John Haymes Newton as Lt. William Hawk
Corin Nemec as Lt. John Stryzack
Alexis Arquette as Lt. Paul Bladon
Nanette Medved as Lisa Velasquez
Alma Concepcion as Emma Salazar
Angel Aquino as Maria Salazar
Michael York as Senator Bladon
Rae Dawn Chong as Special Agent Danzig
Raymond Bagatsing as Jess Santiago
James Brolin as Ed Johnson
English, Some Tagalog with English subtitles
3 stars (out of 5)
Picture this. It is November 1992. A group of three American
SEAL's are driving their convertible sports car in the town of Olongapo, Philippines.
They are looking for night life and a good time. Countless bar girls line the street
and wave at them to get their attention. But out of no where a young Filipina girl runs into the
road and directly in front of their vehicle. The driver, Lt. Hawk (played by John Haymes Newton)
slams on the brakes and narrowly avoids running over the girl.
He instinctively jumps out of the car to see if the girl is O.K. Meanwhile, a hostile crowd of
Filipinos has gathered, some armed with clubs. His buddy in the car, Lt. Stryzack, seeing the
gathering storm, immediately reacts and pulls his pistol out to threaten the crowd.
When the crowd doesn't back off he points it up in the air and fires off a few rounds.
The crowd flees. But Lt. Hawk wonders why Stryzack has over-reacted.
This scene was the most gripping in the entire movie. Unfortunately it takes place in the first
five minutes of the movie and nothing that takes place later in the film can equal it.
"Goodbye America" tells the story of three American SEAL buddies (Lieutenants Hawk,
Stryzack, and Bladon) and their interactions with three Filipina sisters (Lisa, Emma, and
Maria). The back drop is that the three SEAL's are stationed at Subic Bay Naval Station in 1992 and the Americans
are about to pull out. This could have been a great movie. It certainly has the cast to do it.
But unfortunately a mediocre script will trump a great cast every time.
Right from the first scene with the car narrowly missing the little girl, the film sets up
the noble American (Lt. Hawk) versus the dastardly American (Lt. Stryzack).
As the film progresses the bad American is driven further and further into his own warped sense of reality.
As one could have predicted in the first five minutes of the movie, it is the job of the noble American to
vanquish the evil American. Of course, they must have their final confrontation at the end of the
movie and good must eventually triumph over evil.
But this isn't what the movie should have been about in the first place.
It should have been about how the two different cultures, Americans and Filipinos, viewed the base pull-out and why the base
was there in the first place. Along the way we get tiny glimpses of these issues, but they are a side
show to the main plot line of good Yank versus bad Yank.
The three SEAL buddies, Lieutenants Hawk, Stryzack, and Bladon have been assigned to guard the
base until its handover to the Philippines in a few weeks. To complicate matters, Lt. Bladon is the son
of a U.S. Senator who is coming to oversee the base handover. Lt. Bladon's
fiancÚ works on his father's staff and she is also coming to Subic to see him.
They are to be married in six weeks.
But Lt. Bladon (played by Alexis Arquette) has been seeing Emma (played by Alma
Concepcion). Emma is a bar girl of Olongapo. Bladon is struggling with his feelings for her and he's trying to come to
grips with whether he really loves her or not. Meanwhile, Lisa (played by Nanette Medved) is Emma's
sister and she is working on the staff of the mayor of Olongapo. She has nothing but contempt for the
Americans and can't wait for them to leave. Also, the youngest sister Maria (played by Angel
Aquino) has just arrived from the province and she hopes to get lucky and find an American boyfriend like her
sister Emma has done. Lisa tries to discourage her in this endeavor.
Of course, the three SEAL's and the three Filipinas must pair off with Lt. Bladon courting
Emma, Lt. Stryzack courting Maria, and Lt. Hawk and Lisa keeping a wary eye on one another.
The three couples decide on a boat ride in a zodiac and a beach party. But things quickly get out of hand
with Stryzack attempting to rape Maria. Hawk pulls him off of her and Lisa and Hawk take her back home.
This leaves Stryzack, Bladon, and Emma alone on the beach. This is not a good time for Emma's pimp to
show up and demand payment of $3,000 U.S. in cash. A confrontation ensues and Stryzack kills the pimp.
What to do with the body? They decide to take him out to sea in the zodiac and dump him into the
Unfortunately, the body washes ashore in a few days and the Philippines police begin an
investigation led by Jess Santiago (played by Raymond Bagatsing). They suspect U.S. Navy
involvement and this brings into the picture Agent Danzig of the Naval Investigative Service (played
by Rae Dawn Chong). Meanwhile, Stryzack approaches Bladon and tells him that Emma is a threat to both
of them if she talks. He darkly hints that he can make the problem go away forever.
This prompts a decision by Lt. Bladon. He can't stand to see Emma harmed so he decides to
marry her. Thus, she won't reveal what happened on the beach. Meanwhile, Maria has filed rape charges
against Stryzack and the Filipino police come to arrest him. Thus begins the death spiral of
Stryzack. He can't believe that the Filipinos would dare to arrest him, since being an American
he is superior in every way to them. And he can't believe that his superiors in the Navy will allow
him to sit in a Filipino jail.
As he watches the T.V. in his cell showing the arriving Senator Bladon giving a speech about
how great the base handover is, Stryzack comes to the conclusion that it is the U.S. government which
is the enemy, and he decides to go to war against them. He escapes custody in a far too easy way by
taking Agent Danzig's gun and then fleeing the police station.
The rest of the movie morphs into some version of Rambo with Stryzack mounting a one-man war
against the U.S. military in Subic Bay. There he is in combat fatigues and combat paint on his face.
He loads up on ammunition and soon various structures on base begin to blow up.
This is classic Rambo stuff with everything thrown in except the grunting of Sylvester Stallone.
At least the director spared us that.
But Stryzack focuses on Senator Bladon (played by the fine English actor Michael York).
Senator Bladon's son and Emma are to be married in the morning. It's the perfect time for Stryzack to
assassinate the Senator whom he feels has betrayed him by handing over the base to the Filipinos.
Unfortunately the assassination is bungled and Senator Bladon's son takes the bullet which was
meant for the Senator.
Stryzack grabs Lisa and heads back to the SEAL base where the final confrontation with Hawk
must happen. The logic of this move is never explained to us, but hey, it helps to have the girl
in peril to be rescued by the hero. Hawk shows up to save the day and plenty of hand-to-hand combat
ensues, not to mention all the speechifying which both the good guy and the bad guy do before the good
guy inevitably wins.
And by the end of the movie, Lisa, the girl who hated all America stood for, has fallen for Hawk.
Yeah right! How likely is that one? Well, I think you get the picture.
Like I said before, this could have been a great movie. The director had a great
cast of American and Filipino actors, but he bungled the job. I thought that the performances by the
American actors were quite amateurish. The Filipino actors do a better job but they are given little to
But the movie does have several redeeming qualities. It was shot on location in the real
Subic Bay so we get a real sense of the true beauty of the area. There are scenes of the bar life in
Subic Bay and one wonders if all that night life is still going on after the Navy is gone.
Over all, I give the movie three stars.