Under Heavy Fire (2001)

Genres - Drama, War  |   Sub-Genres - Reunion Films, War Drama  |   Release Date - Jan 1, 2001 (USA - Unknown)  |   Run Time - 118 min.  |   Countries - Canada, United States  |   MPAA Rating - R
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Review by Buzz McClain

Under Heavy Fire has its moments, but most of them are viciously overwrought, culminating with the over-the-top climax, in which sobbing grown men roll around in the mud of a rice patty in a transparent bit of symbolic soul cleansing. In slow motion, no less. The battle scenes, shown in lengthy flashbacks, are the best thing going, with lots of briskly paced urban sniper fire and claustrophobic jungle shootouts. One of the biggest problems is the casting of chisel-chinned Casper Van Dien as a character who has to age significantly over the course of the drama; his faux gray hair is as convincing as his guttural Marine growl -- which is to say, not very. Director Sidney J. Furie has done war before -- the various Iron Eagles and the excellent Vietnam saga The Boys in Company C, to name a few -- and while the action elements are solid, the strain of the pretentious drama is too great for him to overcome.