xXx: Return of Xander Cage
The last forty minutes of the movie do come together in a pretty diverting way.
The basic idea of "Uncommon Valor" is so interesting that it's all they can do to make a routine formula movie out of it. But they do. The idea: A career colonel suspects his son is still being held as a prisoner of war in Laos, and organizes a team of his son's old Army buddies to go in and bring him out alive.
The story resembles the real-life adventures of Col. Bo Gritz, and has overtones from the scenes in "The Deer Hunter" when Robert De Niro returns to Vietnam to find Christopher Walken. It has real potential for combining action with emotion.
And the first-rate talent assembled for "Uncommon Valor" suggests the moviemakers were hoping to do just that. The director is Ted Kotcheff, who made strong male-action movies such as "North Dallas Forty" and the Sylvester Stallone Viet-vet story "First Blood." And the star is Gene Hackman, who combines heart with threat as well as any actor in the movies.
How, then, did they come up with this forced march through two hours of clichés? The movie rips off "The Dirty Dozen" and countless lesser movies, giving us three basic elements: (1) assembling of the team, (2) rehearsal and (3) the raid. Halfway through the opening scenes, we're saying the lines ahead of the actors.