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Fred Olen Ray
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This review contains some SPOILERS. But who's going to actually find this movie to have things spoiled for them??
If you are reading this review, chances are you stumbled on this page looking for something else. The reason I say this is because `Shooters' has virtually nothing about it that would have people seeking it out, except for maybe the two or three Aldo Ray junkies in the world. The only reason I saw it at all is because a local television station near me that loves playing no-budget films at night showed this. With it's title, I thought it was going to be a really cheap action movie that I would end up hating, but in reality it is a very witty, though low budget, military comedy that I found myself consistently enjoying.
The movie centers on the misfit squad of rejects at Fort Lepter (someone painted over the `t,' making it Fort Leper) under the reluctant command of Major Zipp. The main batch of misfits consist of: Lt. Harley Cole, leader of the goof-ups and womanizer extraordinaire; Sgt. Plato, Cole's right-hand man with a metal plate in his head that is always messing up his normal speech and behavior; Andy, an all-around regular guy; detonator, an obese clown that loves blowing things up; and Animal, a hulking food-loving chum. These guys are always making life miserable for Major Zipp until one day, General Makepeace (Aldo Ray, the film's only recognizable name) announces that Fort Lepter will be the sight of the next war games, and that the 4-F Troop will represent Fort Lepter. They will compete in three events against two other squads: a group of women soldiers led by drunk Major Lush and hot shot Lt. Robin Perry, and super-skilled and cheating soldiers led by Major Wolfe and sneering Lt. Buck Nelson. It doesn't take military intelligence to figure out how the rest of the movie will pan out, but it is fun to watch nonetheless. As expected, our heroes flub up the first two events miserably, which means they must win the last event, a game of Capture the Flag, to get the high score. (I must pause here to ponder exactly how the first two events could possibly affect the final outcome if the Lepter Boys could have a pitiful score and win the whole she-bang in the third event.) By this point, their goofy but charming antics have won them friends with women team, so they concentrate on the scheming Wolfe Squad. To make things more difficult, it seems that General Makepeace has wagered a load of money on Wolfe, so he is pressuring Zipp to provide his men with false information so they are sure to lose. Only pure luck could save these guys, which is does!
I thought of this movie as being `Stripes,' only with no star power and no budget. Despite that, I think `Shooters' did a pretty good job of making me laugh. Some of the humor is a bit juvenile, but overall the writing is very clever. The actors and director Peter Yuval aren't destined to win Oscars, but they are all good in their roles, even the secondary characters. The plot is very thin, but you can't go very far with it without being too pretentious, so everything balances out in the end. Certainly, it is the budget that will forever hold this back from the audience it wants and bury it in the proverbial forgotten movie grave for the rest of time. I am thankful that I got a chance to see it and laugh before the final bit of dirt was shoveled on it. Zantara's score: 7 out of 10.
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