Infiltrate. Detonate. Annihilate.
I love cookie-cutter military action films. I really do. At least when they are done well, anyway. U.S. Seals 2 is one such film. After seeing the review over at the DTV Connoisseur, I knew I had to have it. And when I found it in a UK combo set containing U.S. Seals, U.S. Seals 2, Operation Delta Force and Operation Delta Force 2... for £0.01, I simply could not refuse.
Michael Worth (Fists of Iron) is Lt. Casey Sheppard of the US Seals, under the command of Major Nathan Donnor (Marshall R. Teague). After a botched capture operation where Chief Frank Ratliff (Damian Chapa) executes the hostage, and then later on brutally rapes and kills his sensei's hot daughter Nikki, the team is disbanded and Ratliff makes himself disappear. Years later a military nuclear scientist, Dr. Jane Burrows (Kate Connor) is kidnapped by mercenaries and flown to a secret island to build a bomb for... you guessed it, disgraced ex-Seal and now arms dealer Frank Ratliff. Sheppard is re-instated reluctantly as a Seal and forms a team (in 48 hours, naturally) who can rescue the girl and stop the creation and use of a nuclear missile.
Sheppard's recruits consist of a rag-tag bunch of born-again criminals, gun-for-hire mercenaries and martial arts experts - including Kamiko, the twin sister (and same actress) to murdered Nikki. The catch is they can't fire weapons on the island due to the methane fallout from a decade old meltdown; one spark and the whole place will go up. This creates a few logic flaws with plenty of car engines turning over and cigarettes being smoked, but whatever. It's the movies.
I had a whale of a time with these seals! (get it? That was a pretty good pun). Isaac Florentine (of Shepherd Patrol, Bridge of Dragons, Ninja, the Undisputed sequels) sure knows how to direct a good action sequence and this movie has plenty of them. We start with a fast military shoot-out at night on a pier, that interrupts an illegal dealing (with a blink-and-you'll-miss-it scene with Velizar Binev) and sees flaming cars hurtle into fuel barrels. Simply amazing B-action! As good as this scene is, it doesn't hold a candle to the hand-to-hand combat and martial arts exhibited at the film's half-way point.
The scene in question shows the Seals going up against Ratliff and his men, and is the best scene in the movie to these eyes. Ratliff stands up high on a ledge with his buxom blonde by his side then calls on his 'army' to attack. As it's a no-gun policy, his 20 strong team encircle the good guys and much arse kicking ensues. Kamiko rocks her samurai swords, Sheppard uses his feet and the others use a combination of knives, lead pipes and their fists. The Major has a sweet 'air gun' that somehow propels projectiles that bury into a person and melt, without gunpowder. The fight with Artie (Andy Cheng) was proper old school material combining a chain link rope, fancy footwork and a rag at high speed, defence style 70's martial arts.
The lines in the film are delivered direct to camera and sometimes comes off pretty amusing, though the acting is never why we watch these things anyway. The most amusing part of the film was the total over use of the 'woosh' sound effect. Whenever anyone swiped a sword, pulled a gun, kicked their leg or even just turned their head we were treated to a 'woosh' sound. It was hilarious and whilst many would start groaning after ten minutes of this, I just kept laughing and laughing. There's also an underwater scuba diver fight to giggle at.
This may only have a PG rating but the violence is fast and often brutal. There are at least three guys that get swords through their stomachs, and the act of seppuku in the first act. That being said, it's a fairly bloodless affair for the most part. Not quite cartoon violence but somewhere in between. I am also pleased that no attempt was made to create any romantic relationship between Sheppard and Kamiko; that would have simply slowed the picture down.
U.S. Seals 2 is a solid mercenary bad-actioner from the turn of the century, with a great director and writer managing a solid cast. No messy Avid-farts and epilepsy-enducing techniques utilised here either. Good stuff indeed, and easily the best penny DVD I've ever bought. There is a part 3 to this series as well, US Seals: Dead or Alive aka Frogmen Operation Stormbringer! With a subtitle like that, it has to be awesome.
And, Happy New Year!
Solid fullscreen picture, very crisp and good colours and blacks. Punching soundtrack with clear, audible speech. Fine and dandy. Runtime 90 minutes.
Amazon.co.uk on a four-pack set for one penny + postage. Cheapest DVD I've ever bought retail, and there are two double sided discs in this!