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*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Some Spoilers to follow
Fred Dryer (That guy who played bad ass cop Hunter on TV in the 80s) is bad ass veteran of um, El Salvador, Gunnery Sgt Burns, who is sent to the fictitious country and terrorist haven of Jemal, to whip Jemali terrorist ass, which he does with gritty gusto.
However, the terrorists kidnap his crusty cigar chomping superior Brian Keith, and subject him to a spot of surprisingly graphic power drill torture, partly to get information, and partly for chuckles because they're evil. Not only that, they then evilly suicide bomb the US embassy, killing his buddy.
Burns goes ballistic, but is hampered by a lot of wussy crap from uptight pen pushing US Ambassador to Jemal Paul Winfield, who constantly bleats things like "You gotta do this by the book Sergeant! By the book!!"
However, Gunnery Sgt. Burns is bad ass, played Hunter and does things his way by gawd, and to hell with the consequences, so Winfield's whining only enrages him and causes him to whip even more terrorist ass, this time aided by a handy and intrepid Israeli hit squad, (Who fortunately happen to be in Jemal on an ass kicking mission at the time) thanks to that damn girlie Ambassador Winfield and his "My hands are tied, by the book!" b.s.
Death Before Dishonour is critically... well, not great.
However, it more than makes up for this with cheerful xenophobia, awesome bad ass-ery and testosterone fueled cheese. It also obligingly throws in scenes of evil German terrorist ringleaders in cahoots with those sneaky Jemalis, heroic soldiers who fearlessly throw themselves in front of grenades before patriotically gasping "Take... me... home... sir!" and hot Polish babe Joanna Pacula as a mysterious and alluring war photographer, and will sadden you that the cold war is over, as they just don't make 'em like this no more.
Recommended for rabid right wingers, angry loners, addled military vets, stoners and lovers of jingoistic cheesy goodness, such as myself.
"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.
This movie is an ultra patriotic, one-dimensional all-American military
hero movie from the Reagan era. Do we like this kind of stuff? YES!
It's great for relaxation at home. It's not great by any means, the
action is OK/mediocre, the acting is (just forget about the acting),
the story is standard, in total it's nothing we haven't seen before. I
guess you have to be a fan of this type of movie to enjoy them. The
movie itself knows what it is and doesn't try to do anything else than
stick to it's safe formula. At least you know what you'll get from
6 out of 10
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I don't know how many times I've come across the film in stores that
were selling their ex-rental tapes, to have the film in my hands to
only put it back. I don't know why; as it seemed it could be a juicy
throwback to the Reagan era of dumb-down patriotic action set in the
Middle East. "Delta Force" anyone. Well after watching it, you can't
say it disappoints on that point. Strangely it starts of slow, but then
its wears its pride with ridiculous glee with gung-ho activity with
brutal and unsparing carnage as the tersely hardened Fred Dyer goes
berserk (sometimes with a rocket launcher, all maybe a shotgun) when
one of his men and close friend/colonel are kidnapped by Arab
terrorists who are working with some German/or were they Russian
mercenaries. I'll go German. They were extremely evil too, especially
in their intro were they completely demolish a dinner table by machine
gun and I almost forgot a diplomatic family. Dyer's Sgt. character
likes to do things his way, but Paul Winfield's American ambassador
does things by the book. They clash in the most clichéd manner, but
this won't stop Dyer. He wants payback. And boy does he get it. So what
we get is explosions galore
you know suicidal bombing, slow-motion car
chases that end in explosions and then the chaotic ambush filled with
explosions / gunfire at the bad guy's hideout. Throw in robotic bad
guys - the German pair takes the cake, cringe-worthy torture, stilted
dialogues, macho posturing, marine instincts, flag waving, dummy stunt
work and a stunning Joanna Pacula as an internationalist photographer.
The material is quite one-sided in its viewpoint, but because of this
it manages to strike some unintentional laughs in its leave no one
behind mindset. Brian May contributes to the funky score. Simple, raw
and cheap, but effectively busy in what it sets out to achieve;
chintzy, but no-bull action exploitation that makes a lot of noise.
"You're dead marine"
Cardinal Richelieu said: "War is one of the scourges with which it has
pleased God to afflict men."
