Jarhead 3: The Siege feels like a CoD (Call of Duty) movie minus the first person shooter perspective. The third in a short trio of films that started with the 2005 “biopic” Jarhead with Jake Gyllenhaal, this one leaves the subject of sniping and Desert Storm behind, as did Jarhead 2.
Set in the American Embassy in Afghanistan Marine Corporal Evan Albright (Charlie Weber) arrives full of enthusiasm and an urge to excel. He manages to annoy Gunny Raines (Scott Adkins) and Ambassador Cahill (Stephen Hogan) as well as head of security Kraus.
The Marine is keen and observant and he spies a familiar face in the crowds outside the Embassy. Evan does not follow the chain of command and his forewarning is disregarded. The building comes under siege from a known ISIS terrorist, believed to be dead from a drone attack and it is Albright who must save the day.
Directed by William Kaufman (The Hit List, Sinners and Saints) and written by Chad Law and Michael D. Weiss Jarhead 3: The Siege is pretty straight forward and does feel a lot like video game film. (It does, in fact feel a lot like Call of Duty Modern Warfare 4 although there is no embassy in the game…)
There are no real “Hoorah” moments and overall the Marines are not doing this for the corp, it is about being overrun by the bad guy and trying to survive. The embassy staff have an obligatory “spook” in the form of Brit actress Sasha Jackson (who plays Olivia Winston).
There is one major annoyance in the film, meant as comic relief but it is so intrusive and so manufactured that it is more distracting and not amusing at all. The character of Blake (played by Dante Basco) is a pencil pushing member of the embassy staff who films everything for the “Embassy blog.”
Apart from being a nuisance, it is like Blake wandered onto the set from another film by mistake. Why the character is included in the movie is a mystery. His antics are not funny and one truly feels that Blake should have been taken out early on in the proceedings.
Another instance where the script wanders from the CoD formula is the apparent nod and wink to An Officer and a Gentleman. At one point Gunny Raines hands Albright his “marching orders” and the younger Marine tells his superior he has “no place else to go.”
For those who like action films with plenty of fire fights and terrorists being eliminated with extreme prejudice this will be a winner. There is a subplot of CIA money being the real reason there is peace in the area and a predictable ending.
It is interesting to note that the character of Olivia Watson gathers new weapons and more ammunition throughout the running firefight. No one else does however as apparently the Marine’s have a never ending supply of ammo and guns that do not need reloading.
Despite the annoyance of Blake and the inclusion of the naughty CIA Jarhead 3: The Siege is entertaining. Not in the sense of being intricate or making one think deep thoughts but in terms of action it is quite satisfying.
This is a 3.5 star film that could have stretched to 4 without the character of Blake. It is streaming on Netflix and worth watching. Be prepared to fight the urge to shoot the annoying arsehat with the video camera yourself.