The story centres on a Marine court case in which Col Childers (Jackson) is charged with mass murder after a rescue operation in Yemen goes horribly wrong. He hires his old buddy (Jones) to defend him against a hot young prosecutor (Pearce, with a dodgy New Yawk accent) and a slimy government bigwig (Greenwood) who wants Childers to take the fall so the United States of America doesn't have to.
Firstly, this film would have been immeasurably more interesting if the screenwriter hadn't felt the need to include a bad guy. The moral complexities involved are fairly intriguing, and Jackson and Jones are well up to the challenge (as always) of making this more than just another courtroom drama. Yet the story has no internal logic; on second thought every plot point crumbles into dust ... and the film never actually addresses its central theme, abuse of power. That said, this is efficient, watchable filmmaking. There are a few nicely handled scenes, and just enough interest to keep us from getting bored. But avoid the temptation to engage your brain cells.
[15--themes, language, violence] 17.Apr.00
US release 31.Mar.00; UK release 26.May.00
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