Special Forces (2003)

Special Forces (2003)-* * *

Directed by: Isaac Florentine

Starring: Marshall R. Teague, Tim Abell, Danny Lee Clark, Troy Mittleider, Daniella Deutscher, Eli Danker, and Scott Adkins

"They fight for your life."

Far and away the best of the American Heroes series. If the other films only followed this one's lead, the series as a whole would be a lot better. But luckily for Special Forces, it stands alone as the clear winner.

Jess (Abell), Bear (Clark), Wyatt (Mittleider), and Reyes (T.J. Rotolo) are an elite counter-terrorism team. They are under the command of Major Don Harding (Teague).  When megalomaniacal dictator Rafendek (Danker) kidnaps and imprisons American journalist Wendy Teller (Deutscher) in exchange for some of his "freedom fighters" to be released from Guantanamo Bay, the Special Forces are sent into the eastern European town of Muldonia to rescue her, and take down Rafendek and his men. Rafendek is the type of guy who massacres his own people for fun, and Wendy caught it all on film. He's also a Bosnian refugee that has a history with Maj. Harding. Not to mention the corrupt government officials in his back pocket. With the help of a British martial arts expert with motives of his own, Talbot, (Adkins) will they be able to take down this evil warlord gone rogue and save the girl - or will Harding relive his previous Bosnia experience all over again?

Special Forces is much more watchable than the others in the series, even enjoyable! The plot is clearer, the camerawork is actually interesting, and there are hand-to-hand martial arts fights that really work, thanks to Scott Adkins, a likable presence who clearly could be the next Gary Daniels. The movie really stands on its own from the series, thanks to the capable direction of Isaac Florentine. We actually know who the Special Forces are, thanks to the very simple but tide-turning idea of showing their names on the screen when we first meet them. It may seem obvious, but it makes ALL the difference. Now we know who they are, as opposed to the mess of the other American Heroes films.

The movie starts with more murders than ten movies of its kind put together, and the plot basically is these few Special Forces versus an entire army of bad guys. So needless to say there are countless deaths during the progress of the movie, and plenty of guns going "pew pew!", and the necessary guard tower falls and blow-ups, but you care more this time around. Especially with the revenge subplot involving Harding and Refendek. And with the addition of Scott Adkins, we get some well-staged hand-to-hand combat, not just mindless shooting. The final fight with Rafendek's beret-ed henchman is certainly a standout.

We also get some classic catchphrases such as "Smoking will kill ya!", and some more tastefully done patriotism this time around. There's also some good atmosphere, and everything is just more competent here than in the other films. It should have been released during the golden video store era of the 80's/early 90's, instead of being lumped with the other "American Heroes" movies.

If you watch one from the American Heroes series, make sure it's Special Forces.

Comeuppance Review by: Brett and Ty


Explosive Action said...

Wow, a Nu Image film starring Scott Adkins and directed by Isaac Florentine? It has to be awesome!

Paul Cooke aka Buckaroobanzai said...

Marshall Teague & Scott Adkins to the rescue. Couldn't agree more, Special Forces is a top Action title.
Keep the Action coming guys. A Very Happy New Year to you. Paul

Direct to Video Connoisseur said...

I'm glad to hear this is a good one, because Isaac Florentine directed it, and I wanted to see it, but these "National Heroes" movies didn't look like something I could get down on. I'll definitely have to check it out.

Ty said...

Sutekh: It is pretty awesome! it does have some good fights and the usual Nu-Image silliness!

Paul Cooke: It really is a top action title! also thanks for the compliment and Happy New Year to you too!

DTVC: If Isaac Florentine didn't direct this one, it would be mediocre and boring. Special Forces is the one to see! We definitely look forward to your opinion!