HTS Moderator , Reviewer
Title: Jarhead 3: The Siege
HTS Overall Score:68
Hoo Raaaa! Back in the saddle and back again for another mindless action movie based off of a much superior (and decidedly less mindless and less action filled) film. “Jarhead” wasn’t the greatest of the great war movies, but it was a well formed and crafted little drama that starred a very popular Jamie Foxx and an up and coming Jake Gyllenhaal. Then, 9 years later, we get a direct to video sequel in the form of “Jarhead 2”, a stinker of a film that is just your typical mindless action movie with the title “Jarhead” attached to it in hopes that it pulls in an audience who liked the first movie. As they always do, these direct to video films make enough of a profit to realize the potential of even MORE sequels, and guess what? Yes, you guessed it, we have a third film in the franchise, mirroring the mindless action and low budget effects that “Jarhead 2” had. It’s not AS bad as the 2nd film, but “Jarhead 3” is basically your typical mindless action flick, in the vein of something that “Steven Seagal” would do (although without Seagal’s horrible acting and lumbering old man marine caricature that he always infuses into his money making ventures he calls “a movie”).
Corporal Evan Albright (Charlie Weber) is sent to some fictional Afghani city during the present conflict to serve as an ambassadorial guard. Desperately wanting to be the lone hotshot who saves the day, Albright comes into conflict with their legendary Gunnery Sergeant Raines (Scott Adkins, who plays the quintessential invincible commando who’s seen every type of action available) due to his arrogance and desire to be the best despite the cost. While having to cool his heels under the humiliating job of basic guard duty to the U.S. embassy, Albright notices a lone man watching the embassy. Pulling the guy’s photo and running it through the database reveals that it is the face of a terrorist named Khaled (Hadrian Howard). A terrorist that was supposedly killed in a drone strike 2 months ago. Convinced that it is the same man, despite the scoffing of his superiors, Albright tries his best to warn them of a possible attack.
However, we all know what’s going to happen just by the title alone. When Khaled’s brother who has been giving the U.S. Intel on the insurgent leader is brought into the city everything just falls apart. Khaled makes his move and catches the embassy completely unaware. Trapped inside the building with Khaled’s brother and the ambassador (played by Stephen Hogan), Albright has to figure out a way to actually work WITH his team and not just play the lone cowboy. That is if he and the rest of his squad want to make it out before Khaled burns the entire complex down to get them first.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=71601[/img]I feel much the same about “Jarhead 3: The Siege” as I did about “Jarhead 2”. Much of the delicacy and heartfelt drama about wartime present in the original Jamie Foxx film is completely erased in the sequels. While they TRY to have some drama (which ends up being rather laughable at best) the rest of the movie is relegated to shooting things and watching cars blow up for about 50 minutes straight (out of a relatively short 89 minute run time). The quick cut editing of the first movie seems to be gone from this one (and hopefully from film forever as it was a horrible technique for the most part), but there’s not a whole lot of hand to hand combat scenes to really use that sort of technique. Most of the movie is spent using M4 carbines and AK variants and expending around 10 gazillion rounds of ammunition.
While the characters are nothing but war time caricatures, there is some fun to be had. There’s lots of nonstop action and the use of the M4 Carbines was actually VERY accurate (despite the fact that general issue Marine M4’s would never be using quad rails and some of the decked out scopes that EVERYONE had on their rifles vs. the normal M16 foregrips and basic iron sights with some red dots thrown in). The actors practiced good trigger control and the movie actually left the sound of the guns intact instead of making them sound like howitzer cannons for what is a glorified .22 caliber round on steroids.
I had to have a good chuckle at some of the main characters and the stereotypes. Albright is your typical “rebel who becomes the next uber decked out commando by the end of the film” and Scott Adkins plays a solid Gunnery sergeant, but one who’s hyped up to be a one man wrecking squad (and intimated ladies’ man as well). To make it worse the director seems to have checked a couple boxes off his list and included the very hot blonde who somehow can fight as good as anyone else and the smart talking side kick who makes inane one liners and tries to act as the comic relief. Then to top it off. Dennis Haysbert is listed as one of the top billing actors on the film and portrayed on the front cover, but is really in there for less than 5 minutes of accumulated screen time. Basically a glorified cameo who walks in for a few seconds, says a line and then goes back to his trailer for some coffee and sandwiches.
Rated R for violence throughout and language
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=71609[/img]The 2.35:1 scope image is a digitally shot affair that is quite pleasant to look at. As with many DTV films it sports a rather color drained look that gives the characters a rather sallow skin tone as well as a grey and dusty look to the surrounding exterior shots. The interior shots tend to look a bit more amber in color and shows off some decent colors that pop on screen. Most of the time the bleak grey and white color grading doesn’t give off many bright colors, but there are some moments like the Marine flag on the wall, or some crimson blood where you get to see some primaries. Fine detail is good, but not great, especially in the outdoor shots where the film can look incredibly sharp one moment, and then a bit soft the next. Blacks are solid, but show off a little crush here and there with the added benefit of the desaturated colors giving some scenes a lightly washed out look.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=71617[/img]The 5.1 DTS-HD MA track is a solid performer as well, giving a fairly realistic mix that doesn’t accentuate massive LFE bursts along with the gunfire or overwhelm the viewer with deep throbbing bass lines for intensity. Dialog is strong and clear, but sometimes a little under mixed, with the volume going to the special effects which causes a few lines of dialog to dip down in volume comparatively. The surrounds are used well, with gunshots and exploding concrete and stucco walls making an effective rear sound wall, and the front soundstage is awash with all sorts of action. LFE is tight and effective, but never overpowering (which seems to be something related to the budget as everything felt a little thin at times), and the track itself pleases on every front without calling attention to itself. The one thing I REALLY liked was the keeping of ACTUAL gunfire sounds. The M4 carbines sounded exactly like the 5.56 rounds that I fire off compared to sounding like a shotgun with each pull of the trigger. It’s a solid track, and one that is not too intense or not too weak at the same time. Simply put a good mix that doesn’t try to be anything fancy.
(On Blu-ray Only)
• Making "Jarhead 3: The Siege"
“Jarhead 3: The Siege” is not nearly as painful as the last of the DTV sequels, but it is still nothing to write home about. The action is ok, the acting mediocre, and the audio and video are impressive. There’s really no special features to speak of besides some previews and a making of featurette, but it does boast a supposed unrated cut. Honestly I’m not sure what was different with the unrated cut as it is IDENTICAL down to the second in terms of runtime. They both run exactly 89 minutes and 6 seconds for each cut and after A/Bing both cuts I can’t really tell WHAT is different about the two. I can’t tell if Universal made a mistake and didn’t include the second cut or whether it’s just a little bit of blood and gore added back in. Either way, at best it’s a cheap rental.
Starring: Charlie Weber, Dennis Haysbert, Scott Adkins, Tom Ainsley
Directed by: William Kaufman
Written by: Chad Law, Michael D. Weiss
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 AVC
Audio: English: DTS-HD MA 5.1, Spanish, French DTS 5.1
Runtime: 89 minutes
Blu-ray Release Date: May 7th 2016
Buy Jarhead 3: The Siege On Blu-ray at Amazon
Recommendation: Cheap Rental
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