I have no idea what the title signifies. The story concerns a training mission in Panama for Army Rangers. Six of them are dropped off in the jungle in the middle of a raging storm, and only two of them come out, one man carrying a wounded comrade. John Travolta as an ex-Ranger is called in to interrogate them, find out what the hell happened. (He’s the old pro, so he gets to humiliate Connie Neilsen as the rookie interrogator. It’s a tried and true formula.) The head of the mission was Samuel L. Jackson, a brutal trainer that they all hated. And we’re off to the races, with one story after another, illustrated by false flashbacks. They’re doing a Rashomon deal here, sort of, uncovering lies and changing stories. The problem is that there end up being too many layers, and by the time they got to the last one, I had already given up on believing much of it.
Oh, and BTW: There is a kick-ass woman on the team, Nunez, played by Roselyn Sanchez, who is clearly modeled on Private Vasquez in Aliens. I didn’t really object, but the fact is there were no women in the Rangers in 2003, and there are no women in the Rangers today.
The film was directed by John McTiernan, best known for Die Hard and Predator, and I was surprised to learn that, as of this writing (12/11/13) he is in the slammer doing one year for offenses tied into that Hollywood scandal involving private investigator Anthony Pellicano, a scandal I hardly followed at all so I have little idea what he did … and I’m not very interested. What with all his drawn-out legal problems, he hasn’t made a movie in ten years.