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Delta Force One: The Lost Patrol
(1999)
 

Director: Joseph Zito            
Cast:
Gary Daniels, Mike Norris, Bentley Mitchum


(Note: So, Dante, you think that just because you sneaked in your own review of this movie a few days before I was scheduled to put this one of mine up, that you'll scare me off? Uh-uh, buddy! Read it and weep!)

 

In my recent review of Escape To Grizzly Mountain, it gave me a chance to update the whereabouts of legendary schlock producer Menahem Golan. Upon reading it, you probably wondered about what every happened to Golan's cousin and frequent collaborator, Yoram Globus. (Okay, for the sake of giving me something to start this review with, pretend you did.) Well, if the so-called "Go-Go boys" were a rock group, Globus could be called "the quiet one", since he has never had as much chutzpah as his more prominent cousin - he has never stepped in front of the camera for a bit part, he has never tried directing, and he has been less prone to making grandiose production plans to the media. When Cannon collapsed in the late '80s, he stayed on a few years to crank out a few more direct-to-video movies, and did the same subsequently with Global Pictures. For a time he was on the MGM board, but was fired when he enacted an unsuccessful scheme to gain leadership of the company. Subsequently, he returned to Israel where he currently owns a chain of movie theaters, and where he recently formed his own production company (Frontline Entertainment), whose planned movies have that unmistakable old taste of Golan/Globus to them.

Oh yes, in the several years of his relative silence between Cannon's final death and his fresh start in Israel, Globus did one time manage to You'll be screaming for him to hit the "off" button on his remoteget everything together long enough to be able to make one movie during the doldrums - Delta Force One: The Lost Patrol. It's not surprising that Globus made a movie about the Delta Force, because it's long been a favorite topic of B movie makers who don't live in the United States. Israelis made the original two Chuck Norris Delta Force movies, (plus a third in-name only sequel directed by Sam Firstenberg), as well as the Operation Delta Force series (produced by Avi and Danny Lerner). The Italians got into the Delta Force twice with the two Delta Force Commando films. Quite a good deal of publicity for a squadron that the U.S. Government to this day does not admit actually exists! One possible reason might be that existence of the Delta Force may be denied is that, except for The Delta Force, these Delta Force movies have been incredibly painful to watch, with unexciting action as well as sub-par production values - and there are a lot of people who will freely place guilt on association with something bad, as you well know.

Even before actually watching DFO:TLP, I had an idea that this Delta Force themed movie might yet be another stinker to add to the slowly growing list. Not just because that it was produced by Yoram Globus, but by the fact that despite being snapped up by a major video label for its North American release, it took three years from that above 1999 date of completion to actually get its video release. And you'll probably be hard-pressed to find a copy - despite being released by a major video label, and that I live in one of the 15 highest populated cities in Canada, I could only find one video store in my city that bothered to stock it. Upon actually viewing the movie, I could understand why all the other video stores in my city were reluctant to pick it up. At first glance, it does appear to be a terrible movie; it was apparently made on a very tight budget, and it doesn't seem that determined to give us plentiful scenes of action (and the little action there is is not up to the usual standards us B movie aficionados expect.) Plus, the performances are, to put it mildly, inadequate. The movie could be used as further proof that John Rhys-Davis - the one professional of the cast - has the opinion that one movie of quality he appears in (like The Fellowship Of The Ring) makes up for twenty or so subsequent passionless quickie performances in garbage movies like this.

That's one way to look at Delta Force One: The Lost Patrol. But while I was watching it, I remembered that real life - including military life - is often quite different from how it is depicted in the movies. For example, the "whistle" of an incoming projectile on an actual battlefield sounds completely different from the dropping-in-pitch whistle heard in the movies. When I remembered that little piece of trivia, my perspective on the movie immediately changed. I could then see that instead of being a bad example of an action movie, it was If you appeared in too many bad movies, you too would disguise yourself like Daniels possibly instead a look at just how it really is on the battlefield, and that people actually react this way in real life in this environment. After all, even the biggest wars have never been constant shoot-ups - they have been stretches of tedium and deep planning between quick bursts of firepower. This movie is a great tool to teach viewers various aspects regarding not just things related to combat, but other things as well. True, there are some things in this movie that many viewers will be familiar with. Most viewers will already know that villainous male individuals coming from the former Soviet Union are always named "Ivan", that people twenty (or five) feet away from people fighting in a closed environment will not hear the various smacks and grunts coming from the combat, that the subsequent unconscious bodies coming from the fights will not be found, and that terrorist leaders will hold off killing captured adversaries even when the executing of their big plans is at hand.

