Being a lifelong Eastwood fan, I re-visited Heartbreak Ridge after reading that it was produced after Louis Gossett Jr. won an Oscar for An Officer and a Gentleman. In my opinion, Eastwood was at least equal to Gossett's performance, but Heartbreak Ridge garnered no Oscar attention. I wish Eastwood had made more movies like this one, something like John Wayne in Sands of Iwo Jima as a role model. Like "Iwo Jima," this is a sort-of basic training to battlefield story but with more of a back story to its protagonist. Its not a political film nor a comedy, although there many comedic moments. Mario Van Peebles adds several of them, and his pairing with Eastwood, while odd at first, works well in an opposites though strangely alike sort of way.
The love story subplot is awkward, more humorous than poignant. This is Clint Eastwood, at his gravel-voiced toughest, getting relationship advice from women's magazines. I enjoyed Marsha Mason as Aggie, Gunny Highway's ex-wife and new flame. (Figure that out) Eastwood also displays his soft hearted side with compassion toward one of his troops with family issues.
So, Gunny Highway , trying to re-claim his lost youth and saddled with military politics and ego cashes, succeeds in making "life takers and heart breakers" out of a bunch of cast-off misfits and reclaims American military superiority. Is Heartbreak Ridge clichéd? Absolutely, yes. Does that matter? No, it works great as an action/war movie and maybe even better as a hilarious commentary on the generation gap. Still looking for a reason to watch: I just like hearing the word "clusterfuck" as well.