Operation Dumbo Drop

Operation Dumbo Drop ★★★½

Quickie Review
From the director of “Lonesome Dove” and Free Willy and from the producers of Arachnophobia and Jumanji comes this implausible and formulaic but harmlessly fun Disney comedy-adventure, which is inspired by a true story, believe it or not. After a village’s beloved elephant is killed by North Vietnamese soldiers due to the villagers working with the Americans, the easygoing Army captain Sam Cahill (Danny Glover) and his hotheaded replacement Capt. TC Doyle (Ray Liotta) agree to fulfill a promise to replace the village elephant in order to keep the village to spy on the enemy. To accomplish this crazy and dangerous mission, they’ll team up with supply chief warrant officer David Poole (Denis Leary), farm boy Lawrence Farley (Corin Nemec) & cowardly short-timer Harvey Ashford (Doug E. Doug) to transport the pachyderm from South Vietnam to the village in time for a ritual ceremony and they’ll get it across dangerous territory by land, by sea and finally, by air. In the midst of it all, the crew will face transport issues, personality conflicts and a NVA squad that looks to make certain that their American adversaries don’t accomplish their mission. It’s hard to believe that this was a real-life mission but it was. It’s also hard to believe that the Mouse House can get away with making a comedy set in the middle of the Vietnam War, let alone a comedy meant for a family audience. That kind of Vietnam War movie rarely works, with the exception of Good Morning Vietnam, which was released by Disney’s general audience film division Touchstone. In the terms of tone, the switches between comedy and high stakes seriousness is a bit jarring at times and the story itself is completely implausible, even though it’s true. The film still manages to be a good deal of fun despite these issues. Operation Dumbo Drop is totally implausible in hindsight and has some issues with story and tone but it’s watchable enough to kill 104 minutes.

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