- 1 hr 45 min
Bat*21 is about the rescue attempt of a lieutenant colonel who has become trapped behind enemy lines during the final days of the Vietnam War. Lieutenant Colonel Gene Hambleton is the only survivor of the crash of an electronic warfare plane. The plane was shot down by a North Vietnamese missile as the plane was scanning a strategic area of the country in preparation of a major bombing strike. Hambleton is lost and alone, but manages to make radio contact with the pilot of a Cessna that is flying in the area. The pilot turns out to be Captain Bartholomew Clark, who becomes the key figure in getting Hambleton rescued. As the military prepares to extract Hambleton from hostile territory, the North Vietnamese learn of Hambleton's predicament and set out to capture him. It becomes a race against time for Hambleton as he tries to dodge his enemies long enough to give U.S. forces enough time to find him. Because the area he finds himself in is so secluded, Hambleton chooses to search for safer territory with help from Clark, as the two devise a series of codes that involve golf courses that both men are familiar with. The code keeps Hambleton's enemies from discovering his whereabouts and bides him more time. The rescue of Hambleton is an intense ordeal that takes several days to complete thanks to the obstacles that American forces and Hambleton must contend with from the North Vietnamese. Ultimately, the bond between Hambleton and Clark keeps both sides calm and prepared for the next step in the rescue. This is essentially a story of survival and how friendship can help anyone overcome what seems like an impossible task. The movie takes great pains to look as realistic as possible, adding to the air of danger and suspense. Through Hambleton's ordeal, the action gets more intense and dangerous, increasing the tension for the characters and audience. The movie uses its gritty locations to convey the difficulties that a military rescue truly faces. There are dozens and sometimes hundreds of people involved in the rescue of one person, but this teamwork is vital to make sure that the mission is accomplished. The movie conveys the message that going into hostile territory with guns blazing is not always the best solution. Sometimes, it takes friendship, patience and teamwork.