The scourge who afflicts men in this wheeze is Gunnery Sgt. Burns (Fred Dryer). Burns is a career soldier, battle hardened and grizzled. He has his own interpretation of American foreign military policy, all foreigners are suspect by default and therefore subject to his military policy.
Armed only with this simple misunderstanding (and highly powered automatic weaponry), Burns' ire is aroused when his superior and friend, Col. Halloran (Brian Keith) is bushwacked and spirited away by babbling, machine gun toting "types". Burns' initial bafflement with his superiors reluctance to blame and incacerate every non-American in a hundred mile radius soon gives way to righteous indignation.
Bullets are soon being chambered, grenades are attached to bandoliers and rocket launchers hefted. Before you can say "United Nations peacekeeping envoy" Gunnery Sgt. Burns is (with the help of a few other people who don't stand on ceremony when there are asses to be kicked) laying siege to the desert fortress of a large man who looks like the product of an unholy union between Chewbacca and Dave Lee Travis (sorry, not funny if your not from the UK). After the smoke clears (and we have learnt that any combatant who has received a knife to the chest still has to be punched in the face really hard and fall from a terrace to ensure neutralisation), everyone who deserved to be (except the writers) is riddled with bullets, blown up and in one case has had a jeep dropped on them.
Possibly you may think I don't care much for this film, based on the above, but you'd be wrong. This is a slightly above average actioner, decently edited action scenes and pushes all the politically wrong buttons to get any red blooded blockhead like me baying for blood.
Its a shame Fred Dryer couldn't bring the same understated, laconic charm to this effort that he did to seven years of the excellent cop show Hunter, but he does make a pretty good action hero. Not a bad action pot boiler and I didn't even know it was Islamophobic until I looked it up on wiki.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
When Col. Halloran (Keith) assigns Gunnery Sgt. Burns (Dryer) and his
young Marines - including Ramirez (Gian) and Ruggieri (Mitchell) - to
the turbulent middle east country of Jemal, despite the willingness of
the local military to use their help, at first they don't get to do too
much. This is thanks to the politically correct, out-of-touch views of
Ambassador Virgil Morgan (Winfield), who doesn't want to step on any
toes. But Morgan, and the rest of the Americans, get a rude dose of
reality in the form of a terrorist named Jihad (Tarkington) who is
orchestrating acts of terror in the region. A photographer, Elli
Baumann (Pacula) is documenting his rise to power. When he and his
goons kidnap some of Burns' men, including Halloran, Burns decides to
take matters into his own hands and becomes a one-man army bent on
revenge! Will he face death, dishonor, or NEITHER? Find out today!
Death Before Dishonor is a classic example of the Reagan-era patriotism
film. It features good, noble Americans doing heroic deeds - and in
this era of cynicism, irony and anti-Americanism, movies like this are
not only highly refreshing, but also needed. It was just nice to see
America portrayed as upstanding good guys for a change, something you
rarely, if ever, see on TV these days. Based on the subject matter, the
movie is perhaps more relevant today than it was back when it was
released. They should release Death Before Dishonor back into theaters!
Now wouldn't that be something? The great Fred Dryer is always cool,
whether he's initiating his new Marines (which mainly involves a lot of
beer-chugging and grunting), or chasing/shooting the baddies. The movie
is peppered with little standout moments, and it all plays out as if an
episode of Hunter took place in Iraq or Afghanistan. It was nice to see
Dryer act out his personal vendetta, with the full might of the
1980's-era military. Of course, you know the main baddie is really bad
when his name is Jihad. Kind of a dead giveaway that he might be a
dangerous Arab terrorist. Of course, there is the prerequisite machine
gun shooting, as well as the prerequisite torture, but Dryer gets off
some great lines and is a leader you can believe in.
It was also cool to see a young Sasha Mitchell here in the ranks, before his Kickboxer 2 (1991) and Class of 1999 II (1994) (and of course Step by Step) fame. Joanna Pacula did the best she could in kind of an unnecessary role, and an off-camera Franco Columbu is credited as "body building coach". Because you're definitely going to need Columbu to work your quads so you can be in the proper shape to stop the terrorist bad guys. In all, "Death Before Dishonor" is sort of "What you see is what you get". It's a nice package of action where the good guys are good and the bad guys are bad. And in our uncertain, confusing times that we live in today, that's a comfort. Recommended.
