This is a movie remake of a very popular TV series from the early 1960s. While the show was set at a Navy base in the Pacific, this movie is in the fictional San Ysidro Islands in the Caribbean. Retired Lt. Cmdr. Quinton McHale (Tom Arnold) is enjoying his days in the sunny tropics by supplying the local and the sailors at the San Ysidro base with various items like homebrew, ice cream, and pin-up calenders. McHale lives on what seems to be more of a cay on his own with some farm animals, but all the locals love him, and the sailors can’t get enough of his “contraband” items. Well, things are about to change in San Ysidro, and not for the better. The pomopus Capt. Wallace B. Binghampton (Dean Stockwell) is coming to take over the base, along with his assistant, Lt. Penelope Carpenter (Debra Messing). Things are going to have to tighten up for the men at San Sid. The biggest goofballs in the U.S. Navy have been stationed here. The anal-retentive Ensign Charles Parker (David Alan Grier), ladies’ man Virgil (Bruce Campbell), electronics-hacking good ol’ boy Willie (Henry Cho), the big dumb jock Christy (Brian Haley), sly and sneaky Gruber (Danton Stone), and the biggest goofball to ever enlist, Happy (French Stewart).
While Binghampton and Carpenter have their hands full with the rejects and goofs at San Sid, McHale’s old nemesis from the Cold War days is back, and looking to make the ballpark of San Ysidro his new base of operations. Maj. Vladikov (Tim Curry), reputed the be the “2nd best terrorist in the world” is developing a new weapons system in this little islands, and, Roberto Valenzuela (Anthony Jesse Cruz) the right fielder of the Little League team that McHale coaches learns about it through taking pictures of the development of the base. McHale does some investigating of his own, after Vladikov uses his little cay as a testing area for his new bombs. Vladikov and McHale have a history, and it was because of Vladikov that Roberto’s father was killed. McHale promised Roberto’s father that he would take care of his son and family. What McHale did not know is that little Roberto is related to just about everyone in San Ysidro. After Vladikov terrorized the man town on the island during a fiesta, and destroys everything, McHale makes a call to his old commander, Cobra (the original McHale, Ernest Borgnine) about the situation, Cobra contacts Binghampton, and orders that McHale be reinstated and take command of the mission to take down Vladikov. Much to Binghampton’s disappointment, McHale request that the San Sid goofballs are to work with him. Bighampton sends Ensign Parker to spy on McHale and his men at a new temporary base where the locals are now living, too, but he gets caught up in McHale’s plans, and joins them.
Vladikov has issues with using violence to take on everything he doesn’t like. He brought his shrink, David (Scott Cleverdon), with him to take on these issues while developing the weapons. Vladikov is confident that McHale is dead after the attack on the cay and explosion of McHale’s PT boat seemed to indicate after their last encounter, but that still does not stop him from shooting his henchmen when they deliver news he does not like.
After McHale and his men break into Vladikov’s base to investigate, they end up stealing some items, including the plutonium core of a bomb that Vladikov as developing. The chase to head off Vladikov takes them to nearby Havana, where the boys end up in a barroom brawl at a local cantina after getting caught using sly gambling tactics.
There are many twisted turns in the little community if San Ysidro, and McHale is going to do whatever it takes to get rid of the threat that is coming from the 2nd best terrorist in the world. The interrupts can come from jamming a signal with a comedy club show, to protecting the men under Binghampton’s command from the pompous idiot’s own stupidity. McHale like his retirement, and wants to get back to it, but he has to deal with Vladikov first, and comes up with quick and zany ways to do so.
This is another fun movie about the military we can take lightly. Those serving on the high seas know that keeping the oceans and islands safe is no joke, but even they can appreciate a fun movie like McHale’s Navy. Those fans of the old show will like the update, and enjoy how the new players kept true to the original characters. It is a fun family film, with the exception of a few adult situations featuring fighting and gambling and… greedy men trying to take over the world, but don’t take it too seriously, because you are not supposed to. This movie did not get much advertising, so those who watched the old show might have been the big draw, but they could not have cast a better villain in Tim Curry, and Tom Arnold is pretty much fun in just about anything he does. Even though there was not much advertising done, it should have had a better draw than it did. We have seen other sleepers get overshadowed by bigger movies before. So treat yourself to McHale’s Navy during your next hurricane party, and keep enough rum on hand to make lots of Planter’s Punch.
I give this film a Musing review of