The microbudget war movie “Come Out Fighting” is so conspicuously cheap-looking that it could be initially mistaken for one of the direct-to-video mockbusters made by the somewhat infamous indie studio The Asylum — those thrifty, semi-plagiaristic exploitation flicks like “Ardennes Fury” or “Operation Dunkirk,” which have little to recommend them besides their zany, so-bad-it’s-almost-good zeal. But while it has a blatant shoestring sheen, “Come Out Fighting” isn’t arch or irony-laden; in fact, the tone is quite serious, albeit also seriously clichéd. Between the dogfights, ambushes, minefield maneuvers and flamethrower attacks — all of them realized with cut-rate visual effects — the film is contemplative and somber, pensively reflecting on such steadfast wartime themes as determination, valor and courage among men. Perhaps needless to say, the movie features no women.
It features no surprises, either, telling a familiar story about a squad of stouthearted soldiers in World War II endeavoring to rescue their commanding officer after he is trapped behind enemy lines. The writer-director Steven Luke, who has several of these low-budget war movies under his belt now, leans hard on the conventions of the genre, and borrows heavily from “Saving Private Ryan.” His writing is thin and tends regularly toward platitudes, with characters spouting wisdom like “the cards have to fall where they fall.”
Both Luke and his cast — especially Hiram A. Murray as the indomitable Lt. Hayes and Dolph Lundgren as the experienced and kindly Major Anderson — seem gamely committed to the material, managing at times to muster a genuine sense of gravity. This impression of effort on the part of all involved makes “Come Out Fighting” strangely likable even when it’s bad. And it is often bad.
Come Out Fighting
Not rated. Running time: 1 hour 25 minutes. In theaters and available on demand.