Death Before Dishonor (1987)


“And did you know your Colonel is personally responsible for pulling 52 marines off that hill? Alive. So don’t you think the Colonel deserves to have his rocks painted tops and bottoms? Good; paint the rocks.” – Gunnery Sgt. Burns

Number of Times Seen – Between 3-5 times (20 Jun 2017)

Brief Synopsis – An army Sergeant sent to a Middle Eastern country to head the Embassy security detail must deal with binding government policies of restraint when a terrorist organization begins attacking his soldiers

My Take on it – This is a film that I recall watching a few times on cable back in the late 80’s and even read the novelization of it.

Whats interesting is the fact that some of themes mentioned here are ones that people think much more about today than they did thirty years ago because the subjects back then were considered more taboo to discuss in public.

That actually makes the premise and idea of this film feel ahead of its time, which it is.

The problem tho is how poorly this story’s plot is executed that many of the scenes that should feel triumphant or even heroic feel quite silly and laughable.

Fred Dryer is a much better police detective (on TV’s Hunter) than he is as a gunnery sergeant hellbent on defending those under his careful watch and although I doubt any other actor would have been able to do a better job with this role, he just doesn’t seem right for the part.

The action is cartoonish and quite laughable on many instances but they do get the terrorism theme and actions right by showing the cruelty and apathetic way that terrorists look at the meaningfulness of the lives of other people.

Bottom Line – Was much better to watch before it was taboo to discuss these kind of incidents.  An idea ahead of its time that is poorly executed. Dryer is better as a detective in Hunter than he is as a soldier hell bent on safeguarding those under his care.  Action is mostly mediocre and laughable but there are still some very well done scenes that depict terror attacks on individuals and on installations as a whole.

MovieRob’s Favorite Trivia – The US Embassy in Beirut was bombed in April 1983, six months before the Marine Barrack, not Army barracks, were bombed. Death Before Dishonor uses these incidents in the same manner the Heartbreak Ridge used the invasion of Grenada. (From IMDB)

Rating – BAFTA Worthy

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One thought on “Death Before Dishonor (1987)

  1. Pingback: Temporal Top Ten – 1987 |

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