2000s

Published on November 13th, 2007 | by Chris

1

We Were Soldiers (2002)


Reviewed by:
Rating:
3
On November 13, 2007
Last modified:October 6, 2012

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.

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) We Were Soldiers (Widescreen Edition)
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Description

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 Information

Binding: DVD
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
Audience Rating: R (Restricted)
Brand: Paramount
Manufacturer: Paramount
Original Release Date:
Actors:
  • Mel Gibson
  • Madeleine Stowe
  • Greg Kinnear
  • Sam Elliott
  • Chris Klein

Features

  • Condition: New
  • Format: DVD
  • Widescreen; Closed-captioned; Color; THX; DVD; NTSC

Reviews

Customer reviews
Average Customer Review

15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars We owe our servicemen and women a lot. After seeing this movie...I hope you can understand this fact., May 16, 2016
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This review is from: We Were Soldiers (Widescreen Edition) (DVD)
Being a Vietnam Vet, this movie brought back memories. Mel Gibson acting was superior. No doubt he did his home-work with filming this movie. The movie has its sad moments...but when American soldiers are dying in battle...you can't help cry a little bit. However, I recommend this movie to all Vietnam Vets...and get ready to shed some crying....deep down in your soul. A lot of young/0ld men died in this movie...that was actually fought in the central highlands or S. Vietnam. Today, when you see a man or woman in U.S. military dress...please shake their hand...and thank them for serving. No one ever thanked me for serving. But, I always shake any the hand of all U.S. military persons that I see. Only those that were there...really can understand...what we went through.. God bless our men and women serving our country. You will be proud of purchasing and watching this movie...it's well worth the money!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A GREAT WAR MOVIE, January 17, 2017
By 
John F. Wehler (West Chester PA USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This is one of my very favorite movies. Mel Gibson and Sam Elliot are outstanding. Greg Kinnear shows his acting range. The action scenes are amazing and realistic. The private lives of the soldiers and their spouses are effectively revealed. Particularly effective are the devastating reactions of the wives and the ineptitude of the Army as telegrams are coldly delivered by taxi. Just enough shorts scenes are intercut to demonstrate how incompetent Army Command was in the early part of the Vietnam War. But most important to the entire story are the scenes of incredible bravery as American soldiers and their commanders fight for their lives. God bless the artillery and the inefficiency of the close ground support and the helicopter crews. Without them this battle this battle would have been a disaster.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars very good movie about the Vietnam War, May 26, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This movie is based on the book of the same title about the Battle of Ia Drang during the Vietnam War by Lt. Col. Hal Moore and Joe Galloway. It is offers a more accurate portrayal of combat in the Vietnam War as compared to the more metaphorical movies such as APOCALYPSE NOW, FULL METAL JACKET or PLATOON. WE WERE SOLDIERS concentrates on heroism and sacrifice in Vietnam as opposed to the other aspects (anti-war/demoralized troops, civilian massacres, drugs, corruption,etc.) that are explored in the other Vietnam movies.

Randall Wallace (BRAVEHEART) is the writer/director. Mel Gibson stars as Moore with co-stars Sam Elliott (ROUGH RIDERS), Greg Kinnear (AS GOOD AS IT GETS), Madeleine Stowe (12 MONKEYS), Barry Pepper (SAVING PRIVATE RYAN), Keri Russell (THE AMERICANS), Jon Hamm (MAD MEN) and Clark Gregg (IRON MAN). The ill-fated French bugler in the opening scene is Randall Wallace's son.

WE WERE SOLDIERS lacks the stunning and artistic drama of SAVING PRIVATE... Read more
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We Were Soldiers (2002) Chris

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.

3.5


User Rating: 4.8 (1 votes)


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.



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