Delta Force, the U.S. Army’s highly trained Special Operations unit, was recently in the news following the death of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi on October 26th. Navy Seal Team Six did the deed on Osama Bin-Laden but it was Delta Force that was responsible for ending the life of al-Baghdadi in northwest Syria. Trapped in a tunnel with his three children, he detonated an explosive device in his vest that killed him and his offspring.
The special mission was months in the planning but raises the question, what does any of this have to do with Lee Marvin? Fans of the actor and/or readers of Lee Marvin Point Blank know that it was Marvin’s final theatrical film.
A recent online article recounted the unit’s history beginning in 1977 and the cinematic re-creations since then, including Black Hawk Down (2001).
I was not previously aware of the unit’s illustrious history, nor did I include it in the book, as I consider it a career low point for the actor. He was on the money as usual, if a little tired looking. Consequently, it could have been a better project had it included some of the facts mentioned in the article. The reviews at the time were more polite than the film deserved but suffice to say, Col. Charles Beckwith’s legendary unit deserves better cinematic treatment than the Chuck Norris live-action comic book gave it.
I did of course give the film adequate mention and was fortunate to interview co-star Robert Vaughn, who had most of his screen time with Marvin. His take on the experience is well-worth the read. In the mean time, here are some choice reviews….
– Dwayne Epstein