1980s The Iron Triangle (1989)

Published on August 24th, 2007 | by Chris


The Iron Triangle (1989)

Reviewed by:
On August 24, 2007
Last modified:October 8, 2012


based on the captured diary of a VC soldier, who took a US officer under his wing after said officer appeared to spare his life.

The Iron Triangle (1989)I'm really torn on this one.  1989's The Iron Triangle pits one Captain Keene (Beau Bridges) against a young VietCong fighter, Ho (Liem Whatley) in a different look at the Vietnam war.

The story is based on the captured diary of a VC soldier, who took a US officer under his wing after said officer appeared to spare his life.  OK, I can give you that.  True stories are as true stories do, and there's not much you can do to change that.

Based on that, the story really is a good one.  The moral play between Ho and his VC/NVA keepers, his VC friend, between Ho and Keene, between Keene and his ARVN compatriots, and even the short-lived French veteran of Dien Bin Phu... really are good.  You'll think about the choices and the feelings every one of them have.

But (and this is a big one) my biggest problem with this film is the tremendous anti-American bias in the movie.  In one sense this almost feels like it could be the work of North Vietnamese propaganda artists.  The US forces are portrayed as brutal thoughtless barbarians who's sole purpose is to destroy and kill.  The final battle against the village in which Ho meets his demise (well you knew his diary was captured, right?) really is executed in this fashion.

So, there's my dilemma.  Torn between a good story with fair acting and lots of moral ambiguity; and the way too obvious "baby killer" slant against the US.  The portrayal of the VC as somehow "in the right" and as taking the moral high ground just doesn't seem fair.

In short I know a lot of folks this movie would just plain piss off.  To the point of switching it off half way through and letting slip a torrent of curses that would make your hair curl.  I was nearly to that point, but I gave it a chance.  Removed from the slant and bias, this story would have garnered a much higher rating.  This despite subpar acting from the secondary cast, and a somewhat low-budget production.  But I just can't let it slide, sorry.  Five.  That's it.

Iron Triangle [VHS] Iron Triangle [VHS]
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THE WAR IN Vietnam.


About the Author

I've been watching war movies for probably 25 years now. Since December 2006 I've been sharing my habit and passion for these movies here on this site.

One Response to The Iron Triangle (1989)

  1. Michele says:

    I was curious and watched this movie. Honestly i found it less anti-american than i believed reading here, the only baby shown in the movie is actually saved by an US soldier at the beginning of the movie. And only others merciless and unmotivated killing was the one of Ho’s gf committed by the SouthViet.
    I don’t think the amount of destruction (committed by both sides) during the ending battle it’s something of irrealistic.
    But i’ve guessed that there is actually a touch of Vietnamese (or we can say Chinese/Soviet’s movie style) in the last stand of Ho at the end of the movie (basically he remained behind ALONE to block the whole US Forces, and appears to survive even a napalm bombing made just for him.

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