Death Before Dishonor takes itself too seriously, and in this case it's a plus. Though it's lead isn't the best actor in the world, it's good to see someone different beside the Chuckies and Stallones. It's actually a really put together film, that I wouldn't call spectacular, but it treads the thin line between fair and good, where it's closer to good. It has a different setting too, the middle east. Sergeant Gunnery Burns (Dryer is caught in an ambush, his marines slaughtered, his commanding officer (Brian "Family Affair" Keith) is kidnapped along with two escorting marines, by merciless terrorists, who's ways of getting answers are brutal. One marine's hand takes a hell of a drilling from a Mackita, at a terrorists/bitch's hand. A nasty piece of role. When they go for the leg next, he folds, against that ever existing rule, as well as his shamed C.O, Death Before Dishonor. A great title. The ambush sequence is fantastically shot, where at the end of it, Dryer yells s..t after jumping from a bridge, into a gully, his jeep, he evacuates, prior, exploding. There's some other good action pieces too, that makes great use of location. Some of the violence is raw, but this is one of those better action pieces, a two week runner, that's not that far fetched as you would think. Joanna Pacula, (remember her) co stars, as a bold photographer who first gets on Dryer's bad side, a side you don't want to be on. We too see the loyalty of terrorists, one driving his van straight into the embassy.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Rugged U.S. Marine Jack Burns (Fred Dryer in excellent hard-nosed form) defies the orders of his commanding officers by going after a band of savage terrorists who have abducted his beloved superior officer Col. Halloran (a sturdy and engagingly gruff portrayal by Brian Keith). Director Terry Leonard, working from a compact script by Jon Gatliff and Lawrence Kubik, keeps the mean'n'lean narrative hurtling along at a brisk pace, maintains a serious gritty tone throughout, really lays on the gung-ho patriotism and testosterone-soaked machismo something thick, and stages the thrilling action set pieces with rip-roaring brio. The sound acting by the capable cast keeps this movie humming: The gorgeous Joanna Pacula as crusading photo journalist Elli, Paul Winfield as a stuffy by-the-book ambassador, Peter Parros as the eager James, Rockne Tarkington as the ferocious Jihad, Daniel Chodos as the wormy Amin, Mohammad Bakri as the vicious Gavril, and Kacey Walker as the ruthless Maude Winter. The jolting moments of brutal violence pack quite a harsh punch while the picture's fiercely jingoistic sensibility radiates a certain lovably crude 80's period charm. Brian May's lively score hits the rousing spot. The polished cinematography by Don Burgess supplies a pleasing crisp look. A fun flick.
Good casting and good plot. Modern movie watchers can say "predictable"; however, they've seen lots of action films SINCE 1987 that make plot elements here rather familiar. Don't you think? They acted like marines; everyone was fit and could do the wall climbs, etc. People seemed to be willing to do things not for money--that was a bit unusual, to the end that the "good guys" won! It was patriotic, sure, but in this age (2011) of from the top-down complacency, this patriotism comes across as welcome, I'd say. Good Action. Only the blond photographer lady seemed miscast to me. As you can see from the high score, I liked it!
Death Before Dishonor is an ultra patriotic and macho 80's action in the same vein as Rambo-First Blood pt.2 and The Delta Force. It is not as good as the films I have just mentioned and is in many ways cliché and little bit on the cheesy side. It is mostly a recruitment poster for the US Marines, but is a good film vehicle for Fred Dryer.(who is best known as Hunter) Death Before Dishonor delivers big on action with some excellent stunts, explosions and shootouts. Fred Dryer may not be the best actor, but he is good with firearms and is athletic and rugged enough to be a good action hero and is convincing as a Marine Corps badass. Director Terry Leonard did a good job as his only gig as director and there is a good support cast with Brian Keith and Paul Winfield. Rockne Tarkington of Black Samson fame did well cast as main baddie Jihad. I remember watching this as a young lad with my father when this originally had its run on cable, while certain elements of the film are dated, it holds up pretty good with most action movies of the same period.
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