Bat*21

Lt. Colonel Iceal Hambleton (Gene Hackman) is a respected, middle-aged strategist who has only seen the war from the air – and high in the air, too. During one reconnaissance mission, however, he’s shot down behind enemy lines for the first time. Scared and out of his element, Hambleton must rely on Captain Clark (Danny Glover), a pilot, to help him keep his composure until a rescue can happen.

Most of the scenes are of just the two leads, almost making this a two-character action play. Both men provide stellar performances, with Hackman putting a decidedly different spin on his tough-guy, in-control persona. Glover is equally aces as the tireless pilot. And just in case you think there’s going to be more talk than action in this movie, don’t fret. The Vietcong are around somewhere, and they know Hambleton’s in the vicinity. Not only does Clark have to get Hambleton out of there before good ol’ Charlie finds him, he has to get him out of there before U.S. forces carpet-bomb the entire area! Needless to say, there are bombs bursting galore. Jerry Reed, who plays Clark’s commander, also turns in a fine performance – a bit above par for Reed – and served as executive producer and composed some of the songs on the soundtrack.

Bat*21: ***

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