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In the heat of an American desert, Captain Jean Farrell arrives at a secret military installation, run by the enigmatic Doctor Harlan Jessup. Jessup is conducting 'Operation Sandman', an experiment involving a group of soldiers who have volunteered to be injected with 'the Juice', a drug which enables them to function without sleep. The team of soldiers, led by gruff and abusive 'Gunny' Riggins continually takes part in Virtual Reality scenarios whereby they face terrorists, kidnappers, guerrillas and a plethora of other situations that demand split-second timing, and undying obedience in the face of danger. They have continued for nearly three weeks without sleep, and their response times and reactions are better than ever. But there is a problem. As the test continues, the soldiers begin to see 'freaks', hallucinations that intrude on their consciousness and disturb their concentration. Jessup is on the point of getting government funding for the project and cannot afford hiccups, ... Written by
A group of soldiers go through a sleep-deprivation experiment designed to increase combat availability. Using a drug concoction called "juice" the soldiers perform mission after mission flawlessly for three weeks with incredible efficiency until they began seeing "freaks," hallucinations induced by the combination of drugs and sleep deprivation. After a training accident kills one trooper a scientist is sent to evaluate the program. By the time she begins her investigation the remaining troopers are beginning to have difficulty separating reality from hallucination.
The first half of the movie is the more interesting as the problems are gradually uncovered, but the second half lags as it turns into an X-Files style cover-up/conspiracy flick. The low-budget is covered well for most of the film but shows glaringly at times. Definitely worth a watch. All the actors are pretty convincing, particularly Richard Tyson as the senior NCO who looks and sounds exactly like what a hard-assed senior NCO should look like and sound like. Ron Perlman has played the evil guy enough times to do it sleepwalking and does enough to pull it off here. But Mary Ward as the scientist sent in ostensibly to rubber-stamp her approval on the project comes off best as she slowly discovers what is wrong and also realizes she is virtually powerless to prevent what is happening. *** out of *****
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