Clint Eastwood is Gunnery Sergeant Tom Highway, career Marine and combat veteran. Assigned to training a recon unit, Sergeant Highway is determined to make his new recruits soldiers that he can be proud of.
Clichéd gung-ho Clint knocks idle recruits into shape - amusing but no Oscar winner
- Heartbreak Ridge review by RP
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You rated this film: 3
Clint Eastwood is one of my favourite actors and directors. I like the way that he has matured as an actor from macho roles where he does little other than squint and curl his lip into what might be described as 'experienced old man roles'. As a director he has an easy, direct touch that can be quite subtle.
But 'Heartbreak Ridge' is anything but subtle - it's a macho, US-Marines-are-wonderful, old-men-can-show-young-whippersnappers-a-thing-or-two, highly clichéd movie.
And yet I like it. It's direct and unpretentious. It is what it is - popcorn entertainment where Korean veteran Clint knocks a platoon of unruly recruits into shape and makes men of them - you know the kind of thing. Plenty of f-ing and blinding, ribald jokes, poking of fun at over-inflated military egos, and Clint's trademark disrespect for authority. All routine stuff.
There is one thing that grates on me as a Brit. The film is set against the background of the remarkably heavy handed 1983 invasion of Grenada by US troops - and Grenada is a Commonwealth country. Frankly, that's not the right and friendly thing to do; indeed it's a violation of international law, however much you dislike the regime - but if the gung-ho attitude shown by the military in this film is in any way accurate (what, a Hollywood movie accurate?) then perhaps it's not surprising.
'Heartbreak Ridge' has not been without controversy as it shows a number of incompetent officers and NCOs. But they're there really to allow Clint's character to show a 'Dirty Harry'-style disrespect for authority, so nothing really new there. Despite that and the dodgy Ronald Reagan invasion of inoffensive little Grenada, I find the film an amusing diversion.
I'll give it 3/5 stars - amusing it may be, but frankly it's no Oscar winner and deserves no better.