Published on August 17th, 2014 | by Chris2
Jarhead 2: Field of Fire (2014)
The original Jarhead back in 2005 was a dull, lifeless, waste of a couple of hours. Thankfully, Jarhead 2: Field of Fire, only shares the franchise name in common. Actually, I really liked Jarhead 2, once I gave it a chance... but more on that in a minute.
Newly appointed supply squad leader Chris Merrimette (Josh Kelly: Transformers, Army Wives) finds himself in a huge pickle when they get pinned down by an ambush in Afghanistan. The ambush wasn't really meant for them, as they come across a SEAL team escorting a young woman, Anoosh (Cassie Layton). They wind up on Fox (Cole Hauser: Hart's War, Tigerland) SEAL's mission, which is to get this girl out of the country and into the base in 48 hours.
Of course things are never really that simple, as Fox and Merrimette's team finds themselves under fire in several situations along the way. The action in this movie is really what sets it apart from its namesake. We've gone from having none, to HANG ON.
In a lot of ways Jarhead 2 reminds me of those good old-fashioned war movies. It never really takes itself too seriously, but actually "gets you" for brief moments now and again. Chock-full of action, flying bullets, failure, death, redemption, heroic moments.... sure it may not be hyper-realistic, even though it gets (IMO gratuitously) graphic in a couple of moments... Not only that its chock-full of filthy-mouthed "jarhead" banter, which is always a plus in a war movie.
If you're expecting historic and technical accuracy, I doubt you'll come away pleased. I don't know, and I don't think it matters. Like I said, this movie is all about the action, and it delivers completely.
If there's a flaw, is that it takes a bit long for the action to start. We're left for quite some time wondering if this movie is going to follow in its prequel's footsteps. Lots of the aforementioned character-bonding banter, a healthy chunk of "hurry up and wait"... In hindsight it might have been necessary, but it may have drug on a bit. Just wait, it gets better, trust me. In a lot of ways, the first "act" somewhat mirrors the first Jarhead movies. Plenty of partying, booze, Marines acting like clueless kids, etc. The difference here, though, is that they're given a chance to prove that they're more then that. That's really important.
The cast may not be winning any Oscars for this one, but I'm pretty sure they're all OK with that. Everyone did what they needed to do quite well, from the "Obi-wan" archetype in SEAL team leader Fox, to the rest of the (almost required) ethnically (and gender!) diverse squad, complete with a well-meaning Afghan army companion (and all the required tension it brings.) Truthfully I never really noticed that until after the movie was done. I guess that speaks volumes in itself, doesn't it?
I'm not entirely sure the soundtrack really works with the movie, though. Definitely not the musical "feel" I would have gone with, but to each his own I suppose.
Did they complete the mission? Who lives and who dies? You think I'm going to tell you that? That's spoiling the fun, isn't it. You'll just have to watch it for yourself. I actually recommend it for a rainy Saturday afternoon.
Oh, and Stephen Lang (Avatar, Gods and Generals, The Men Who Stare at Goats) has found himself a niche as the grisly, hard-ass commanding officer with just a hint of humanity behind the scowl. I like it.
Jarhead 2: Field of Fire is already out on Digital formats like iTunes, etc. It should be on video store shelves on August 19th, in Blu Ray and DVD. I watched it on Blu Ray, and was for the most part completely satisfied with the production. A couple of low-light scenes showed lots of gain-noise, but overall I can't complain.
Here's the trailer. I don't really think this trailer does the movie justice. I'm not sure putting Cole Hauser up front and center on the cover is the right thing to do, either. The movie is really about Josh Kelly's character if its about anything at all.
(Full Disclosure: I was given a copy of Jarhead 2: Field of Fire on 2-disc Blu Ray/DVD by Universal's PR folks for review purposes.)
Summary: Under fire in Afghanistan, a Marine supply squad finds themselves in way over their head. A throwback to those great classic war movies.