After a series of films kindly described as bombs, Stephen Lucas has redeemed himself by writing, producing, and directing a feature that demands critical respect. The screenplay is finely honed, creating a sense of mood, character and theme that suggests the best work of director Steve Scott. And the opening scene, in which a marine recruit gets his hair shaved, may well be a conscious acknowledgement of indebtedness to the late master, who opened A Few Good Men in the same way. In addition, Tim Lowe gives the performance of his career, proving that he has talent to match his looks. His letters home capture the heart of the military tradition, and Lowe reads them in a voice-over with insight and sensitivity.
A few details sprinkled throughout the tape undercut the attempt at authenticity. The haircuts are short, but not short enough for boot camp; the boxer shorts are not the Marine Corps' standard issue; and Rod Garetto, as Sgt. Stryker, confuses the Corps with the Army. They may seem minor, but they would drive every Marine I know (and that's more than a few) into a Rambo rampage. Also Matt Windsor's British accent stands out like a sore thumb. The script acknowledges without attempting to explain this anomaly. And his sex scene with Danny Bliss lacks for obvious visual reasons.
My apologies if I sound unappreciative. The rest of the cast is good, the direction is on target, and I look forward to seeing Part II -- The Trenches.