August 06, 1990 12:00 PM

Charlie Sheen, Michael Biehn

A veritable testosterone festival, this action movie about a group of present-day Navy commandos has gobs of male bonding and hard-drinking, shoot-’em-up raids galore, a succession of bad-guy foreigners and just enough women to let you know that these are straight commandos, no matter how much time they spend hanging out together.

It is a John Wayne movie without John Wayne, and more’s the pity, since Sheen, for all his acting talents (Platoon, Wall Street, Major League), doesn’t immediately suggest the kind of confidence-inspiring man other men will want to follow into battle.

Sheen plays the independent, regulations-be-damned sort of action-movie hero who clearly has a comeuppance in store and gets it as his team, commanded by straight-arrow Biehn (The Abyss), is storming a terrorist headquarters in the Middle East.

Director Lewis (The Jewel of the Nile) Teague keeps the level of chopper and gunfire background noise constantly high enough that nobody has to pay too much attention to the dialogue by former real life SEAL (and screenwriting newcomer) Chuck Pfarrer and Gary (Total Recall) Goldman. (“They’re all a few sandwiches short of a picnic.” “You’re dealing with terrorists”; “They’re dealing with the Navy SEALs.” “Hello again, scumbag.”) This is to be expected, but the rather routine nature of the stunts and effects is on the disappointing side.

While there’s a nice free-fall skydiving sequence, in general the action scenes are routiner. The underwater scenes, for instance, hardly surpass the photography in the similar 1951 Richard Widmark oceangoing actioner The Frogmen, let alone any number of James Bond film sequences.

Anyone in the market for some B-film Arab-bashing might find this movie tolerable entertainment. It’s otherwise destined to make its biggest impact among Charlie Sheen archivists. (R)

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