Jarhead 2: Field of Fire feels like a parody of sorts initially. The opening monologue has a lot of profanity, which you wouldn’t usually hear in the kind of war movies that go to the Oscars. Given that it was released directly on VOD, it is understandable that this one wouldn’t have the seriousness or technical brilliance of Jarhead (2005), which was directed by none other than Sam Mendes, or that of any other iconic war movie like Saving Private Ryan (1998).
However, as it moves forward, the movie takes itself seriously and actually makes it a point to tell a story that has merit. The tonal shift is sort of abrupt, but there is plenty of action, and the story is quite easy to grasp. With its arrival, Jarhead 2 has received a new surge in popularity, which is understandable. I wouldn’t call it a good movie, but I also can’t deny that I enjoyed watching it. And I believe it is the same for most of you as well.
What Happens In The Film?
While the first Jarhead movie was based on the true story of sniper Anthony Swofford, the sequel is entirely fiction. Although the events of the movie resemble real-world events, the equation is quite simple here. Afghanistan has been plagued by the Taliban and their violence. The American military has taken it upon itself to keep things in balance by deploying a lot of troops and even opening a camp to run its operations. Major James and Captain Jones are the ones calling the shots at the camp, and in case you didn’t notice, these two are played by the legendary Stephen Lang and the cool-as-a-cucumber Esai Morales. Sadly, though, neither of them has much to do in the movie.
This story belongs to Corporal Chris Merrimette, who becomes a squad leader after the death of Dickson in the first scene of Jarhead 2. Completing the squad are Danielle “Danni” Allen, Corporal Kettner, Rafel Soto, Li, and new recruit Khalid, an Afghani trained by the American military. Their task is to do a supply run to another camp through Route 65, which might pose dangers. Kettner is suspicious about Khalid being a Taliban terrorist spying on them in disguise, but Merrimette dismisses Kettner and orders them to get along. After some fun banter and a game of choices where they pick between pizza and sushi, the squad faces the first real danger when they find some random things lying around on the side of the road. While Merrimette calls for aid as per protocol, Khalid goes ahead and examines things. He and Kettner have an altercation regarding disobeying orders, but Khalid does manage to defuse a bomb threat for the squad. However, the real story kicks off only after a while when they meet Navy Seal Special Ops John Fox and an Afghani woman named Anoosh.
Who Is Fox, And What Does He Want?
Fox introduces himself to the squad. His team members have been killed by the Taliban. His only mission is to get Anoosh to safety, and they are going to the village Minar where a Police Captain is going to help them. Fox pulls his rank privilege and asks the squad to get them to their destination. Merrimette has no choice but to agree as this falls under their duty. Soon after, the squad is attacked by a Taliban group and suffers massive losses as Li dies thanks to this sudden attack, and all their vehicles get destroyed as well. While Merrimette considers going back as his squad was never meant to engage in the fight, Fox tells him that Anoosh’s safety is of utmost importance and effectively convinces him to continue the mission.
What Happens To Fox?
Now on foot, the squad moves in a diamond formation, with the agenda of protecting Anoosh. Kettner is still doubtful about Khalid, but upon hearing that Khalid received his training in Virginia, he seems to have come around a little. Also, Danni reminds him that Khalid fought the Taliban alongside them. The team soon comes across more Talibans, this time launching a stealth attack. But thanks to Merrimette and Fox, the Talibans are soon taken care of, with Merrimette killing one of them with his bare hands. The sudden turn of events overwhelms Merrimette, but Fox reminds him that it’s all for survival only, and Merrimette should not think much of it. Soon after, another Taliban attack falls upon the team, and this time, Fox doesn’t manage to survive it. Just before closing his eyes forever, he makes Merrimette promise him that he will take Anoosh to Minar for further safety.
Does The Squad Manage To Get Anoosh To Safety?
Here is the important thing: Thanks to Major James and Captain Jones, we get to know that Anoosh is a human rights activist who is a guest of honor for the POTUS. That is why her safety and security automatically become the highest priority for the American military.
It has become a prestige issue for Merrimette now, understandably. And his team is loyal enough to follow him anywhere. So, the next stop for the squad is Minar, where Fox was originally going. When the group reaches Minar, they meet the police captain, who immediately promises to help them after hearing Fox’s name. But upon seeing Anoosh and confirming from Merrimette that she is not a prisoner, the captain says they have to get permission from higher authority to let Anoosh proceed with the Americans.
Merrimette asks them to hurry, as they have already endured a lot. But the Taliban attack in the middle, and after a huge gunfight that escalates to an RPG being used by the Taliban and killing Soto, the Taliban abduct Anoosh in broad daylight and leave. An angry and vengeful Merrimette decides to go after them, when Khalid tells him that he is certain that the Taliban has taken Anoosh to Mulla Nafiz, who is like the top boss. Of course, Anoosh will be stoned to death the next morning only because she went against the Sharia law of women not having permission to pursue education.
Upon reaching the place where the Taliban are holding Anoosh, Danni, Khalid, Kettner, and Merrimette carefully scan the area and eventually infiltrate during the morning prayer. Danni and Merrimette manage to rescue Anoosh and take care of Mulla Nafiz, a very one-dimensional villain who stands against everything right and preaches only terrible things. Unfortunately, Kettner and Khalid, who have now become good friends, sacrifice their lives to help the squad. Danni and Merrimette return to the camp with Anoosh unharmed.
During Jarhead 2′s ending, Merrimette returns to the US and reunites with his wife and infant daughter. Danni also reunites with her daughter. But as Merrimette narrates the final monologue, he lets us know that the ones who couldn’t make it will always be with them, indicating that the lives of Fox, Li, Soto, Kettner, and Khalid didn’t go in vain. Jarheads never really die; they live on and keep inspiring.