John McHale left the Navy in disgust over a few things. Things like how his superiors treated him and his men. He has retired to an island paradise that is very close to the Naval base where his former crew is stationed. Making his living as a seller of merchandise ranging from beer to ice cream to calendars may not seem like much of a way to make a living, but McHale’s heart is ultimately in the right place though as he uses his earnings to support the island locals. This peace and tranquility is halted when terrorist take over the island as the home base of their operations. The lead terrorist, Vladikov, is an old acquaintance and the two are soon pitted against each other when McHale is recruited back to the Navy and charged with stopping the terrorist threat in the area.
Hollywood suckles upon itself yet again for more content bringing you this movie based on a 1960’s era television show about the mis-adventures of a Navy crew in World War II. Less than twenty years after the war it was based on may have seemed too soon to be making fun of the war but waiting thirty years after the series ran to reuse the content seems cheap. I had seen some of the original series and if you put it in the time and place it was made in it was funny. Trying to bring that same humor to a more modern time had to be a difficult task and on-screen it fell short. In the end it felt like the movie basically used the title for name recognition. The humor was somewhat of a rip of and didn’t playoff as well. The names and location seemed like the only things that carried over from the show without feeling fake. Even all the star power packed into this movie could not save it. Put in perspective of its 1997 release, the cast should have been a big draw. Tom Arnold led the cast but was completed by the likes of David Alan Grier, Dean Stockwell, Debra Messing, and Tim Curry.
With all that said, I still laughed when I watched it. The humor was funny at least to me. Maybe it didn’t hit other people the same. You have to step back and realize that the humor was trying to work in that space in between realistic and cartoonish. Do you really expect a diving suit to fill up like a balloon in real life? Reusing the McHale’s Navy name wasn’t necessary for this. It could have just as well been called “The Caribbean Cruisers”.
Go ahead and watch the movie if you Netflix. It a fairly wholesome comedy that really won’t offend people. Not sure that I’d recommend putting out money for a disc copy though.