Bullet Points: Dead Men Can’t Dance
I know this make come as a surprise to some of you, but I have never been dead. God willing I will die some day after a long and enjoyable life, but right now there is still a lot I do not know about what I will be able or not be able to do when I am dead. That is where action movies come into play and they have really changed my life view on death. A couple of weeks ago I was pondering me as a dead man. I was so naive thinking I would have been dead and loving it. I would be scaring people with a sheet on, floating through walls and going to a dead man’s party. Who could ask for more? Then my dreams turned into a nightmare when I watched the 1997 film Dead Men Can’t Dance. I understood that I when I passed I wouldn’t have been able to tell any tales, but to not be able to cut a rug was just too much. Luckily the film entertained me enough to put my afterlife plans on hold. Your attitude about Matt Spector’s afterlife might be ‘so what.’ So what? So let’s dance!
- Salsa – Army Captain Victoria Elliot (Kathleen York) excels in her assignment with the CIA in Korea. She works with a crack team consisting of her love interest Robert Hart (Michael Biehn, Navy SEALS) and funny but deadly Shooter (Adrian Paul, AE: Apocalypse Earth.) Shooter gets his name because he is a sniper with a smiley face tattoo on his trigger finger named Mr. Smiley. (Mr. Smiley also has an older larger brother, if you know what I mean.) When an operation goes south and some North Koreans get away with nuclear material, Elliot is intent on following up to stop the nuclear proliferation. Enter CIA station head Pullman Fowler (R. Lee Ermey, Chain of Command.) Fowler wants North Korea to have nukes because it will give American someone to fear/hate instead of focusing the hate inward. Fowler has York removed from the CIA duty and about to be shipped to Fort Jackson before Brig. Gen. Burke (Grace Zabriskie) hand picks Elliot to be part of her unique intergender Ranger team in the DMZ.
- Lambada – Elliot joins the Ranger training, and you know what that means, training montage! There are a couple of solid training montages that show the hardships and bonding between the potential Rangers. Of course, we are forced to deal with the lackluster side stories of sexism and racism. Most of the training looks like something a real life Ranger would laugh at, especially trying to believe that Joel McKinnon Miller’s overweight character Bearclaw would complete the training. However, the worst training exercise/scene was watching the class piss and crap their pants but it was followed by a female group shower scene so it was worth the discomfort. We also get the classic summer camp hijinks of the boys, in the case Hart and Shooter, sneaking into the girls room so Hart can get a little “alone” time with Elliot. Shooter uses clips of Dirty Dancing to distract the security guard. Get it… dancing!
- Breakin’ – After graduation from Ranger school, Elliot leads the team into a routine mission in the DMZ that, surprise surprise, doesn’t turn out so routine. Members of her squad are lost and the team happens to rescue Hart, Shooter and the rest of the CIA operatives trying to shut down the North Koreans. It is at this point where Dead Men Can’t Dance changed from a semi action/drama/comedy coming of age film, to a full fledge balls to the wall action film. While it might be a little predictable, surprise surprise, everyone in the CIA is not who they seem and, surprise surprise, and some of the Rangers make the ultimate sacrifice. Once the movie made the turn to non-stop action, it doesn’t matter that you have seen similar characters because you won’t have time to be upset.
There needs to be a warning before you watch Dead Men Can’t Dance. If you are the type of person who can’t look past inaccuracies regarding the U.S. Army when it comes to uniforms, weapons and practices then don’t watch. The producers took a few liberties and as long as you have something call suspension of disbelief you might also be entertained. If you can ignore these mistakes and enjoy strong female characters in positions normally dominated by men, Dead Men Can’t Dance will be right up your alley. It never hurts to have experienced action stars like Michael Biehn and Adrian Paul to boost the acting level. Hurry up and see Dead Men Can’t Dance before you die because you won’t be able to dance with enjoyment after you are dead. Unless you are a woman…
Bonus Bullet Points
- Best Quote – “Dead men can’t dance.” Hey, that is the same as the title Dead Men Can’t Dance!
- Scary Movie – With a name like Dead Men Can’t Dance, the movie wisely uses some horror veterans: notably Denis Forest from Friday the 13th: The Series aka Friday’s Curse; Kelly Jo Minter from A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child; and Shawnee Smith from the Saw franchise.
- Dead Men Can’t Dance features living people, namely the characters in the movie, celebrating and dancing at a Korean watering hole after graduation. We are treated(?) to a singing performance by Kelly Jo Minter. I didn’t know she was so talented(?).