Former brat packer Rob Lowe strikes a blow for freedom and star slumming in THE FINEST HOUR, a daft but enjoyable actioner from veteran shlockmeister Menahem Golan revolving not around Desert Storm but--for budgetary reasons, no doubt--the less incendiary Desert Shield.
Lowe is known through the entire film by his last name, Hammer. He doesn't rap, but he is tough. How tough? When his commanding officer at Navy SEALS school in San Diego asks which recruits think they can whip his butt, Hammer immediately steps forward--and the commander doesn't challenge him.
Whooo! Only one guy in the SEALS school is tough enough to be Hammer's buddy, and that's sensitive, introspective Dean (Gale Hanson) who says, in voiceover, that he came to the SEALS from Annapolis to conquer his fear of water. Before the viewer is allowed to mull over what a guy with a fear of
water is doing in the Navy to begin with, we're plunged into stock footage aplenty featuring familiar Desert Storm faces from President Bush to Wolf Blitzer. And there's Hammer, right in the thick of it.
He's temporarily separated from Dean after marrying the gal of Dean's dreams, pretty marine biologist Barbara (Tracy Griffith) whose choice of the carousing, womanizing Hammer can only mean that she lost a bet. The two SEAL buddies are brought back together after emerging as the force's top
mini-sub specialists and sent to check out Iraqi development of biological warfare weapons on an island in the Strait of Hormuz. Hammer gets blown up, not once, but twice for his trouble. The second time kills him but not before he and Dean knock out the bioweapon development center. Though
Barbara was on the verge of leaving Hammer for Dean just before the fatal mission, Dean is alone at the fadeout, his ever-helpful voiceover explaining that "the death of Hammer was the death of us." Huh? Not only that, we never do learn the answer to the film's other burning question: Did Dean
conquer his fear of water?
For an action film, there's not much action in THE FINEST HOUR. Nor is there much romance or drama. However, director Shimon Dotan manages to cover up most of the time by keeping what action there is fast and frenzied. SEALS training is a blur of guys flailing in the mud and being tied up and
dropped into a water tank to teach them not to drown. Hammer marries Barbara while out on a pizza run. All the film's "war" scenes take place on a single, cheesy set that looks left over from a Jackie Chan action comedy on which, it seems, Hammer and Dean take out the entire Iraqi army without
expending too much energy or too many bullets.
Lowe, who seems to have based his mustachioed character on TV's comically blustery "Major Dad," puts forth his best acting effort to keep a straight face during such scenes as the one in which he fondles a nurse's shapely calves to elicit her breathless and instantaneous cooperation in getting
himself sprung from a military hospital. Griffith and Hansen are worth noting for keeping their dignity throughout, the former especially during not one, but two scenes in which she's dropped into water fully clothed All that and more doesn't make THE FINEST HOUR anything like a fine film, but it
is curiously entertaining. (Violence, brief nudity.)
Cast & Details See all »
- Released: 1992
- Rating: R
- Review: Former brat packer Rob Lowe strikes a blow for freedom and star slumming in THE FINEST HOUR, a daft but enjoyable actioner from veteran shlockmeister Menahem Golan revolving not around Desert Storm but--for budgetary reasons, no doubt--the less incendiary… (more)