Synopsis: Iraq war veteran Mr. Wolf (John Leguizamo) leads his ex-platoon on a bank heist in this dramatic series. When the robbery goes wrong, the crew is forced to take hostages, setting the stage for a standoff with police negotiator Horst Cali (Donnie Wahlberg). Neither man is inclined to back down and both are willing to go all the way in a match of wits and guts in which the stakes keep getting higher.
Serious Jest:(White Noise) This mini-series (8 total episodes) did some things really well, and others really terribly. In the end, because of my particular background, the bad outweighed the good (but not by much). This may not be so for others who did not serve in the Marine Corps.
First, the good: The cast was awesome all-around, with John Leguizamo standing out, as usual; he is one of the few actors that still shows boundless range in this era of type-casting; this time, he played the hell out of a Marine sergeant (despite the discrepancies which I discuss below, and I don’t believe to be his fault). I have to admit that I like heist movies, but this one did a great job of showing the viewpoints of all different parties involved, including the robbers, negotiators, SWAT, brass, hostages, snipers, onlookers, sympathizers, objectors, and families. The action was constant, most of the characters were interesting, and the story was entertaining.
And now, the bad: Donnie Wahlberg’s character has a tick that was supposed to be interesting, but ultimately was douchey and distracting. Michael Kenneth Williams (“Omar” from the HBO series “The Wire”) was set up for failure–many of the real-life snipers I’ve met are a bit strange, but the director basically had this guy doing insane monologues alongside some poor random actor who wasn’t allowed to speak, making it pretty awkward and unbelievable; there were so many good actors in this series–couldn’t they have scored one more to create a good God-complex dialogue there (ala Sam Jackson & John Travolta in “Pulp Fiction”), instead? Also, some scenes were a bit hokey, to include gun battles where John Leguizamo is hip-firing accurate rounds with an assault rifle; a former Marine would be trained better than that, especially a sergeant who is the only one pulling a Rambo impression while the rest of his unit is employing proper firing techniques…
…which brings me to the worst series of offenses, which honestly downgraded my rating from 3 mugs to 2. DON’T INVOLVE THE MARINE CORPS IF YOU DON’T KNOW SH*T ABOUT THE MARINE CORPS!!! Where do I begin? For starters, while there is some debate among active and former military about whether the term “soldier” technically also applies to Marines, in practice, it is a term used for members of the Army, and modern Marines WOULD NOT call each other “soldier.” Second, every time John Leguizamo’s Marines referred to him as “Sarge,” I died a little inside–this is also a term Marines would NEVER use for their sergeant; again, that is a term used in the Army. Further, a sergeant would not usually be in charge of a whole platoon; usually, a lieutenant would lead the platoon, while in some cases a staff sergeant or higher would fill the role (and unlike the Army, the Marines do not call E-6s and above “sergeant” for short, either). Also, in the service pictures the cops had at the command center, the Marines were sporting non-regulation haircuts; all Marines have to maintain fades, so you would not see sideburns spilling out from under their covers–not only would you not catch Marines with those haircuts while still in service, but they sure as hell wouldn’t take pictures in uniform like that. I could go on and on, but the bottom line is that the directors did not do their research (so I made sure I listed them by name above), and that made an otherwise entertaining project unbearable for me.