Operation Dumbo Drop

on July 28, 1995 by Kim Williamson
   A goofball comedy about Vietnam might strike most Americans as oxymoronic, but this film has a more essential problem: Audience. Were its action sequences and grunt talk played with more realism (there is no onscreen bloodshed and limited cursing), "Operation Dumbo Drop" would be a film for adults; were its war trappings more fully removed, it'd be for children. As is, it's for no one. Like Caravan, production company Interscope has had a poor record in making movies under its Disney pact, and this isn't going to break the losing streak.
   As Green Beret officers, Ray Liotta is as gung-ho as he was, equally mired, in Savoy's "No Exit," and Danny Glover has little purpose to which to put his usual passion. The duo play characters at odds over their mission: to deliver an elephant to an American-friendly village whose residents lost their previous pachyderm to Viet Cong retribution. As they and their fellow Berets (Denis Leary, Corin Nemec and a wide-eyed Doug E. Doug) use various modes of transport to get their 8,000-pound package through 200 miles of jungle, the film takes on a "Planes, Trains & Automobiles" feel -- without the humor and heart. In their place is tedium; an elephant isn't an empathy winner, and the Berets' antics lack the verve to win any, either. In the heavy hands of director Simon Wincer ("Free Willy") and scripters Gene Quintano ("National Lampoon's Loaded Weapon 1") and Jim Kouf ("Silent Fall"), even a subplot about an elephant-loving orphan (Dinh Thien Le) trying to come to terms with his father's death has little tug.    Starring Danny Glover and Ray Liotta. Directed by Simon Wincer. Written by Gene Quin-tano and Jim Kouf. Produced by Diane Nabatoff and David Madden. A Buena Vista release. Comedy. Rated PG for war action and language. Run-ning time: 108 min.
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