As I spend most of my spare time trying to complete the American Film Institute’s list of 100 movies of all time I find that I am out of touch with the latest movie releases – in fact the only time I get to catch a feature that is not in black and white or Technicolor is when I’m on a plane. A few weeks back I went to Canada and to pass the time on the flight (that did not offer me any food for the whole duration, which has to be illegal) I watched ‘American Sniper’ (2014) directed by Dad’s idol Clint Eastwood
War films about recent conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan like ‘American Sniper’ and ‘Zero Dark Thirty’ (2012) don’t have the same thrill as movies made about World War Two or the Vietnam War. There is nothing more exiting watching Guerrilla warfare taking place in an exotic but terrifying jungle in films like ‘Full Metal Jacket’ (1987) and ‘Apocalypse Now’ (1979: AFI 1998 #28 2007#30) rather than a dusty and concrete setting of a modern conflict. And although there were several moments of suspense in blockbuster staring Bradley Cooper I felt underwhelmed just as I did when I watched M*A*S*H* (1970: AFI 1998 #56, 2007 #54) which takes a more humorous approach when looking at The Korean War.
To be honest I didn’t have high expectations before I viewed the movie, I remember I often got annoyed when The Paramount Channel played marathons of the TV version (1972- 1983) of the hit film when all I wanted to watch was ‘Everybody Loves Raymond’ (1996 – 2005). So I had a pretty biased view of the franchise before I got to see the full length feature which starts Donald Sutherland and Tom Skerritt as doctors Hawkeye and Duke who are stationed at an Army Surgical Hospital in Korea during US conflict.
The mischievous and womanising behaviour of the two talented surgeons brings light relief to a subject matter that is often tackled in more serious manner, but at times I thought I was watching a ‘Carry on’ Movie and I half expecting Sutherland to shout out ‘Oh Matron!’ I even saw aspects of the Police Academy movies when the two characters play childish pranks on the rival Frank Burns.
Although the movie takes a satirical approach to the Korean conflict there is a serious undertone throughout the picture; despite Hawkeye’s and Duke’s reckless and childish behaviour they are excellent surgeons who care about their wounded patients. But I feel their arrogance overshadows this and so I didn’t warm to the characters and for that reason I give the movie 2 out 5 stars