The 2007 film:
- Complete Monster: Col. Isaac Johnson and Sen. Charles F. Meachum are the leaders of an oil consortium that will do anything to further its own ends. Johnson and Meachum order a US military operation to slaughter a small village of 400 people in Eritrea, so they could build a pipeline on their land. They didn't even bother asking them to move, simply killing them so the next village they target would move without question. Later, Johnson contacts former Gunnery Sergeant Bob Lee Swagger and states he needs his help to foil a plot to assassinate the President. This is a ruse; Johnson and Meachum assassinate the archbishop Ethiopia who was going to tell the President of their genocidal actions, and frame Swagger for this. Johnson tries to have one of his men kill Swagger, but he escapes; Johnson later kills this would-be assassin later to cover his tracks. An FBI agent named Agent Nick Memphis begins to piece things together and investigate the possibility that Swagger is innocent, so Johnson and Meachum send some goons to kidnap him and kill him in a way that makes it look like suicide, before Swagger saves him. Meachum and Johnson try to force Swagger out of hiding by kidnapping Sarah Fenn, the widow of his best friend who died in a mission. They have her beaten and try to use her as bait, to lure Swagger into a trap to kill him. Swagger manages to save her, Johnson and Meachum manage to escape for the time being.
- Harsher in Hindsight: The Moral Event Horizon crossing that started the plot? Truth in Television as of 2011... except it wasn't for an oil pipeline like in the movie - it was for carbon credits!
- Moral Event Horizon: Bob mentions at one point that the bad guys even shot his dog. Presumably, it was that one guy who had a problem with it earlier.
- In Point of Impact, just about everyone agrees that Colonel Shreck, RamDyne, and anyone else present lost their "we make the hard choices" credentials when they massacred a small village to make their point to El Salvadoran guerrillas.
- Aside from the dog, take your choice: The bad guys annihilate an entire African village just to make an example of what will happen if any village protests the placing of an oil duct (they didn't asked to place the pipe, were rebuked, and killed them all-they just killed them all, period), kill an archbishop that was going to present evidence of this action, and were planning to pull the same tactics on Central America before Swagger kills them all. And this is only what we see on screen.
- One-Scene Wonder: The elderly firearms expert. Not only does he fill in a lingering plot hole, but every line he says is in turns quotable, meaningful, and hilarious. Being played by Levon Helm also helps.
The 2016 series:
- Moral Event Horizon : Isaac Johnson, although he was already well on his trajectory to evil crossed a serious line when he strangled Donny's mother.