Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Burn Notice: The Fall of Sam Axe - Review

by Jonathan Bredemeyer

So, as we continue to wait for Blogger to find the missing post and draft content, I figured I'd post an entry that was written last week, even though Burn Notice: The Fall of Sam Axe originally aired last month. 

After the last, much anticipated season of Burn Notice, USA Networks decided to keep the Burn Notice fever alive with this USA original movie Burn Notice: The Fall Of Sam Axe.

The movie opens with a bit of comedy in the opening montage, a bit different from the feel of the show, probably due to Sam's character being the focus. Sam seems to have been involved in a mission that went south and is asked to share his side of the story.

It all started with Sam ignoring Michael's advice about an affair he had, which lands him in Columbia on short notice. Sam's mission was to track down a terrorist group that was near a clinic in the middle of nowhere. After being blown-off by the local group he had been assigned to, Sam scouts on his own and learns he's about to be betrayed by his new teammates. Sam heads to the clinic to warn the doctors there, but they basically tell him to leave. After Sam's turncoat team discovers he's gone, they move their plans up to destroy the clinic. Sam get tipped off by a female teenage thief and heads back to clear them out. At this point, it turns into an episode of Burn Notice. Sam effects rule #1: Build a bomb. "We're building a bomb, so you do the opposite of what the warning label says." The distraction succeeds and the group makes it away before their would-be killers notice.

Having nowhere to go, Sam takes the suggestion from the teenage girl to take the clinic patients to the real terrorist camp, which turns out to be a small farm. More than a little disappointed and after getting nicknamed "The Chin," he heads back to his betrayers to try and sneak a phone call to his CO to get support. On his way out, a lady doctor confronts him about keeping his word to return.

Sam does reconnect with the real bad guys and gets off his phone call. Unfortunately, they listened in on the call and force him at gun point to identify the location of the farm. The 'goat-herders' show up and save Sam (who promises not to make fun of them anymore...). After returning to the farm, Sam's new plan is to recruit the goat-herders for help and hit-up a CIA outpost for help. After a rousing, translated speech, Sam begins training the group with defensive football formations. Some brief practices and they take off in trucks to the outpost. Sam saves the group from an ambush with the very well-placed throw of a chain saw. The rag-tag group gets to the outpost to find absolutely nothing but 2 guys and some radio equipment. After calling the closest base for help, it turns out they won't send anything without seeing Sam in person first. He and the 2 CIA agents leave on a chopper promising to return. Once in the air, the agents confess they were lying, at which point Sam forces them to land at gunpoint. This doesn't go over well during the official 'inquiry.' At this point, the questioner asks Sam if he wants a lawyer and reveals they are dragging everyone involved in for questioning.

Back on the ground, Sam fires a fires rounds to inspire the CIA boys to call for help. With help three hours away, Sam, doctors, and goat herders set up to hold off Veracruz and his men. Using a landslide and the high ground, the small group starts the half hour they need to hold out for help. Sam uses the "Don't get cocky" line from Star Wars... slightly random. The goat-fighters are forced to retreat after they run out of ammo. Back at the CIA outpost, Sam picks the alias 'Chuck Finley' from a magazine cover to bullshit the person sending help into telling him an arrival time. Realizing help is too far away, Sam heads out to distract the bad guys to buy some time. After getting beat up a bunch, the bad guys don't buy his ruse and open fire on the outpost. In the best narration of the movie, Sam monologues while he watches the bullets hit the outpost: "In my experience, prayer is pretty iffy as a battle plan. But I'll also say this, if you need a miracle, there's nothing like it." The 'police' roll over the mountain top and save the day. Sam gets one last kiss from the doctor, saluted by the goat herders, and then is escorted via helicopter back to base.

That concludes his recount of the story. Back in the 'courtroom,' Sam gets threatened with a court martial and then reveals that he had the teenage girl photograph everything and head to Columbia's biggest newspaper where she knew people from previous work. Sam negotiates an honorable discharge in exchange for keeping the information secret. Under the terms, he gets a full pension, a beer, and of course, a first-class ticket to Miami...

... and the rest is redacted history...
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