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Case Number 17838

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Seal Team

Screen Media // 2009 // 96 Minutes // Rated R
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // December 4th, 2009

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All Rise...

Judge David Johnson was demoted to the Clubbed Seals.

The Charge

An elite military task force.

Opening Statement

Hmmmm…On the cover of the DVD is some stock imagery of what appears to be soldiers circa-Vietnam. This movie takes place during Operation Desert Shield. A harbinger of impending turdness?

Facts of the Case

Seal Team VI is an elite counter-terrorism force and they've been called on to drop behind enemy lines and smack around some Iraqis on the eve of Desert Shield. Their mission: I can't quite remember, but rest assured it's wicked dangerous. It also goes horribly wrong, leaving the Seals isolated and confused in hostile territory. To make matters worse, they're about to be carpet-bombed by a relentless squadron of stock footage.

The Evidence

Yes, Seal Team isn't very good, but I'm hesitant to pile on the negativity because it's obviously a movie made with sincerity. At this point, I welcome any action film that doesn't depict the U.S. military as either barbarous maniacs or boy-like victims manipulated by the whims of malevolent white guys in Washington, DC. Seal Team is all about the boots on the ground, and the men who occupy them are treated with utmost respect.

Does that excuse shoddy moviemaking? Sigh, I suppose not. The truth is, there just isn't much worth recommending here, aside from the filmmakers' good heart. The acting is uniformly bad, with nearly ever performance reduced to neck-vein-bulging screaming and hard-to-swallow emoting. Again, these guys are trying, but it's not working and the shabby line-readings suck out nearly all the gravitas.

Another mortal wound is the action. The gunfire and whatnot isn't too bad, at times suitably violent and intense. It's just when the mayhem shifts to venues outside the backlot (or wherever the shooting and stabbing stuff was shot), anything involving ships, planes, and missiles is obviously lifted from stock footage. It's tough to stay plugged into this world, when you are consistently sprung out by what appears to be scenes from a Lockheed Martin marketing video. When the film does employ its own grand effects—the building-nuking explosion at the end for example—the corny CGI employed to transmit the pyrotechnics does no favors to the willful suspension of disbelief.

What we have is an action movie that means well, but is essentially hamstrung by underperforming special effects and amateur-hour performances.

The DVD is basic: 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen, 5.1 Dolby Surround and no extras.

Closing Statement

I'm as big a supporter of our military badasses as anyone, but Seal Team does our best and bravest no favors.

The Verdict

Guilty. Go clean the latrine, soldier.

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Scales of Justice

Video: 85
Audio: 80
Extras: 0
Acting: 60
Story: 65
Judgment: 62

Perp Profile

Studio: Screen Media
Video Formats:
• 1.85:1 Anamorphic
Audio Formats:
• Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
• English (SDH)
Running Time: 96 Minutes
Release Year: 2009
MPAA Rating: Rated R
• Action
• War

Distinguishing Marks

• None


• IMDb

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