Michael Biehn switched branches of the fictional military after “Aliens,” first appearing as a Navy SEAL in James Cameron’s next feature, “The Abyss,” in 1989. Biehn must have liked what he saw on the special operations side of fake military life, because he appeared as team commander Lieutenant James Curran in 1990’s “Navy SEALs.” After a bachelor party for team member William “Billy” Graham (Dennis Haybert), Curran’s squad — which also consists of hot-headed Lieutenant Dale Hawkins (Charlie Sheen), corpsman James Leary (Rick Rossovich), explosives expert Homer Rexer (Cyril O’Reilly), sniper Floyd “God” Dane (Bill Paxton), and radio operator and interpreter Ramos (Paul Sanchez) — gets the call for deployment to rescue a captured helicopter crew in the Mediterranean. Curran faces greater adversity trying to keep his own team together than from the terrorists but they get the job done, despite Hawkins wanting to destroy of a stockpile of missiles they happen upon.
The team does some R&R, with a hilarious golf montage, before coming up empty in an attempt to secure the aforementioned missiles. On their next mission to rescue a CIA asset, Hawkins disobeys orders and Graham ends up getting killed. Curran blames Hawkins for Graham’s death, though Hawkins penchant for disobedience allows him to save Curran during the film’s climax.
Having worked with real like Navy SEAL operators in preparation for the film, Biehn said they’re “not really what you’d expect” in an interview with Bobbie Wygant. Having expected to meet a group of uber-patriotic guys with their chests puffed out, dripping in machismo, he said “They seemed more or less more soft-spoken and kind of quiet. They’re not muscle-y type of guys, per se. They seem to be intelligent and not overly patriotic at all. It seems to me that there’s a sense of pride in being a SEAL and that’s the most important thing to them.”