They fight for your life.
It's been a while since my last review, but I couldn't be happier to break the drought with something as explosive as Special Forces. The plot is incredibly simple; ambitious American female reporter gets captured by Maldovian forces trying to take photos of a genocidal event, US Special Forces team bust heads in an attempt to extract her. You already know how this will go, and it goes exactly how you think. America wins, woo! But it doesn't matter that you know how it goes, what matters is how high the body count is when you get there.
Special Forces hits the nail on the head for action fans. Directed by Isaac Florentine (Undisputed II and III, Ninja, Shepherd: Border Patrol, U.S. Seals II), one of the best in the business as far as I'm concerned with nary a single MTV-style quick-cut in use, and with many appearances by (but not fully starring) the awesome Scott Adkins. Well acted by all involved, we see the team of special forces comprised of interchangeable rough-and-tough men going by the names Jess, Bear, Wyatt and Reyes lead by Major Don Harding (Marshall R. Teague, U.S. Seals II, The Rock, Armageddon and a lot of TV work), who work their way through Maldova to rescue the girl and take out the ruthless General Hasib Rafendek (Eli Danker) - of which Major Harding has already been acquainted with, as revealed to us by a flashback sequence.
Action hero (and I'm happy to call him that now that he's played alongside The Action Greats in The Expendables 2) Scott Adkins shows up as the last remaining soldier of a British squad that never made it out of Maldova. He acts alone but saves the bacon of the Special Forces team on three occasions. It's also great to hear Adkins using his real British accent for once!
"Mission is King"
This is a non stop actionfest, folks. There are at least six full shootouts featuring every military-grade weapon you could think of. The minuscule $2.5m budget must have been used entirely on ammunition and exploding trucks, so I'll forgive the frankly terrible looking CG helicopter that whisks the team away at the end of the film. It's not a gory film either, with a high level of violence but not an overly grotesque. The scenery of Lithuania doubling as Maldova provides an authentic representation of a war-torn post-USSR republic.
This is easily the most overly-patriotic bordering on silly action film I've ever seen. There are so many scenes featuring American flags I lost count, but my favourite moments would be the artistic blood splatter across a US flag patch received by a captured Corporal, the Major drinking from a coffee cup emblazoned with the flag and the final scene rolling onto the credits that features the Major telling Talbot "this is why I keep doing it" as we pan across to a waving American flag. Coupled with the constant footage of Maldovian soldiers beating on their own women and children, it's clear who we are meant to be rooting for here.
The action basically does not stop for the full ninety minutes, but the highlight simply has to go to the duel fights in the finale - Marshall R. Teague vs. Eli Danker, and Scott Adkins vs. stuntman Vladislavas Jacukevicius. Surprisingly, Teague is reasonable with the ol' high kicks and lands a decent punch on Danker a few times. But the Hong Kong style fight between Adkins and Jacukevicius is simply outstanding - easily the best Adkins fight I've seen. He's as fast as Jackie Chan in his early days and just as creative, using whatever is laying around to help him win the fight. Jacukevicius is a great opponent for Adkins as he does this kind of stunt work for a living (this is is only acting role) but the upper hand, of course, goes to the triumphant Adkins.
Ex-rental R4 DVD brought to us by Roadshow Entertainment and Ninth Dimension. Presented in 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen, the film looks and sounds good but suffers a little from too much video compression in some scenes.