Heartbreak Ridge (1986) – Review

3 1/2 Stars

The same year Oliver Stone’s Platoon took home the Best Picture Oscar, Heartbreak Ridge found box-office success as an audience crowd-pleaser. This film contains Clint Eastwood’s best performance since Dirty Harry. And he’s seemingly born to play a career, U.S. Marine. Particularly, one with such a dour disposition and colorful vocabulary.

Gunnery Sergeant Tom Highway (Clint Eastwood) is responsible for getting the unruly recruits of his recon platoon into tip-top form. But the process is met with resistance by the members of the platoon. Despite their protests and moaning Highway’s tough tactics and old-school training methods turn the group into an elite squad of killers. This serves them well when the U.S.invasion of Grenada forces them into battle.

Heartbreak Ridge climaxes with the invasion of Grenada. It a lengthy section of the film and while the action is shot cleanly, it goes on for too long. The first two-thirds of the picture centering on the training of the recon platoon is more entertaining. However, Eastwood is such a magnetic presence, and he wears this character so well that it becomes required viewing for even the casual fan.

Director: Clint Eastwood
Stars: Clint Eastwood, Everett McGill, Mario Van Peebles

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