The film's glaring failures are created while attempting to reveal the personalities of the characters. Sheen's off-duty shenanigans are annoying (like arbitrarily jumping off a bridge from a moving vehicle), but what really makes the viewer wish to see him get shot are his antics during missions. Not only are the supremely implausible, but the accompanying absurdity monumentally annihilates suspension of disbelief. The zenith of this tragic miscalculation comes when Sheen, while taking cover during a firefight stumbles on a cache of American missiles and impulsively lobs a grenade right into it, while being behind it, making a mad dash away from it. Director Lewish Teague expects the viewer to believe that he is able to evade both enemy bullets and the blast radius of the exploding cache of missiles in a matter of seconds. (Scientific reasoning).

Another part has him disobeying, for no apparent reason, a direct order not to engage unalerted guards, precipitating a short, senseless firefight with grave consequences for the team. Insubordination and capricious, spur-of-the-moment actions that endanger lives are simply not the hallmarks of the Navy SEALS (or for that matter, any SOF unit), and would result in immediate disengagement of the operator from further missions and perhaps even dismissal. Even when SEALs die due to Sheen's utter stupidity, none of this happens. This inaccurate portrayal of procedures might explain why the U.S Military support to the project was 'limited'.

Joanne Whalley-Kilmer plays a Lebanese-American reporter with an expertise in the Middle East and the attempts of Curran and Hawkins to extract intel from her and the resulting mix of chemistry and jealousy that follow are only vaguely interesting and does not serve any good purpose (except to reaffirm the viewer's contempt for Sheen who offends Whalley with his casual use of epithets for the Japanese and Arabs). Biehn, of Terminator fame, performs fairly well, especially in the drama that succeeds the consequences of Sheen's actions. The last part of the film, set in Lebanon just prior to an Israeli invasion, lay ground for what could have been a saving grace. The lacklustre action scenes ensures it never happens. The gunfight scenes are quite dreary, with the exception of the scene of the SEAL sniper armed with his incendiary-rounds-firing rifle, offering a golden gleam of hope for technical fidelity.

Such types of sniper rifles have been used by to eliminate insurgents hiding behind concrete walls during the course of Operation Enduring Freedom.
The Unit's Dennis Haysbert is a SEAL in this film.

Michael Biehn and Joanne Whalley-Kilmer.

The parking lot scene was shot at real-life SEAL hangout Ready Room (notice sign board).

If you're a Sheen fan, have a high tolerance for absurdity masquerading as entertainment, and have low expectations, this might do the  trick when it comes on cable. Otherwise, if you are thinking of buying a DVD, do the wise thing:  ignore the luring title, roll out of the way, Spetsnaz style, and radio for extraction.

"Sticks and stones may break my windows, but not RPGs and machinegun fire." The magic civilian vehicle (commandeered  by the SEALS of course).

As far as depiction of the special forces of the U.S Navy is concerned, it is safe to cast this film as one of the most mediocre films yet. As a Hollywood action-flick, it is only weakly entertaining, a third-rate film with a first-rate cast. Written by Chuck Pfarrer, a former SEAL himself, Navy SEALS, in spite of itself, is amateurish, from its pretentious facade to its non-existent substance. The biggest flaw of this Brenda Feigen production is that it takes itself too seriously, almost as if it's petulant to establish itself as a classic in an era where military films with the Tinsel Town's finest like Top Gear influenced everything from sun glasses and apparel to Air Force job applications, not to mention the hundreds of millions in box office receipts.

When a Navy helicopter responding to cargo ship's mayday call is machine-gunned and its crew taken hostage onshore by Middle Eastern terrorists, the Navy SEALS execute a rescue mission, discovering American missiles during the mission but fail to destroy them during the intense firefight that follows. From then on, it's basically mission after mission to locate and destroy the missiles, interspersed with  weak, subplots along the way that aren't memorable, except for one brief KIA's widow scene. We are intimately introduced to only three of the operatives : Second in Command Hawkins (Sheen), Curran (Michael Biehn) as well as a surprisingly young Dennis Haysbert ('How about that ?'- get the reference ?). There are others too, including a sniper, but it is mainly these three and  the chemistry between Sheen and Biehn that gets most attention.

However, this brief display of technical fidelity is extinguished when the Hollywood edict for outlandish but unintentionally laughable action scenes return : a civilian Sedan hijacked by the SEALs is impervious to RPGs and machine gun fire at very, very close range from a pursuing armoured vehicle. The climax in which the SEALS swim to the middle of the ocean to wait (or hope, as the submarine might have already left) for submarine extraction when they are pursued by militiamen who fire AKs and even an RPG, may appear dubious, but the truth is in real life, Navy SEALs have indeed evacuated by sea under fire in eerily similar circumstances, as exemplified by a squad of American and South Vietnamese SEALs in Northern Vietnam in 1972.

The flaws do not end (or begin) there, but the primary point is that it plainly failed to entertain me and almost nothing in the film moved me.

  Navy SEALS

Director : Tewis League
Starring   : Charlie Sheen,
                Dennis Haysbert
               Michael Biehn
               Joanne Whalley-Kilmer


hile several films have featured Navy SEALs and their operations (both fictional and non-fictional), it's ironic that this eponymous 1990 flick had to be one of the most disappointing films ever made about the elite of the U.S. Navy. Were it not for its cast and the exciting title, the movie wouldn't have received half the attention it did.

A B-grade movie with an A-grade cast, this Brenda Feigen production shouldn't be taken too seriously.


Story & Drama  : 3.5/5

Action         : 2.5/5

Overall Rating : 3.0/5

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