing this mini
classic. And although it does take a drastic turn at the end, with a
slightly misjudged comment on war, this is by far his funniest
I also found that his character is his most interesting. A hard, no-nonsense gunnery sergeant who looks for advice in women's magazine is a dream characterization. And the one-liners are perfectly attacked.
I did find Mario Van Peebles character a little annoying, but then I suppose that was the whole point, and it's always good to see Marsha Mason, who I think is totally underrated as a screen actress.
But this is Eastwood's movie, through and through and a real delight. See it, but don't take the ending too seriously.
This is an enjoyable, if somewhat cartoonish, adventure. Eastwood plays Gunnery Sergeant Tom Highway, a career United States Marine who won the Medal of Honor at Heartbreak Ridge in Korea. As he approaches retirement, Gunny Highway takes on the task of transforming a bunch of misfits into a tough Reconnaissance Platoon in time for the 1983 invasion of Granada. The film is uneven, with some moments that are brilliant and others that are embarrassingly bad. The film does not contain an accurate portrayal of Marine Recon, but it does deliver excitement and a good dose of humor. Besides, Clint Eastwood as a salty old Gunny is something that had to happen!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
"The de facto role of the United States Armed Forces will be to keep
the world safe for our economy and open to our cultural assault. To
those ends, we will do a fair amount of killing." - Lt. Colonel Ralph
"The weaker and poorer a country is, the more dangerous it is as an example. If Grenada can succeed in bringing about a better life for its people, some other place that has more resources will eventually ask, 'why not us?'" - Chomsky
Clint Eastwood stars in and directs "Heartbreak Ridge", a dumb propaganda film about US military actions in Grenada. Made with Pentagon support and constructed in the mould of 1950s war films (particularly "Take the High Ground" and "Sands of Iwo Jima"), most of which saw tough-guy Sergeants (John Wayne, Richard Whitmark) grooming misfits for war, the film stars Clint Eastwood as Gunnery Sergeant Highway, a no-nonsense warrior who takes a band of delinquents and builds them up into hard-as-nails killers.
All the genre's clichés are here: Highway is the tough daddy disciplinarian whom the group slowly learn to love, his grunts are all rebels and misfits who learn to "heroically" do their duty, and high ranking military men outside of Highway are presented as being inept goof-balls. As is the case with all these films, the very non-conformity of Highway and his boys their supposed dissidence and "individuality" in the face of state ideology disguises/facilitates their absolute conformity.
"Ridge" climaxes with Operation Urgent Fury, the 1983 US invasion of Grenada. Before this the film shamelessly parrots the line of Pentagon spin-doctors. Eastwood and his grunts do not invade the tiny island of Grenada, instead they "go to Grenada to rescue US tourists, school kids and students" from "evil soldiers". One must remember that the official pretext for invading Grenada back in the 1980s was "the protection of American lives", specifically 800 students at the US run St George's University of Medicine. In reality none of the students were in danger, none wanted to leave and the invasion was actually designed to oust Maurice Bishop, the people's revolutionary who rallied the islands few thousand inhabitants against Prime Minister Erich Gairy. Within months Bishop had put in place policies which irked Carter and Reagan, who were all at the time busy overthrowing/assassinating similar democratically elected leaders and/or left-wing movements in Africa, the Middle East, Asia and Latin America.
Bishop achieved more in a few months than anyone expected, Grenada reaching a 9 percent cumulative growth rate, unemployment dropping from 50 to 14 percent, agriculture diversified, cooperatives developed, imports dropping from 40 to 25 percent as a result of sustainability measures, literacy rates jumping to 98 percent, a free education and health system being established, the number of schools tripling and various industrial programs set in motion.
At the time, Grenada's turn-around was praised by the World Bank. But Carter would adopt an adversarial attitude and put in place a program to assassinate Bishop and isolate the tiny Caribbean island. And so the UN Mission in Grenada is bugged, Bishop's party is infiltrated by the CIA, Western media begins to spread propaganda with the aim of discouraging tourists, the CIA begins a destabilisation program and rumours are spread about Soviet submarine, missile and air bases being present on the island. As far as the public is concerned, the tiny island of Grenada is a rouge, terrorist state. When all these rumours are debunked by journalists leading up to the invasion, the major news chains refuse to air retractions. Meanwhile the CIA begins planting bombs at local rallies, inadvertently kills several civilians and sets about trying to weaken the island's economy. This goes on for roughly 4 years.
