OVER SEVENTEEN YEARS, ALMOST AS MANY BILLION DOLLARS HAVE GONEINTO DEVISING THE BRADLEY FIGHTING VEHICLE. THERE'S ONLY ONEPROBLEM, IT DOESN'T WORK. NOW KELSEY GRAMMER AND CARY ELWES STARIN A MOVIE BASED ON THE HILARIOUS TU... more »RE STORY OF THE OUTRAGEOUSLENGTHS THE PENTAGON GOES TO DEFEND OUR COUNTRY AT ANY COST.« less
A great made-for-HBO movie with Cary Elwes and Kelsey Grammer. A comedic story of the battle for honest work vs. Washington insider favors and back-scratching. This story was about the development of the Bradley Fighting Vehicle in particular, but could be applied to many Washington endeavors (M14 v. AR-15, for example). Would be a great watch with another made-for-HBO political comedy, The Second Civil War.
A Frightening Look at the Procurement Process
John A Lee III | San Antonio, TX | 06/14/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This film would be hilarious were it not so frightening.
This film is not portrayed as a documentary Still, it purports to reflect in a semi-accurate manner the convulsions that attended the development of the Bradley fighting vehicle. Based on news reports, it contains more than a bit of truth, even if there is some dramatic license being employed.
The conflict in this film is between a conscientious officer who wants to do real testing and a pentagon general who wants to make contractors and politicians happy. It is a sad state of affairs.
The development of the Bradley had a long history before it ever reached deployment. It was plagued by cost overruns, changing specifications and failed tests. It even went through a phase where it was supposed to be aquatic. In the end, a troop carrier for 11 troops became a scout vehicle that was too prominent to do scout work, had a turret like a tank so it would attract extra fire, had aluminum armor so it would not be too heavy (or stop shells) and would only carry 6 people. The reasons for all of these travesties can be found in pork barrel politics.
This is a comedy and it is funny in its irony. That does not stop it from also being a tragedy. "
Brilliantly on target
John A Lee III | 04/11/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"It is well-known that when it comes to procurement, the Department of Defense does not usually put a priority on such incidentals as whether the item actually works. DOD history is cluttered with such gold-plated duds as the Sergeant York gun and the infamous $7600 coffeemaker. "The Pentagon Wars," a made-for-cable film originally aired on HBO, is a devastatingly satirical -- and true -- look at one such boondoggle, the Bradley Fighting Vehicle.Col. James Burton (Cary Elwes) is a by-the-books Air Force officer who is given the job of making sure the Bradley is effective and ready for use. He quickly learns that the vehicle is a Frankenstein's monster, designed by committee and unable to do any of the tasks it was meant for, but which is being built anyway. In his attempts to adequately test the vehicle, Burton is up against Gen. Partridge (Kelsey Grammer), who is determined to get the Bradley into production no matter what. After all, it has been 17 years in design, with $14 billion already spent on it. Who cares whether it works or not? Burton does, actually, and is equally determined to make sure the Bradley actually works before he signs off on it, an attitude which does not earn him plaudits from Partridge. Running interference are Col. Bock and Maj. Sayers (John C. McGinley and Tom Wright), who sabotage every one of Burton's tests with darkly hilarious results.(The buy-it-now-and-test-it-later culture is, unfortunately, alive and well in the Pentagon even today. No better illustration exists than the $50 billion -- pre-cost overruns -- National Missile Defense, now in production despite failing most tests and passing a few only under grossly rigged test conditions.)"The Pentagon Wars" is a darkly gleeful look at the government weapons procurement culture. Pick it up if you get a chance."
Jtpaladin is nuts!!!!
Emit R Detsaw | Edwards AFB, CA USA | 12/31/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Not only is The Pentagon Wars one of the funniest movies, but it has a twisted sense of how military tests programs can get when Congress and the Upper Brass try to control spending on test programs. In fact this movie is more relevant today in highlighting why our troups go into harms way without the equipment the need (lack of armor on vehicles in Iraq).
Now, I may not be a self proclaimed "military analysis" like jtpaladin, but I did spend 5 years in a military test program. While the movie takes a comedic approach, it is remarkable close to how a test program works.
I saw this movie when it first came out and thought it was a hoot! The mix of charaters and the way the movie pokes fun at the simplest items (love the sheep specs) keeps it going from start to finish. Then I went to work on the test program, and everytime we had to make a change to the item, I thought of this movie. ROFLOL!!!
I only have one complaint about this movie:
WHERE IS THE DVD RELEASE?"
A witty sendup of the dark side of U.S. weapons development.
John A Lee III | 01/21/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Unfortunately, too many of the stories of the U.S. military purchasing $500 hammers and $2,000 coffee makers are true. The bigger the weapons system, the easier it is for "chrome plating" the design to enter into the system. Neither the military nor the defense contractors benefit from streamlining the weapons development process. The more, the merrier. Trapped in this system are literally thousands of dedicated, well meaning, capable people. "The Pentagon Wars" tells the story of an earnest, dedicated career Air Force LT. Colonel who is given the dead-end assignment of certifying the white-elephant Bradley Fighting Vehicle. His best efforts are frequently thwarted by the project officers and defense contractors, but there are always courageous people who are willing to stand up with the truth. This light-hearted comedy will make you laugh and be proud of our brave military people who fight these internal wars against enemies in front and behind. I saw this recently on an in-flight movie coming back from Europe. The entire business class section sat rivited, laughing and booing at the same time. I can't remember the last time that I saw an audience so rivited by an in-flight movie. You will not be disappointed by "The Pentagon Wars.""