Short on water, short on ammo, and everybody in this province is gunning for us – what’s not to like … Navy Seal Specialist Fox.
Jarhead 2: Field of Fire is a 2014 movie that didn’t get a theatrical run. In the old parlance, it went straight to DVD. In the new movie speak, something like this is called non-theatrical. And Netflix has it on disc for you. This film no connection, aside from the term Jarhead, and the fact that it is about US Marines, to the 2005 Jake Gyllenhaal and Jamie Foxx actioner called Jarhead. So calling it Jarhead 2: Field of Fire seemed a shameless money grab to me.
Or more succinctly – this is a Jarhead in name only.
This film stars Cole Hauser as USN Seal Specialist Fox,
Josh Kelly as Cpl Chris Merrimette who will be promoted to Sgt., if he can survive this mission,
and Danielle Savre, as Danni Allen – the best shot in the squad.
Rounding out the squad are Bokeem Woodbine as Cpl Danny Kettner, Ronny Jhutti as Khalid, Jesse Garcia as Pvt Rafael Soto, and Jason Wong as Li. Back at the HQ, Camp Leatherneck, based deep in the Washir District of Afghanistan, is Major Gavins played by Stephen Lang. Now Lang played a bad ass marine in Cameron’s Avatar, but here he’s just a base commander. No action for him this time.
Esai Morales has a small role as well. At least, he’s in the credits, but I didn’t notice him in the film as it played.
The film opens with a black screen with a voice over that ends with Why are we fighting? Why are we dying? What’s the fucking point? From there, all it takes is a simple jump cut that takes us into a fire fight at Patrol Base Cobra in the Helmand Province. Shot with a hand-held camera, it is jittery and confusing while mostly being hard to watch.
Things do slow down as we watch a Sergeant get his leg blown off by an RPG (Rocket Propelled Grenade). I guess the point is to show how chaotic a fire fight is.
Later, back at HQ in Camp Leatherneck, Major Gavins tells Cpl. Merrimette that he’s going to be promoted to Sergeant and Squad Leader. Gavins tells him – have a shower, have some grub, get some sack time. You leave on a mission in the morning.
And what is that mission?
Two Humvees will escort to two trucks to another base – 65-75 klicks away. This is what they do – they drive in fresh ammo and supplies. As Gavins has said – driving a truck in these parts is the most dangerous job on the planet.
So off they go. They chatter, they banter as they drive through the harsh country. They could be attacked at any time, the road could be mined, and for sure this is a risky venture.
And yes – they do come under attack. Some of them do die. At this point, Cole Hauser as the Navy Seal shows up with a package. The package is a code word for a person that the Seals were sent in to extract. She is a young woman, named Anoosh, and she is a Malala Yousefzai type
– the kind of person that the Taliban wants dead, and Washington wants her alive so they can deliver her and her message of hope to the United Nations in New York in a few days.
That’s your set up.
The film is action heavy, and it looks good for the most part. But it is not what you’d call an expensively made film. Instead of Afghanistan, the film was shot in Bulgaria. The bad guys who do kill of some Americans, can be most closely described like the motorized ducks that swim by in a shooting game at a state fair. They make for easy targets.
While the blood flies and the bodies fall, the action seems tedious. And is often stupid. Like the Taliban arrive in trucks, but these ooh-rah Marines never take the trucks – not do they pick up any weapons. It seems they prefer to walk. Eventually they do reach a small mountain village where the intel has it that the Police Chief there is friendly to the American forces. And he is.
But not everyone in the village is a friendly. Soon enough, the village is awash with the enemy. The Americans suffer some casualties – and Anoosh is captured.
Cpl. Merrimette is now really under fire. He must somehow rescue Anoosh and make it back to Camp Leatherneck, so Anoosh can be flown to New York, and so Major Gavins can award him that additional Sgt. stripe.
That’s your film. Directed by B-Lister Don Michael Paul, and written by Berkeley Anderson and Ellis Black (for each this is their first feature film), Jarhead 2 runs about 102 minutes and is a passable action movie. You’ll not remember much about it after a few days, but it seemed like a film I could enjoy after watching Eastwood’s American Sniper.
I’ll rate it at three-point zero out of five, and will state that this film is watchable but not praiseworthy. Or really something that I’ll recommend. As Hauser’s Navy Seal Fox said – Today, they died. We lived.