Prior to the invasion, The CIA begins to sew discord in Bishop's Party. Bernard Coard, Bishop's childhood friend and co-revolutionary, begins to break away from Bishop. Coard stages a coup and arrests Bishop, but Bishop is set free by a crowd of some 10,000 Grenadians, all staunch supporters. In response Coard's men apparently massacred Bishop and his closest followers. To this date no one knows where the orders came from and who committed the murders. Coard blames the CIA, the CIA blames Coard. Coard is a free man today. Gairy was given diplomatic immunity in the US. Coard's actions were used as a pretext to invade the island; these plans were drawn up years earlier.
To facilitate the invasion the US constructs an unbelievable hoax in which it is stated that the Organizaton of Eastern Caribbean States had asked the US to invade the backwater island in order to "protect other Caribbean islands from Grenadian aggression". The invasion takes place, its date of execution designed to distract the public from American casualties and failed US policy in Lebanon (250 US troops dead days earlier). Declassified documents would reveal that US bombing runs systematically targeted Grenadian factories; one of the first targets was a canning plant which helped Grenadians can their own food (rather than relying on foreign companies).
The Pentagon claims that "weapons of mass destruction were found", which are years later revealed to be rifles manufactured in the 1870s and two Bren guns circa 1950. The US puts in place an interim government, rigged courts and tribunals are set up to assign blame, lawyers and judges are paid hush money, neoliberal polices are put in place to favour foreign investment, state enterprises are given over to foreign private interests and modern consumer capitalism is officially brought to Grenada. In 1991 the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights find that throughout this pantomime the US Government under Carter and Reagan had violated a slew of laws and articles. The report was released when US F16s were bombing Baghdad.
4/10 Worth one viewing for the always-cool Clint Eastwood. See instead "Full Metal Jacket" and Cox's "Walker".
Disappointed with this movie. I wouldn't put this on my top 200 list. The plot is thin. The storyline is so unrealistic. The result is a bit sophomoric. I expected better and unfortunately, didn't get it. I got tired of Clint Eastwood's gravely throat talk after the first 10 minutes. The script seems to be made up of a combination of terse, smart-ass and cute one-liners all strung together. I'm not sure what Marine Corps is being depicted here, but it sure isn't anything manufactured in the United States. I can't believe that the U.S. Marine Corps seriously considered using this movie as a promo for Toys for Tots (until they heard the language). I suppose it's worth remembering that this was produced in 1986. The only thing that Mario Van Peebles was missing were the perfunctory warm-up leggings when he was singing on stage. (Or maybe I just missed them.)
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Made during the Reagan years, Heartbreak Ridge was designed to appeal
to the ruling administration's conservative values, maybe to acquire
official approval, but certainly not to deny the odd buck or two. As
movies go, it's neither the worst nor the best, rather a repeat of the
Eastwardeque formula witnessed in Every Which Way But Loose, only this
time in a proud US military tradition.
Eastwood comes across as a convincing hard-nosed gunnery sergeant. But the role demands little extra than the Philo Biddo persona - cussing, fighting and generally resisting the rules whenever it suits.
However, while Eastwood's role convinces, the other characters are simply cardboard cutout clichés - the mouthy recruits, the disappointed ex-wife, the long-suffering confidante, the antagonistic Major. The plot could've been lifted directly from a third instalment of the "Every Which Way But..." and dropped into Dispersed Pattern Material cammies.
There's little in the way of true story progress except that a bunch of spoilt recruits become "real soldiers" - watch the Granada battle-scenes and make up your own mind if this comes off as a convincing military drama. Highway barely develops as an individual, except to retire. He experiences no epiphany or growth.
One could be excused for believing this is a serious attempt at examining the life of a Vietnam veteran in the modernising US Marines, lost somewhere in the past and unable to accept the loss of compatriots on Heartbreak Ridge (of the title), but simply because it doesn't portray the deliberate infantile revenge-plot of movies such as Rambo and Commando; however, Heartbreak Ridge is a poor example of an authentic military story. It's a vehicle of the Clint Eastwood film-studios instead.
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