Remember Jarhead? I do, and very fondly. The movie was fantastic; it portrayed a marine sniper who was sent over to a war that moved too quickly for the slow, patient task of the long range tactical kill. The film was a case study in the mindspace of a young man itching for war, only to get war and remain unsatisfied with his experience. It was an awesome movie.
Fast forward a few years, to when Jarhead 2: Field of Fire is released direct to video. Jarhead 2 has basically nothing in common with its predecessor except for the name, and if you skip forward just a little bit more, to today, we get to delve into Jarhead 3: The Siege. This third installment in the franchise has no real connection to the first or second either. So is the name Jarhead enough to hold together a series? Or should they have left Jarhead sacred, and instead named this movie simply The Siege? Let’s dive in and see for ourselves.
The Movie (2/5)
Jarhead 3 is the second sequel bearing the name of the fondly remembered Gulf War movie from over a decade ago; it is yet again a direct to video war movie, similar to Jarhead 2. As I mentioned earlier, each film in the series is completely standalone and only ties into the series by name and genre. Based on this, you can probably guess as to what the quality of this film will be from the get go, but c’mon, who doesn’t like action schlock?
The film follows Corporal Evan Albright, the newest military guard to take up station at a US embassy in the Middle East, as he and his fellow soldiers attempt to weather a siege from a savage high-value target who desperately wants to prevent a member of his family from unveiling information about him.
The story cuts corners and feels sort of cramped, thanks to their limited budget. Most of the film takes place in the embassy halls or areas directly outside. The plot is a far cry from it’s namesake, and there are several parts where characters make ridiculous decisions or the situation just falls together so perfectly it becomes laughable. Honestly, it’s almost funny, especially when these buff marines with their perfect hair are spewing the most cliche marine quotes imaginable.
The movie definitely knows what it is and leans hard into the campy action. Throughout the movie there are countless bullets fired into walls without any damage being done, hundreds of shots missing our heroes as every bullet they fire finds its mark, and some laughable green screen.
So where does all this leave us? You have a fairly entertaining B-movie war film that has taken the name of a beloved and very serious picture. I can’t help but feel that the use of the Jarhead name was a mistake. Sure, it’ll get them recognition by their audience, but in spirit this movie is so far from the original that giving it a number and calling it a day is almost an insult to the movie we love.
I sincerely hope they stop adding numbers to these movies and drop the Jarhead moniker from any future delves they may take into this series (if you can call it that). These should be given a hilarious bad name and marketed as cheesy war-action films; at least then we can go into them not expecting greatness.
The Picture 4/5
While the picture quality of this film is really pretty good, the special effects sully the experience. With the pedigree that they are hoping to profit off of, one would expect a gritty war experience, but instead what we get here is a low budget special effects mess. Bullet rounds are fired in close quarters without any impact effects, obvious green screen additions, and one of the worst rockets I’ve seen in some time all look bad when paired with crisp, clear visual fidelity that the format brings us.
To be fair, the sets are highly detailed, and soldiers uniforms are intricate and look great. Heck, every soldier has a fantastic hair cut that doesn’t get messed up, no matter how intense the firefight.
The Sound 4.5/5
Featuring nearly an hour of intense gunfighting, the sound actually packs a punch. The gun shots are satisfying and you will really feel like you are in the middle of a fight. Death screams and the soldiers yelling commands over the gunfire just sounds great. I just wish they would say some less cliche things.
The Features & Packaging 3.5/5
Jarhead 3: The Siege comes in an amaray blu-ray case with a really nice, sturdy slipcover that has a bit of a shine to it. I’m actually quite impressed with the visual appear of the packaging. Inside are a Blu-ray and DVD copy of the film as well as a UV code for digital fans. The sleeve features art on just one side, and the discs are extremely generic, with just a blue title.
As for special features, Universal has included both the rated and unrated cuts of the film (however both appear to be the same length, so it is unclear if this is a mistake or the unrated content is simply alternate wording). There is also a short, 7 minute long HD featurette for “The Making of Jarhead 3: The Siege“.
Overall, the lack of special features is disappointing, but the slipcover is quite attractive.
The Technical Stuff
English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
Spanish DTS 5.1
French DTS 5.1
1 Region A Blu-ray
The Verdict 3/5
I have a hard time condoning the use of an unrelated movie to sell more copies of a title. If you go into this film expecting anything akin to it’s namesake, you’re just going to be disappointed. However, if you don’t mind some over the top gunfighting with almost comically bad effects, then you will probably find some entertainment here. It’s action packed and entertaining, just in that “it’s bad, so it’s good” sort of way.
You can purchase a copy of Jarhead 3: The Siege on Amazon here.
Note: This Blu-ray was sent to us for review. This has not affected our judgement or editorial process in any way. Please contact us if you have any questions regarding this process.