[REVIEW] Saviour (1998) – ManlyMovie

[REVIEW] Saviour (1998)

Runtime: 103 Mins
Rated: R
What To Expect: Coarse war drama, politically incorrect

It’s our job here to not only cover current manly movies on the horizon but to also to root out movies that most may have missed from the past.  Saviour (1998) with Dennis Quaid is one such movie.  It’s a movie too coarse for the mainstream, so a lot probably haven’t heard about it.  Most don’t want to cover movies as politically incorrect as this, where real life and real war get re-enacted. In fact it’s surprising that Quaid was even in it.  If you can appreciate that it’s a drama first and a war movie second, it might surprise you.  If only for how brutally straight shootin’ it is…

After his wife and young son are killed in an Islamic terrorist attack near an Eastern European U.S. military base, Dennis Quaid heads to the nearest Mosque and unloads his 9mm sidearm into anything that moves.  The movie doesn’t outline the consequences of this action but the fact that he ends up in the Foreign Legion suggests that it wasn’t good.  After his stint in the Legion, Quaid uses his newly acquired skills as a sniper (although he already was a U.S. soldier in his past life) to serve as a mercenary in the Bosnian War, where the story begins in earnest.  From there Quaid encounters a woman seeking refuge, pregnant with a baby fathered by an Islamic militant who raped her.  Even though she is suicidal, Quaid opts to escort her to safety and abandon his own duties serving the Serbian army.

While this is a drama, it’s still probably one of the most brutal war movies you’re likely to see.  Even the protagonist raises eyebrows in his actions – and not just that opening scene where he massacres Muslims at prayer.  The guy is cold as ice in war too, a real departure from crap Quaid often starred in.  And it’s his finest hour, acting wise.  Quaid looks and acts like a soldier in an environ that looks and smells like a living breathing war zone.  Starvation, mutilation, executions… just a part of the scenery in this movie.  Just like it was in 1993.  Although there is no one particular villain, it’s refreshing to see a movie that somehow is able to balance that between three forces.  Quaid is protecting the woman from all three sides at one point or another – not least the Serb forces he’s being paid to fight for.

I’d place it thematically somewhere between gloomy but gripping TV serial Warriors (1999) and another war movie from 1999 that didn’t give a fuck about political correctness or Hollywood norms, When Trumpets Fade (1998) (review).  However, this movie is not for all.  It’s abstract, depressing and there is very little action in it, if none at all.  With a small budget of $10,000,000 it’s also not the most aesthetically imposing movie ever either.  Some people may find that it slows down too much in the middle as well – although it never stoops to sentimental slush.

Dennis Quaid’s best role, narrowly edging out his turn as Doc Holliday in Wyatt Earp.  Even if it’s a bit sleepy at times, it’s worth a look.