If you don't like this, we can't be friends.
Absolutely the worst movie.
A Disappointing Continuation
I really wanted to like this movie. I feel terribly cynical trashing it, and that's why I'm giving it a middling 5. Actually, I'm giving it a 5 because there were some superb performances.
I was curious about this movie because it's one of the more "recent" Vietnam movies so I wanted to see if it brought anything new to the table that the classic movies did not. The movie opens with a French patrol in Vietnam in 1954, the final year of the First Indochina war. The French patrol is overrun by the Viet Minh forces and the commander order to "kill all they send, and they will stop coming". We fast forward 11 years when the United States is fighting the Vietnam War. Lieutenant Colonel Hal Moore (Mel Gibson) arrives with his family and is very dedicated to training his troops in preparation to be sent to battle. He will be leading a newly created air cavalry unit (flying troops and supplies in with helicopters) into the Ia Drang Valley. Moore only has 395 men at his disposal and soon learn that the enemy has much more men. Vastly outnumbered, will the astounding leadership qualities and stubborn determination of Moore be enough to survive the coming onslaught?Overall I enjoyed this movie, but not tremendously. The war action was very good, the acting and portrayal of the characters was decent and at times it gave me the feeling of being in the heat of the battle. But it started really slow, the first 40 minutes were not very interesting and although it did setup some story arcs, overall it could be much shorter or be made more exciting. In my opinion they tried to hard with focusing on the families of the soldiers. I understand that they wanted to show how the women left behind would react to the bad news but it didn't work for me, I think they should have stayed with the battle the whole movie. And where most classic Vietnam movies focus on the insanity of war and the dehumanization, this movie sometimes looks like a commercial to join the army. There were a bit to many "I'm glad I died for my country" moments and it lacked emotional torment of the characters. On the other hand they did a fine job showing the Vietnam troops as real people and not as nameless monsters. Overall it is a decent movie but it doesn't do anything new and doesn't hold a candle to the classic Vietnam movies like Apocalypse Now, Platoon and Full Metal Jacket.
In recent years so many films have churned out of Hollywood, with indifferent story/acting/substanceSo often these, at best mediocre, offerings get rave 10/10 reviews here. Unlike those films this film has a real story. Following Hal Moore and his Batalion as they try new tactics at the beginnings of the Vietnam war. The film doesn't glamorise war but shows the human tragedy and waste (from both sides) Good acting throughout particularly from Gibson, makes the whole thing believable. Drama on the battlefield and at home where the wives have to deal with the news of casualties. Thoroughly recommended. 8.5/10
If you have watched a lot of war movies, you'll know America has pumped out more than any nation, hence you've already had a taste of U.S. war propaganda: ie. a classic example is seen in this movie where every U.S. soldier who sticks their head up an inch is shot, EXCEPT for the commander who can strut around upright or stand stock still without even a wound. This represents American bravery, more accurately 'guts' or 'balls'. Another classic example goes as far back as the old Westerns, but it is such a well-loved cliché they use it ad infinitum - it is the scene where the enemy hurl themselves headlong into a slaughter while the Yanks hunker down and mow them down like wheat before a rainstorm. Yes, I know sometimes you have to rush a position but usually you'll soften it up first with grenades or mortars. The VC in this movie have about 5 grenades and no mortars, apparently. I like how the 1st platoon is pinned down with like 5 guys left and the VC just keep rushing in again and again - NOT throwing in a single grenade which would have finished it right there. These are just two of many examples. Good grief. I've heard of suspension of disbelief but this movie invokes suspension of total brain function. The first time I saw it I couldn't finish it. It's been a decade and I tried again today - desperate for movies here in China. Again, I couldn't cut it. Two-thirds through I pulled the pin. RIP you piece of crap. Even an old John Wayne movie is more real.
First of all, there is no denying that this is an important story that should be told. The first conflict in the Vietnam debacle is modern history at its most intense. That being said...The movie is a menagerie of complete awful. It fails on every level of filmmaking. The dialogue is farmed from the worst of John Wayne's WWII clichés. (Every word from Sam Elliot's mouth.) The directing is the worst example of film student pushiness. (The Barry Pepper photo montage.) The acting is so over the top that Al Pacino would be jealous. (Mel Gibson hamming it up in the role of Lt. Col. Hal Moore.) Even the FX are just amateur versions of Michael Bay movies. However, Greg Kinnear shines as Maj. Bruce 'Snake' Crandall, the helicopter pilot in charge of coordinating flights in and out of the "hot zone". His hubris and humanity make up for more than a few of the more exploitative and under-developed characters. There is more good and bad here. Needless flashbacks to home life. A bizarre tour inside the mind of the VC's Lt. Col. Nguyen Huu An. Tantalizing moments of sheer horror in the midst of war. Hero stories.In the end, I wanted this movie to be good. I wanted this important story to be told well but due to the incompetent directing and writing of Randall Wallace I was left feeling unsatisfied and cheated. If you want to see a remake of anything, it should probably be this movie.