Always in danger of the accusation of being 'Deliverance-lite', Walter Hill's mean and moody look at the downside of macho heroics is nevertheless a brilliantly made and exciting action thriller, not afraid to have some ideas in its head. Some National Guardsmen are on routine manoeuvres in the Louisiana Bayou, and after some accidental shots are fired at Cajun locals, find themselves fighting for their lives in the swamps.
Were it not for its similarity to Boorman's film, this would seem a masterpiece, as tough character actors like Fred Ward, Powers Boothe and Keith Carradine squabble their way through various chases and standoffs deliberately modelled on Vietnam. In the end, because 'Deliverance' went into full-on nightmare, it sticks more in the mind. But few of Walter Hill's movies are dull, and this is tense and nasty, with superbly atmospheric camerawork and a typically vivid score from Hill's frequent musical collaborator Ry Cooder.
Not many features on this DVD, but it deserves a place in your collection, either as a less painful version of 'Deliverance's harsh message, or a brutally effective suspenser in its own right.