Not since Frodo and Sam have two fictional friends been as close as Michael Westen and Sam Axe. Well, maybe I’m exaggerating a little bit, but you certainly can’t find a better pair of crime-fighting macho men on TV. The relationship between the Burn Notice characters (played by Jeffrey Donovan and Bruce Campbell) is one of the things that has kept the USA Network show successful throughout its first four seasons.

Of course, whether the relationship is as successful on screen as it is behind-the-scenes remains to be seen. Perhaps we’ll soon find out, as USA Network announced today that Jeffrey Donovan is directing the made-for-TV Burn Notice prequel film featuring Sam Axe.

Donovan has directed multiple episodes of Burn Notice, so he’s more than qualified to take over directing duties. The only question is whether or not a standalone Sam Axe movie will work – given that Bruce Campbell is one of the most beloved actors on the show (and in Hollywood if you ask any fanboy worth his salt). I think the answer is yes.

The plot description for the Burn Notice prequel film offers Sam Axe fans plenty to look forward to. Check it out, via the official press release, below:

“The prequel, set in late 2005, begins after a faction of Colombian rebels makes trouble for the locally stationed military platoon, with Lieutenant Commander Sam Axe (Campbell) being sent down to advise. As the mission unfolds, Sam begins to uncover the dark secrets of the area, learning the truth about sacrifice, deception, and ultimately what’s worth fighting for.”

I’ve always preferred Burn Notice episodes that focus on Sam Axe and his military prowess. It’s fun to see Bruce Campbell doing the ladykiller routine, but when it comes down to it, it’s even more fun to see him taking names and kicking ass. It should be interesting to see a prequel film delve into his military service (although I would have thought he’d be ranked higher than a Lieutenant Commander).

Not only is Michael Westen directing the movie, but Burn Notice creator Matt Nix will serve as writer and executive producer – so fans should expect to see the same level of quality we’ve come to expect from the popular show.

The two-hour Burn Notice movie will air on USA Network in Spring 2011.