On patrol in the South Seas, British Type-23 frigate HMS Monarch receives a distress call from the merchant vessel Corona, which has been carrying gold bullion and is under attack from pirates. Responding to the call, the Captain and crew of HMS Monarch find themselves drawn into a struggle against the megalomaniac ambitions of a despotic warlord. With the lives of hostages at stake, the crew HMS Monarch races against the clock to save them... and themselves.
'Command Approved' is the central feature of the tourist attraction 'Action Stations' at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard. The film centers around the adventures of a Royal Navy Type 23 frigate on patrol in nondescript tropical waters, and covers its entanglement with a banana republic warlord and his pirates.
As part of what is effectively a navy-funded and centered theme park, the producers presumably had a bit of a balancing act in making this film; attempting to make a good film, a realistic portrayal of Britain's modern Royal Navy and a suitable recruitment tool at the same time.
This is one of the reasons why it does not quite pull off what it sets out to achieve; in general everything is okay, such as the filmography. Everything is well shot, although in fairness it can't be hard to make a Type 23 frigate look good. It also bats with the big boys in terms of the amount of stuff that gets blown up; its full of gratuitous explosions which certainly appeals to the average bloke in the street.
But problems emerge when it tries to meet its three criteria all at once. There's a cringe-worthy moment where the Captain (Jo Dow) slams his fist down and in his best Gene Hackman voice growls "I need air support!", and in the middle of a major crisis the cook offers the Executive Officer (Chris Larkin, from the Royal Navy's other favourite movie, Master and Commander) a chip butty. The former is presumably to give an insight into how the navy likes to fight its wars, the latter to show the ratings (enlisted men) are all jolly fun chaps, yo ho ho what a life it is on the sea.
They may have done better to spend more time ensuring that the plot was realistic rather than the naval portrayal; at one point characters run across a rickety bridge under close fire from about twelve others - and not one of them is injured. Similarly, the method used to get the hostages off the island is rather too convenient.
But I find it difficult to dislike Command Approved, really. It restores a bit of faith in the image of the Royal Navy and the footage of the frigate storming through the sea to sort out the bad guys and the Marines shooting the hell out of the pirates - all to the thumping soundtrack - are pretty sexy. You can let it off for being a bit corny because, well, the guys up on the screen are pretty close portrayals of the guys you know and love who really are serving at sea. There's none of the unrealistic, Hollywood heroism here. No Steven Seagals or Arnie Schwartzneggers. No one person is the hero-with-a-hard-bitten-attitude, but, like in real life aboard warships, everybody is working as a team to pull off the result and everybody is at the end of the day, pretty normal.
That is missing from many movies (except, ironically, Master and Commander). And thats why you secretly like Command Approved. Its like watching your buddy in the navy at work.
All right, Captain, you can have your air support. 646f9e108c
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