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Special Forces (2003)

R  |  Video  |   |  Action, Thriller, War  |  June 2003 (USA)
4.6
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Ratings: 4.6/10 from 489 users  
Reviews: 12 user | 12 critic

In a former Soviet Republic, the President is oppressing the people and with help from a former Bosnian General who's a sadist, he is extremely hated. An American reporter goes there to ... See full summary »

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Title: Special Forces (Video 2003)

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Major Don Harding (as Marshall Teague)
...
Jess
Danny Lee Clark ...
Bear (as Dan Clark)
...
Wyatt
Daniella Deutscher ...
Wendy Teller
...
Reyes (as Terence Rotolo)
...
Hasib Rafendek
...
Talbot
Vladislavas Jacukevicius ...
Zaman
Michael Saad ...
Hrankoff (as Mike Saad)
Rimante Valiukaite ...
Saira
Andrius Zebrauskas ...
Bureaucrat
Cezaris Grauzinis ...
Muldan Soldier
Henrikas Savickas ...
Vassily
Geoff Parish ...
Private Regional Command
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Storyline

In a former Soviet Republic, the President is oppressing the people and with help from a former Bosnian General who's a sadist, he is extremely hated. An American reporter goes there to catch the atrocities on film but is caught. She is forced to make false statements. So the Americans sends a Special Forces unit to try and rescue her. It's a big deal for the team's leader because the Bosnian once captured him and tortured him. While there they run into a British agent who was sent there on a mission and they work together. But when they try to leave they're captured. Written by rcs0411@yahoo.com

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Action | Thriller | War

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong violence | See all certifications »
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Details

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Release Date:

June 2003 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Special Forces USA  »

Box Office

Budget:

$2,500,000 (estimated)
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Did You Know?

Connections

Edited into Direct Contact (2009) See more »

Soundtracks

Is That All There Is
Music and Lyrics by Stephen Edwards (as Steve Edwards)
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User Reviews

Shockingly decent, balances realism with fantasy
6 February 2004 | by See all my reviews

[Note that there are 2 different direct-to-video movies named "Special Forces". One of them stars Daniel Bernhardt (Bloodsport sequels, Matrix Reloaded) and has a black & white cover. This one stars Marshall Teague and is a bit newer.]

I cannot believe it. Isaac Florentine's "Special Forces" may be the first low budget, direct-to-video action movie to succeed in satisfying the military/gun nuts, the martial arts fans, and general action fans all at once. It's even fairly well-made in terms of direction and production value.

First, there is plenty of gunplay and it manages to look vaguely authentic. The soldiers use proper shooting stances, keep their fingers out of the trigger guard, move & cover semi-relistically, and, unlike most low budget 'spec ops' movies, it looks as if the firearms were chosen because they were credible as US special ops weapons and not because they were the only ones available to the production. I wonder if this is due to Marshall Teague? On the special features of the Criterion Collection DVD of "The Rock", Teague is seen with a real Navy Seal demonstrating realistic weapons handling. Perhaps he brought this knowledge & training over to this film? On an even more pedantic note, several of the scenes where the soldiers were undercover in town reminded me of the fictional novels of Dick Marcinko, the Navy Seal legend turned best-selling author (Rogue Warrior, etc). Playing mind games and staredowns with the goons, evading tails, etc. A bit of a nice touch if you're familiar with Marcinko's work, though obviously it may be a completely unintentional similarity.

Second, the martial arts fights are very good! The final battle is blazing fast, energetic, and brutal. Whoever choreographed it certainly knows the specific rhythms and timing of a good Hong-Kong-style fight scene. The hand-to-hand fights are kept mainly to the latter half of the film. Before that, there are some quick takedowns and exchanges where you can see glimmers of this HK-style flair, but they are kept low-key so that they simply add a bit of energy to the proceedings without constrasting too much with the realistic gunplay.

Lastly, Florentine's direction is solid. He knows how to shoot and edit an action scene for both clarity and excitement. Thank goodness that he's not one of those MTV directors who feels the need to cut every half-second, chopping up every action scene into an incoherent blur. When so much work has gone into staging the action scenes, it's nice that he lets them play out clearly on screen. The non-action scenes are handled competently as well. There's an occasional bit of visual style here and there, but basically he just keeps things moving along and rarely if ever looks amateurish. You could call it a smooth professionalism. They also make great use of their Eastern European locales. It's scenic and absolutely believable for the story.

Overall, "Special Forces" is an enjoyable action flick featuring an unusual amount of detail & competence dedicated to the staging of its action scenes. If you're familiar with the direct-to-video military action genre, this is certainly one of the better ones.


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