Death Before Dishonor (1987)
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as Gunnery Sgt. Burns
as Col. Halloran
as Sgt. Manuel Ramirez
as Arab Boy
Critic Reviews for Death Before Dishonor
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Typical rah-rah, flag-waving actioner.
Audience Reviews for Death Before Dishonor
You know a "Rah Rah American" movie is going to be bad when even Chuck Norris passes on it. "Death Before Dishonor" went to TV star Fred Dryer, who shows is nearly every frame here why he never successfully transitioned to major motion pictures. His presence is less than commanding, and the scenes where he has to be tender, as when he sheds a single tear over a fallen Marine, are mostly laughable. He gets no help from his mostly unknown supporting cast, although it is fun watching sixty-five year old Brian Keith slug it out with a bunch of Middle Eastern bad guys. As far as the plot goes, it's the same old story we're used to from low budget '80's action movies. The makers set their film in the fictional country of Jamal, presumably not to offend anyone, but these terrorists are so cartoonish that it's downright offensive. They are ridiculous caricatures, and it's fairly distasteful that they are exaggerated so much to make them easy hate targets for the dumb people who thrive on films like this. It was the only feature to be directed by Terry Leonard, who was primarily a stunt person and second unit director, and it's easy to see why this new career never panned out for him. This is a dull, bland-looking picture where the action sequences consist chiefly of destroying a record number of fruit carts and mowing down an unlimited number of indiscriminate rag-headed extras. "Death Before Dishonor" is a relic of a bygone era where a one man army blows away Middle Eastern terrorists without regard for personal safety or foreign policy. I guess that would be forgivable if this was at least entertaining. This can't even manage that much.
I will admit I have a soft spot for over-the-the-top cheesy 80's, politically incorrect action films. This is why I enjoy the output of Cannon Films so damn much. Invasion U.S.A., Missing in Action 1-3, Delta Force, Commando, Rambo II & III though not "good" films get regular spin time in my DVD player. They are just so damn much fun! I went into Death Before Dishonor with this same mentality as it fits the criteria. It's from the 80's, it's cheesy, it's politically incorrect... but it's just missing one ingredient. That ingredient is "entertaining." Our film has a marine whose commander gets kidnapped by some terrorists while stationed in the middle east so going against the American ambassador's wishes and goes to rescue him. That's it. Since this is a cheesy 80's action film I didn't expect a great plot but at least make the plot interesting! This plot is just a snooze fest and it has bland characters to match it. Though I enjoy Fred Dryer in his popular role in the television show Hunter, I found him at odds as an "action hero" here. Perhaps with a better film he could have made is mark in the cheesy 80's action category but his "action hero" character here is completely uninteresting. Since the character's are uninteresting we don't care if they live or die no matter how much the music tries to make us! The score tries hard, too hard, to compensate for the lack of emotions on screen. In a sequence where one of Dryer's soldiers bites it, the music comes in so forceful to try to make the audience know it's a sad moment. The music was so obtrusive here the sequence came out more unintentionally funny than sad. The villains are also superficial and hardly seem like any threat what-so-ever. The film just comes off completely forgettable and thus lacks the fun, B-movie elements that Cannon action films were so grand at supplying. The film is a definitely B-action film but it doesn't go that extra mile to be over-the-top and fun and instead it just comes out boring and forgettable. Death Before Dishonor is a forgotten 80's action film and it deserves to remain just that. Potential viewers are recommended just to pop in The Delta Force again.
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