1980s Platoon Leader (1988)

Published on November 2nd, 2012 | by Chris


Platoon Leader (1988)

Reviewed by:
On November 2, 2012
Last modified:October 30, 2012


A cheap attempt at cashing in on the Platoon-Full Metal Jacket 1980's Vietnam movie wave. Cheap and bad.

Platoon Leader (1988)Take a thinly veiled attempt to cash in on the Platoon-induced Vietnam War movie frenzy of the 1980's, cast your lead as a Tom Berenger lookalike, throw every cliche in the book at it, and you will have made 1988's Platoon Leader, part of my Worst War Movie Challenge.

And this thing is pretty bad, I have to say.  Apologies to everyone involved in the making of this movie, but man.  The story (I think) revolves around Lt. Knight (Michael Dudikoff) as he's dumped into a forward firebase somewhere in Vietnam protecting some village from the Vietcong/NVA menace.  Because its the last one they haven't got to.  Right.

There's the usual anti-officer stuff, some more cliches, smoke some dope, go on patrol, more cliches, Knight gets blown up, taken to hospital, comes back to the same firebase (where they haven't had an LT apparently) or its been a real, real short recovery.....  I don't know, this part was a total mystery and WTF moment.  "Oh you're in the hospital because you hit a tripwire, welcome back! We like you now!" Yeah, I don't....

Then it was just some more patrols, until finally it was time for the final battle, the us-vs-them cowboys-vs-indian assault on the base.  Seems I've seen this before.  Oh yeah, in just about every other Vietnam war movie ever made.

At least they got some convincing locations and props, including use of at least one Huey.  With an infinite reserve of rockets.  I couldn't help think, though, that I'd seen these sets and locations before.  Maybe in the Tour of Duty TV series or something.  Most of it seemed very familiar.

Going to go with 1.5/5.  Can't go more, but I don't feel I can go less, because so far I've seen worse, but not a lot.  High points?  I don't remember any.  It probably didn't help matters that the only copy I could locate was a bootleg (sorry Hollywood!) of what looked like a bootleg of a 1980's era VHS tape.  Complete with wavy color lines and the whole nine yards.  (Actually was a bit of nostalgia!)  And that would be because nobody has bothered to put this to DVD yet.  Probably a good bet.  Just saying.

Link: Worst War Movies Challenge

Platoon Leader (1988) Chris

Summary: A cheap attempt at cashing in on the Platoon-Full Metal Jacket 1980's Vietnam movie wave. Cheap and bad.


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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.

2 Responses to Platoon Leader (1988)

  1. the war movie buff says:

    Agree. Sadly it does not do the source material justice. The book is one of the best Vietnam War memoirs.

  2. paul pisano says:

    i liked this movie and can’t believe it never made it to dvd. another cool war movie is a rumor of war which also failed to have a dvd release.

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