The Video Vacuum (thevideovacuum) wrote,
The Video Vacuum
thevideovacuum

HEARTBREAK RIDGE (1986) ** ½

Clint Eastwood directed, produced and stars as a gruff Marine sergeant who has to turn a bunch of obnoxious, rough and tumble, wet behind the ears soldiers into lean, mean fighting machines. He also rekindles some flames with his cocktail waitress ex wife (Marsha Mason), butts heads with his thick skulled superior (Everett McGill from Silver Bullet) and actually gets to lead his platoon into battle in Grenada. 

 

Sure the story is rife with clichés, but Eastwood always did have a knack for fleshing out paper thin material into something you could actually care about.  The young cast, which includes Mario (New Jack City) Van Peebles (as a soldier with rock n’ roll aspirations) and Tom (Popcorn) Villard is especially good, and they help elevate the movie from it’s many clichéd trappings. 

 

The capable cast does it’s best, but unfortunately at well over two hours, Heartbreak Ridge has more than it’s share of lulls.  Chief among them is the gratuitously trite subplot where Clint tries to reconnect with his ex.  The scene where the battle hardened Clint is reduced to reading women’s magazines so he’ll know exactly what Marsha Mason needs to hear is especially cringe inducing.  The film’s concluding token action sequence finale also falls kinda flat as it merely serves as just an exercise to show how well the troop works as a team.  

 

But it’s Clint Eastwood who truly rescues the movie from being just another gung ho military potboiler.  He has a surly demeanor in this movie that compliments his usual squinty eyed stare nicely and has a memorable prison fight scene with the great Nicholas (Don’t Answer the Phone) Worth in the beginning of the film.  He also gets to say some truly priceless dialogue like “The only thing you could build is a good case of hemorrhoids!” and “Shut your face hippie!” 

Tags: clint eastwood, drama, h
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