We begin with four men who will show us the great pleasures of war & their apparent divine sanction. These warriors emerge alive from disasters they encounter or provoke, therefore the prospect of their deaths offers us a glimpse of the shape of immortals. Their courage & their survival go together & bring them together.
These four Army Rangers fend for themselves, following their fierce inclinations in dangerous circumstances. Maybe American kids go to Mexico for spring break, but our heroes go there for the savagery. South of the border is where the action is. Not to doubt their patriotism, but what they do best cannot be done in peaceful, civilized America. – There, men either trust each other or they do not, because it is life or it is death. Hence, BA must lose the car, because he is too possessive: His life must be his fireteam.
Hannibal has nothing to lose but his life, being a professional warrior. Among his abilities, the art of war is central. Among men, he is one of the best warriors. He offers the knowledge that war offers of human nature. He orders things & American soldiers, who obey not least because he makes sense. He discovers to them the world & their powers, because he knows men are inclined to freedom, to having their own way. Defending themselves & attacking enemies are therefore one, because they have the same cause. Now, the man who appears free from necessity appears magnificent. Hannibal, therefore, learns from necessity how to overcome it.
Face has the women to lose. His love of women runs with him, but he is not simply a lover. The woman who loves him apparently lost him because she outranked him. Love is likely no stickler for the rules… – But he is brilliant, like an Apollo or an Alcibiades: All gaze upon him admiringly, somehow unaware that he dwells with death.
Murdock, finally, loses his peace of mind. He was already halfway crazy. He suggests something about men as men: Courage & madness are not too different; in him, this amuses, but does not terrify, because he is weak. But he is an engineer, a species of scientist, & is therefore apt to create disasters men do not imagine. Courage makes him heedless of danger, not merely because he must make what he wants to make, but because he needs to invent new ways of taking things apart & putting things together. He overstates the importance of speeches; he has a slight preference for thought over action. Therefore, things keep exploding around him, which says something about science, & he keeps laughing, which says something else. Living alone would make him inhuman.
A comic view of soldiering. See it.