But the movie shows us a lot more that most viewers won't already know. Take, for example, what it teaches us about the United Nations' peacekeeping force. Well, the force in this movie is actually named the International Peace Collation due to a little thing called copyright, but it's clear what this force is really representing. Anyway, we learn a great deal about the peacekeeping force, both about the people in it and the tactics and equipment they use. We learn peacekeeping is a great way for member nations to place any hotheaded and trigger-happy soldiers they have long had problems with. Patrol squadrons are apparently made up by randomly assigning soldiers, even if some of those selected have a big personal beef with someone else chosen for the patrol. Should a man or woman selected happen to be former lovers, that's okay as well, and they can feel free to have sex during their mission. Of course, someone else should be on guard duty during the time, but said guard doesn't have to bother to carry a weapon with them at the time. It's not like they are exactly well armed, by the way; even if a mission involves going into hostile territory, each soldier is given just one combat rifle and one clip to go with it. This may sound illogical, but this is explained with the statement that they have "orders not to engage."

Actually, they also take a .44 Magnum with them, one that apparently carries more than six shots in it, which comes in handy in doing some crude minesweeping, where in the middle of the night they speed across a minefield and somehow manage to shoot out a mine with just about every shot in the darkness. At least this technique is better than their other minesweeping method, which involves sending out someone on foot to walk across the field until he manages to step on a mine, stepping Mike angered his father for following the Steven Segal dietdown at just the right angle so the mine won't explode. It's a good thing these peacekeepers are so resourceful, because their home base doesn't seem that interested in giving them extra protection. Come to think of it, maybe not. It's true that these peacekeepers are made to do their patrols in old-fashioned jeeps instead of the tanks and hummers many modern armies use. And the fact they are open-aired does indeed lead to little protection against machine-gun fire coming from hostile forces that position themselves on a ridge right above the jeeps. But these jeeps do seem to be well-armored; if a projectile coming from a rocket launcher should hit the open interior of the jeep, the jeep will overturn, but it will remain remarkably intact. And should the projectile instead hit the front of the jeep, the hood covering the engine will get blown off, but the jeep will still manage to keep going.

It's also fortunate for the peacekeepers that hostile Arab forces (remember, this is a Yoram Globus movie) are exceptionally poor shots. Even if there are ten or so of them on a ridge about the height of a second story house right above peacekeeper jeeps, and that they all repeatedly fire their multi-shot rocket launchers for several minutes, the most hits they will ever make on said peacekeepers will be two. Besides illustrating their poor tactics on the battlefield (which also includes placing a man with a large two-handed machine gun on a camel's hump), the movie teaches us many different things about Arab culture. It is revealed that even in Arab countries that require women to wear a head scarf and unrevealing apparel, male Arab trackers hired by the peacekeepers will not only not object to riding with a woman, but a woman who is not dressed very conservatively. (Their possible objection might be blocked from possible confusion of the wildly differentiating uniforms the peacekeepers wear.) Mysterious and unnamed Arab leaders can somehow teach peacekeepers their names without them (or anyone else) speaking to these peacekeepers. Speaking of... well, "speaking", there are interesting things about Arab languages heard here. Arabs like to have thoughtful-sounding and profound-sounding conversations, and it would be even more interesting to listen to had there been subtitles. Subtitles aren't actually needed at times, because the Arabs (even those who are children) are prone to suddenly speaking an English sentence in a conversation, even if they are talking to another Arab.

There's a lot more to learn in Delta Force One: The Lost Patrol that fit in these, and other, categories. We get further proof that nuclear explosions always explode in one of five particular ways (and always in one of five particular settings.) We learn peacekeepers are so gutsy, that they won't radio in for assistance in a tough situation, or to report on a tough situation they just escaped out of. That peacekeepers will also let out war whoops of victory after getting out of an antsy situation that cost the lives of some of their comrades. That upon seeing Mitchum sneaks up behind one of the screenwriterspeacekeepers, Arab nomads requesting humanitarian assistance will run to them in a threatening way while brandishing weapons. That terrorists will negotiate with a corruptible government official to smuggle in a nuclear device a day before it is scheduled to arrive. That a little boy can run back and forth from the middle of the desert into civilization more than once in one day, and still on foot catch up with the peacekeepers before the day is through. That apparently a nuclear missile can be launched from the floor of a big cave precisely into a long and narrow hole in the ceiling that is barely wide enough to fit the missile in (that is, if you don't count the fins.) With the assistance of Bentley Mitchum (grandson of Robert), we learn that peacekeepers, for some reason, are prone to dyeing their hair an extremely unconvincing shade of black. And Mike Norris (son of Chuck) shows that a full head of hair isn't always hereditary.

About the only thing the movie doesn't reveal is if there is possibly anybody who'd get anything positive out of watching it. Personally, the only thing this movie gave me was enough material in order to write this week's movie review. The only other people I would ever suggest this movie to are Dante over at Dante's Inferno so he can fully illustrate the movie's incompetence depicting military forces and techniques (well, not anymore), and Ken over at Jabootu (so he can have the opportunity to further detail this movie's constant ineptness.) GentlemAn, I await your reviewX.

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See also: Behind Enemy Lines, Overkill, Trackdown

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