Heartbreak Ridge

"Why don't you just sit there and bleed a while, before you taste some real pain?"   - Gunnery Sgt. Highway

release year: 1986
genre: military drama/action
viewing setting: home Bluray 5/27/19 and 6/4/17 and 12/22/14 and home DVD, 7/6/12 and 2/24/09 and 1/29/05 and 10/6/02

synopsis: Aging career Marine returns to boot camp as a drill sergeant for a bunch of unmotivated young Marines, while trying to get back his ex-wife.

impressions: Good Marine action/drama. The main thrust of this movie is Sgt. Highway turning the kids into more responsible, more motivated soldiers. They don't like him at first, but he earns their respect over time. The subplot with the ex-wife is annoying at times, but it's also relevant, because we're dealing with a guy who always put the military first, and paid the price. The movie does a good job of showing the stupidity of the pencil-pushing bureaucratic officers who represent the "new breed" of soldier, who have never seen real combat and whose idea of strategy and leadership comes out of a manual. There are plenty of "crusty old Marine" moments, lots of training, and even a foray into Grenada for the final one-third of the movie.

something this movie has that no other movie has: The Swede: about 6'6" of supermuscled Marine with bad attitude.

acting: Clint Eastwood does a good job here as the set-in-his-ways Marine. He dominates the movie, but a number of others have good supporting roles. Mario Van Peebles is often annoying as a young punk Marine, but he's a good representative for the other young guys. Everett McGill is the major who suffers from the leadership shortfalls mentioned above. Marsha Mason is the ex-wife.

final word: Good military drama.

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