A prequel based off the popular series Burn Notice, highlighting Michael Westen's right hand man, Sam Axe. When the series started, all we knew was that Sam was retired and romancing Miami widows while drinking away his pension. We eventually learned that Sam's retirement was forced upon him and that the government does not look upon his military record with fondness*
When they look at all...but you'll need to watch to find out why that might be.
Actor Allusion: Sam at one point says "Very Groovy." His nickname among the Flaming Sword soldiers is "The Chin". Also, the chainsaw. He also holds up a gun in a triumphant stance, much like the "This is my boomstick!" scene.
Not to mention the scene where he throws a freakin' chainsaw.
Artistic License - Military: There are a couple of things wrong with Sam's dress uniform in the inquiry scenes. Most notably, he wears a surface warfare officer pin, as opposed to a SEAL trident as his branch insignia. Several other similar errors are made with just about anyone in uniform. Matt Nix explained that they wanted to try and get all the details right but many of those symbols are trademarked and they weren't Backed by the Pentagon.
Batman Gambit: Sam pulls one out to avoid military jail time after everything he pulled. Beatriz takes a lot of photos of the Last Stand and spreads the story to the Columbian newspapers. Because Sam's name and face was in a lot of them he used that as leverage to both get the charges dropped and full retirement benefits, as if the whole story is uncovered it would look good for Sam and bad for the military.
Big Damn Gunship: Things are looking grim for Sam near the end of the final battle until Colombian police helicopters finally show up.
Big Damn Kiss: Lampshaded, the characters even imply they are doing it out of tradition rather than having genuinely fallen for each other.
Continuity Drift: Minor example. In the pilot of Burn Notice Michael responded to Sam's name in a manner that implied a sort of "friendly with each other, but not close friends" dynamic as Michael was looking pretty deep to find anyone he could talk to (a part of the Opening Narration). This movie said that during that time period they try to get a beer together anytime they are in the same city, they were always really close friends.
A Day in the Limelight: Excepting a brief cameo from Michael near the beginning, the entire film is completely centered around Sam.
Description Cut: Sam's superiors get upset when he explains that he gave some training to a terrorist group, and Sam replies he trained them on the level of a junior high football team. We cut away to Sam actually training them like they were a football team, specifically on how to approach a target and then run away.
Dyeing For Your Art: A funny example, as Campbell lost weight and dyed his hair to portray a Sam who was at least 5 years younger, but he couldn't be in particularly excellent shape or eliminate all his grey hairs because the premise is Sam was getting too old for this.
The Exit Is That Way: A wordless version happens to Sam and his escort at the start as they get lost on the way to his court martial.
False Flag Operation: Veracruz plans to destroy a medical clinic and blame the rebels; using the attack as a justification for receiving greater US military aid.
Foregone Conclusion: We already know that Sam will survive the events of the movie, and that he will somehow get kicked out of the Navy. What's more egregious is during the debriefing, the interviewer pretty much gives away the fact that most of the characters survive.
Fun with Subtitles: Sam speaks Spanish well enough, but even he admits he speaks on the level of a third grader. Thus the subtitles for his Spanish is represented in simple or broken English "Tired. Much tired."
Highly Visible Ninja: Joked at, with Sam being given sky blue camo fatigues to walk around with in the Colombian jungle.
How We Got Here: The whole story is related by Sam as he is put into a military debriefing, using a voice over that isn't too far off the same tone that Michael uses in the show.
I Know Madden Kombat: Despite knowing actual military tactics, when training combatants to survive on the battlefield, Sam Axe teaches the tactics are heavily based on team secrets of a football team. Supposedly this helped protect him from legal charges.
It's All My Fault: Beatriz says this when she reveals that she was the one who created the Espada, leading up to the film's events.
La Résistance: The Espada are are ostensibly this, until it's subverted when Sam finds out that they're just a bunch of local farmers who were convinced by Beatriz to fight Veracruz. A lucky break gave them a key victory that convinced everyone from Veracruz to the US government that they were a mighty fighting force.
Noodle Incident: Sam and Michael briefly reminisce about working together on a mission in Poland, as well as a botched job in Kiev that got an entire wetwork team killed.
Obstructive Bureaucrat: Both the two CIA operatives found at the listening outpost, and the Admiral who sent Sam there to get him out of sight and out of mind. They balk at Sam's requests, but ultimately still take the situation seriously.
Pet the Dog: Sam specifically shows compassion to a girl the soldiers were roughing up for sneaking into camp when all she wanted was some food, and later when evacuating a clinic before the bad guys show up, he jokes with a terrified girl to get her to calm down and smile.