Published on November 13th, 2007 | by Chris1
We Were Soldiers (2002)
To be honest, I'm "on the fence" when it comes to Mel Gibson and his films. I found "The Patriot" to be a good movie, purely from a ideological standpoint, and "Braveheart", while similar in its idealism, somewhat dreary...
... and then there is We Were Soldiers. Based on a true story by Lt. Col. Hal Moore (Mel Gibson) and reporter Joe Galloway (Barry Pepper) about the first "major battle" between US and North Vietnamese forces in November of 1965. And even somewhat about the birth of the "Air Cav"...
If it wasn't for Gibson I probably could have liked this movie more than I did. If I understand correctly he tried to emulate his performance after the real Moore. While he may have pulled off a brilliant impersonation, it's just grating and somewhat annoying in that Mel-Gibson sort of way. If you know what I mean.
The movie also encapsulates in the span of two hours and change pretty much what the entire war was about. The foreign power coming in and expecting to fight a traditional war against a non-traditional enemy which they did not understand, on their own turf. Really it doesn't get much simpler than that, and it shows that even though Moore may have anticipated the NVA's nearly every move, he still wasn't able to do what he needed to do. This also despite superior air power and technology. But we could go on forever on these points, movie or no movie.
The other thing that bothered me about this picture was the way Moore was made out to be such a frickin "hero." The whole "I'll be the first on the battlefield and the last to leave" is a noble sentiment, but this is Vietnam we're talking about. Stuff like that just doesn't matter here. Except maybe to show just how dumb it is when the sh-t hits the fan. But when you're the one writing the book, I suppose these things can't be helped....
There are also more lessons to be learned here. Throwing young kids with no experience into the fight ("Look a scout! Let's take him prisoner!") which is always a war-movie contsant, and the entire sub-plot of the wives at home dealing with the loss of their husbands, sons, and fathers.
One thing also that I found odd was the setting. To me it just didn't feel like what I've come to envision when you think of Vietnam. The entire battlefield looked like your average rolling-hills US farm country, instead of the typical jungle-foliage and pointy hills you think of. Maybe that's what this part of Vietnam looks like, I don't know. Just a sticky point with me I guess.
We Were Soldiers is a compelling story though, once you get past the Mel-Gibson-ness of it, and the surroundings. If nothing else it shows just how much we should have learned early on, but didn't. I'll give it points in that respect.
We Were Soldiers (Widescreen Edition)
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Mel Gibson and Randall Wallace, the star and writer of Braveheart, reunite for this action-packed war movie that features explosive battle sequences, thrilling aerial photography and unforgettable military heroes who fought for their country, their loved ones and their freedom...
DVD InformationBinding: DVD
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
Audience Rating: R (Restricted)
Original Release Date:
- Mel Gibson
- Madeleine Stowe
- Greg Kinnear
- Sam Elliott
- Chris Klein
- Condition: New
- Format: DVD
- Widescreen; Closed-captioned; Color; THX; DVD; NTSC
Summary: We Were Soldiers is a compelling story though, once you get past the Mel-Gibson-ness of it, and the surroundings. If nothing else it shows just how much we should have learned early on, but didn't. I'll give it points in that respect.