A group of elite soldiers, including one woman, sign up for the ultimate training mission. The group parachutes onto a remote island, where their objective is to reach the safety zone before the "opposing force" captures them. Everything does not go as expected, and the training mission turns into the real thing.Written by
Markus Laine <email@example.com>
When Casey gets put into the isolation box for the first time, she is wearing an orange POW poncho. A close up of her inside the box, however, clearly shows the outline of her unit patch on the shoulder of her flight suit. When she is taken out, she is still wearing the poncho. Only during the second time she is put into the box is she wearing her flight suit. See more »
Strong cast elevates this otherwise minor action-thriller into something halfway decent. An elite army force is sent to a remote island to simulate extreme combat conditions, in order to prepare physically and emotionally for active duty. Once there, they're quickly captured and subjected to inhumane treatment which soon becomes criminal in the extreme. The camp commander's inscrutable methods have long been feared, but not until now is the whole gamut of his atrocities and sadism exposed. When head captive Logan (Skerritt) finally realises the crimes that are being perpetrated against his outfit, he goes berserk and demands and end to the simulation, but of course the psychotic camp commander Becker (played by crazy-eyed Anthony Zerbe, a fine actor better than this material) remains 'in character' (so to speak), and keen to erase any suspicion of wrong-doing.
The curve ball to all this is that one of Skerritt's men, is, well, a woman (Eichhorn). Her place in the team already under heavy scrutiny and unfavourable with the men, she finds herself the easy target for Zerbe to exploit. Zerbe is convincing, if somewhat one-dimensional, while Roundtree as his straight-shooting offsider provides much needed balance. George Cheung is chilling as an ex-Viet Cong assassin used by Zerbe to prowl the jungles in search of human prey. Eichhorn doesn't have the easiest of roles to play, her character subjected to constant indignities, although she still manages to project femininity and vulnerability in spite of her macho GI Jane persona.
"Hell Camp" does begin to deteriorate in the second half, as Zerbe's megalomania becomes all consuming, and the sadistic brand of torture he employs is sure to be objectionable to many audiences, particularly the female cohort. Good cast, but not enough restraint in managing the violence, which ultimately becomes gratuitous and vulgar - the climax and conclusion also less than satisfying. Proceed with caution.
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