|Marta & John Riley|
For problems, there isn't all too much to gripe about. The only script issues that are obvious deal with character motivations. From what is known, John Riley is somewhat a mystery but only after the Mexican-American war ended. There are documents of his existence but there isn't a clear answer as to what he did post-war. Did he marry for real? In this feature, Marta is Riley's love interest as is she to Cortina. The passion that Riley has for Marta is a constant subplot that is brought up every half-hour or so. Yet Cortina repetitively reminds Riley to stay away, but Riley doesn't listen. Soon, Riley and Cortina fight and immediately right after; it's water under the bridge for some odd reason. What was all the antagonizing for if it was going to be settled so quickly? Was it even worth writing in? The only other dilemma in this movie is more technical and that's the depiction of war. This film was Orion Pictures last release and many of the studio's films were rated R (as was this one). Still there seems to be almost no blood or gore.
That particular aspect was probably the most inaccurate component. War is not light and fluffy stuff. There are a couple scenes where blood does flow but it’s rated R. Gettysburg (1993) also should have been R but it was PG so the depiction of violence was much less gruesome and that's only appropriate because of its rating. Why give a movie the label of rated R if won't even play out as an R rated film? It's misleading. The cast to the film was also entertaining. Hearing Tom Berenger with an Irish accent is definitely a change in his usual speech pattern and it does sound authentic, as well as the soldiers played by Stuart Graham, Gregg Fitzgerald, Don Wycherley, Wolf Muser and Luke Hayden. Each actor equally matches Berenger in amiability. Daniela Romo as Marta is very pretty and it is obvious as to why Riley falls for her so quickly. Joaquim de Almeida is always fun to watch but in his role as Cortina, it’s hard to know how trustworthy he is. Mark Moses performance as Colonel Lacy is another great show. Moses knows how to have a presence.
It has some weird character motivations and underwhelming violence for an R rated war film, however it is an immersive film. The story provides a new history lesson to those unfamiliar of the Mexican-American war, the actors perform great, and the cinematography is befitting to the setting as well as the film score.
Points Earned --> 7:10