Jarhead 3: The Siege

2 out of 5

Directed by: William Kaufman

A mostly competent DTV affair that I’m sure most of us are watching because it stars Scott Adkins, I’m sure most of us are equally bemused to discover that Scott has apparently risen to such name recognition that he can be listed as the lead credit but (here’s where our most-of-us bemusement turns to disappointment) not be the main star and not really add much except for a few lines of dialogue.

Instead, main-starness goes to Albright, played by Charlie Weber, who always seems to sport a mouth-open look of ‘duh,’ not exclusive to this film.  That look, for better or worse, lends itself to some assumptions about the role which tend to hold true: Albright, a soldier assigned to embassy duty somewhere in the Middle East, has the mysterious past chip-on-his-shoulder thing, requiring the Jarhead script to have him set himself at odds with the rest of his soldier mates for being a renegade, or a cowboy, or… a badass.  Staff Sergeant Scott Adkins remonstrates him for that, meaning he also ignores Badass Albright’s warning about a pending attack.

Said attack comes to fruition not too long into the runtime, giving the film its titular siege upon the embassy thereafter.  Director William Kaufman uses a lot of shaky cam to hide a lack of budget (digital gunfire, not many visible squibs), but he does throw a lot of guys into the scenes and they’re mostly choreographed pretty well.  Scene to scene doesn’t necessarily define a real sense of space, but within a moment, you get a feel for who’s where and who’s getting shot and whatnot.  There are a couple of hand-to-hand moments that are also executed competently.

And despite an excessive amount of swears, Kaufman and scripter Michael Weiss don’t waste time on subplots or twists: they keep moving forward, they have the soldiers working together, and they keep the focus of the battle in motion.  As we go into the film’s final legs, though, it definitely starts to lose steam: characters are picked off for no reason except to isolate Albright, and he never really proves himself worthy of the film’s focus.  A tacked on ending with voiceover narration and ‘where are they now’ type shops sort of cements that, completely detached from anything else the flick offered.

Watchable, but if there weren’t no Adkins, I doubt I would’ve kept going.