Bat 21

Rated R 105 minutes

Well-acted but otherwise conventional war hokum about a rescue mission during the Vietnam war, based on William C. Anderson's novel of the same title (which is based in turn on a true incident), and scripted by Anderson and George Gordon. Gene Hackman plays a veteran pilot, Lieutenant Colonel Iceal E. Hambleton, who travels by ground while spotter pilot Captain Dennis Clark (Danny Glover) communicates overhead by radio; the friendship between the two men, who meet face-to-face only at the end, is a major part of the story. War film buffs may find this watchable; I was reminded of Hackman's comment in Night Moves that watching a Rohmer film was like watching paint dry—although in this case, it's more like watching blood coagulate. Peter Markle directed.

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