Under the Radar

Reality is Overrated: 'SEAL Team 8'

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We get a lot of pitches around here that emphasize just how real the military action sequences are in Hollywood movies. Studios emphasize the badass credentials  of their military advisers and directors and actors rhapsodize about the thrill of creating action sequences that might pass muster with the guys who actually do it for a living. Seal Team 8: Behind Enemy Lines (out now on Blu-ray and DVD) is not one of those movies.

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Shot in South Africa on what appears to be a microscopic budget by Dutch director Roel Reiné, the plot involves some (not important) stuff about recovering yellow-cake weapons-grade uranium from warlords in the Congo. The great Tom Sizemore gets a job in a military-themed movie after a lot of years in the wilderness, but don't let the DVD cover fool you. He's in charge and spends the movie looking troubled in the command center, so his role is automatic-weapon free.

Most of the actors seem to be South African or Dutch gamely attempting to sound American except for a lead played by a British TV actor who calls himself Lex Shrapnel. Really.

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Roel shot the movie himself and there's a lot of handheld chaos in the action sequences. As the exclusive clip above suggests, there's not a lot of pre-planning in this director's world. Get the actors moving, hit record and let the editor sort it out in post.

This one feels like one of those straight-to-Cinemax action pictures from the '80s (there are even a bevy of half-heartedly topless extras hanging out with the warlords by the pool before the movie's first raid).

If you think that our Special Forces have a sacred mission that must always be treated with sensitivity and respect, then Seal Team 8: Behind Enemy Lines is just going to piss you off. If you're looking for a break from that kind of reverence and just want to see a mindless action movie, one that learned everything it know about military engagement from playing Call of Duty, then this might do the trick for you. Everyone's having a great time playing soldier.

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