Under the Radar

'American Renegades' - SEALs on the Hunt for Nazi Gold

"American Renegades" (Lionsgate)

"American Renegades" takes us back to the '90s, when a Navy SEAL team raises a ruckus and blows its cover on a secret mission in Sarajevo. They make the extraction (they're SEALs, dammit), but the whole world knows that something happened and they get put on ice.

While on R&R in Bosnia, they learn the tale of Nazi gold that may or may not be hidden in a lake created when the resistance blew up a dam at the end of World War II.

French writer/producer/director/studio head Luc Besson is the hyperactive mind who directed "The Fifth Element" and "Lucy" and came up with the ideas for the "Taken" and "Transporter" series. "American Renegades" plays like the kind of story that 11-year-olds high on pizza and soda would come up with during a sleepover. How do you shoehorn SEALs into a World War II story? Luc's got your solution!

The movie features Oscar-winner (and Farmers Insurance commercial star) J.K. Simmons doing an excellent R. Lee Ermey imitation as the SEALs' commanding officer. He rants and raves and winks at their insubordination. These are the least disciplined SEALs in Navy history, doing WHATEVER IT TAKES to get the job done. They're not the tip of the spear, they're rogue operators on a mission.

A prologue shows German troops moving fine art and gold bars out of Paris as they retreat after D-Day. They decide to hide the booty in Yugoslavia, but that plan goes awry when the village is flooded. Even though the Nazis slaughtered most of the town, a small boy survives and keeps the Legend of the Nazi Gold alive.

His granddaughter enlists the SEALs to concoct a gold extraction, and they devise a fantastical plan to retrieve the treasure. Are there complications? Do they succeed? The answer isn't hard to guess. It's not a complicated movie.

If the idea of a SEALs/Nazi gold combo, gets your attention, "American Renegades" gets the job done. If you're concerned that SEALs are portrayed only accurately and honorably, this movie is sure to make you foam at the mouth.

Either way, it's kind of fun.

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