Heartbreak Ridge (1986)

Genres - Drama  |   Sub-Genres - Combat Films, War Drama  |   Release Date - Dec 5, 1986 (USA)  |   Run Time - 130 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - R
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Review by Michael Costello

Clint Eastwood takes the old plot about the tough Marine drill sergeant trying to whip a bunch of new recruits into shape and manages to inject some life into it. He stars as Sgt. Tom Highway, a misanthropic misfit who has sacrificed his wife, family, friends, and everything else to his life in the Corps. Appropriately enough, he's assigned to shape up a platoon of young misfits and bad-asses from his old outfit. Somewhat bending genre conventions, Eastwood has given the film an elegiac undercurrent, as the fifty-plus warrior reviews his past screw-ups with his ex-wife. Of course, this is counterpointed by a number of scenes of heavy-duty bone-crunching as the old man shows his young troops that he's not about to retire any time soon. The heroic invasion of Grenada in the film's conclusion is something of a disappointment since the director, perhaps not surprisingly, has chosen to play it straight. Eastwood's direction is vigorous and terse, and the script by former Marine James Carabatsos is a nonstop virtuoso display of some of the most creative profanity to be heard in a motion picture. Among the cast, Marsha Mason and Mario Van Peebles do notable work.