A squad of National Guards on an isolated weekend exercise in the Louisiana swamp must fight for their lives when they anger local Cajuns by stealing their canoes. Without live ammunition and in a strange country, their experience begins to mirror the Vietnam experience.Written by
Keith Loh <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Director Walter Hill later said he enjoyed the experience of making the film but that it was tough: "I was very proud of the actors in it. It was a tough movie to make, and they put up with a lot. They would probably tell you they put up with a lot from me. [Laughs.] But they really did it without complaint. And I just thought I was very fortunate to have the cast that I had. Jesus, it was a hard movie to make . . . I think when you see the movie you can see that this one wasn't nightclubs in Vegas. But it was just very hard locations to get in there. Very hard to shoot. I remember so many times we'd only have a few minutes to set the camera because the bottom of the swamp would give way. And so, for your camera positions, you had to stage and shoot very quickly in many cases. It just was hard, and the weather was miserable. However, I will say this: If you choose to go make a movie in a swamp in the middle of winter, you probably deserve what you get". See more »
The M-60 machine gun and the M-16 rifles are repeatedly shown firing blanks on automatic and semi-automatic fire settings, respectively, but without the required blank adapters covering the muzzles. Blank adapters cause a back-up of gas pressure within the barrel, a function normally performed by fired bullets, which allows the weapons to cycle and reload automatically. Blank adapters are clearly visible attachments; without them, the weapons would have to be cycled (i.e. reloaded) manually after each individual blank is fired. These are obviously Hollywood weapons which have had their barrels partially plugged sufficiently to perform the function of blank adapters, while making them appear more like weapons that most viewers are familiar with. See more »
Now this is a atmospheric survival action film and Walter Hill at his peak. Love it! It's so simple (although streaming through it is a biting allegory about the Vietnam War), but nonetheless exhilarating, tense and raw film-making. Sure the acting and dialogues aren't master-class, but however they're commendably pulled off. In which case Powers Boothe (whose booming voice takes charge) and Keith Carradine (excellently pitched as the guy of reasoning) are terrific leads, and the support Fred Ward (a memorably hot-head and tooting turn), T.K Carter, Lewis Smith, Franklyn Seales, Peter Coyote and Brion James are also quite compelling. Tough, authentic and a real sense of claustrophobic tension stems from the actor's rapport and cynical script. This blends well with the brutal bloody violence (like the barnstorming climax with the powerful freeze frame closing) and the dank, devouring swamp terrain that ultimately swallows them up. But where I think it's at its most effective is during the interludes of Ry Cooder's fascinatingly folksy music score. Each time it creeps in, it demonstrates the right illustrations to the striking visuals and harrowing moods. Cooder's handling is multi-layered and truly echoing. From a relaxing southern flavour, to a haunting stillness and a punishing sting. It's cohesively perfect in it's random shifts. Hill's bravura direction holds up tautly, as the well-used slow motion is suitably done and the highly measured suspense piercingly infused. I liked how the hunters are kept as void-like background figures, because towards the end it makes the whole paranoid feeling and unease thrillingly justified.
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