Friday, December 21, 2012

"Seal Team VI": remember what Seals did before the first Persian Gulf War; (while we wait for Bigelow film)


The 2009 film “Seal Team VI” (or "Seal Team 6") dramatizes some events with a black-ops team going into Iraq in the days right before “Desert Shield” started in 1990, after Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait. The film is worthy of mention because the Weinstein Company and National Geographic aired another film “Seal Team VI: The Raid on Osama bin Laden” Nov. 4 (reviewed on my "cf" blog that day).  But this similarly spirited film, from Screen Media and directed by Mark C. Andrews, focuses on the beginnings of the first Persian Gulf War, now sometimes forgotten, but very important in how it set up the Middle East for the following years, as well as how it affected the US military.

The film is also interesting viewing for people outside New York and LA, who have to wait until January 11 to see Kathryn Bigelow’s “Zero Dark Thirty”, already attracting a lot of controversy from Congress over the “extreme rendition” in the opening scenes.

When four Seal members (played by Jeremy Davis, Ken Gamble, Zach McGowan, and Kristoffer Garrison) go on reconnaissance, they encounter a pre-teen playing with a volleyball in the desert.  (This sequence resembles the mood of Bigelow’s “The Hurt Locker”, taking placing during the “Second Iraq War”).  Unfortunately, the kid becomes a casualty, and the Navy is not able to provide the team with the support it needs to save the kid.  Then things get really critical, with underwater medical treatment for one member.

The film has a long epilogue honoring the US military, and it mentions the idea of individual sacrifice for one’s brother, in the context of unit cohesion, a concept that we know would become divisive soon with the debate on gays in the military during the following Clinton presidency.

The official site is here  ; it requires QuickTime.

Another film for comparison is Edward Zwick’s “Courage under Fire” with Matt Damon (1996). 

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