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Gunnery Sergeant Burns reports for duty to an American Embassy in the Middle East. However due to the 'enlightened' views of the Ambassador, the marine security detachment he is in charge of is severely restricted in their functions and presence to avoid upsetting the host government. As a result, when terrorists attack the compound, they are able to kidnap hostages and escape with little opposition. Burns ignores the Ambassador's restrictions, and throws the rule books out the window, as he becomes a one man army in an attempt to rescue the hostages, and wipe out the terrorists. Written by
Brian W Martz <B.Martz@Genie.com>
"Death Before Dishonor" is a cheesy, nasty, jingoistic piece of work, and pretty fun on that level. In any event, it does exactly what it should be doing, and that's delivering lots of gunfire, explosions, and brutality before revving up for a nicely rousing finale. The villains are utter creeps whose demise we eagerly anticipate, and our hero is a jut jawed type who everybody knows damn well will take on all comers in order to do what's right. It's also the sole feature film vehicle for TV star Fred Dryer ('Hunter'), who plays Marine sergeant "Gunny" Burns, who's stationed in the Middle East. When terrorists manage to kidnap his superior, Colonel Halloran (a lovably crusty Brian Keith), he goes into action. Luscious Polish babe Joanna Pacula plays a dubious journalist covering the terrorists' activities, Paul Winfield (rather wasted) is an officious, typical bureaucrat (the kind of guy in this type of film who will insist that the hero do things by the book), Sasha Mitchell is one of Burns's young soldiers, and Rockne Tarkington, Mohammed Bakri, and Kasey Walker play our unsubtle villains. This marked the only 1st unit directing credit for veteran stuntman and stunt coordinator Terry Leonard, who's worked on films ranging from "McLintock!" to "The Green Hornet". You know it's comfortably familiar stuff, when, even if you're watching it for the first time, you can easily predict upcoming lines of dialogue. The on location shooting is a bonus, as is the excellent music by the under-rated Aussie composer Brian May. The action is first rate, and keeps us happily watching for the duration. And just to show us how sadistic the baddies are, the most memorable scene has them mutilating Keiths' hand with a power drill and threatening his young associate with similar treatment. That makes it all the more glorious when Dryer and associates, with the assistance of the Mossad, launch the climactic attack on the stronghold where Keith is being kept. It's guaranteed to get you cheering and pumping your fist, right up to the final frame. Seven out of 10.
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