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We Were Soldiers

We Were Soldiers is a movie about the Vietnam War, but instead of being yet another movie on that subject, it takes another perspective on the whole war, that of the normal grunt-soldier and their officers. Australian born actor Mel Gibson stars as Lieutenant Colonel Hal Moore in this unforgetable war movie. Lt. Col. Moore gets the task to set up, train and command a so called “air-cavalary” regiment of some 400 men to ultimatly lead them to war.

After an initial halfhour of getting to know the main characters, the regiment is led to battle in the Ia Drang Valley which American forces later on renamed: The Valley of Death. It depicts the first full head-to-head encounter between the American Forces and the regular North Vietnamese Army. The American soldiers unexpectedly find themselves surrounded by some 2000 highly organised and trained soldiers. The ensuing battle becomes one of the most savage in the whole of the Vietnam War with both sides losing a lot of men.

The battle took place during 4 days and 3 nights and is depicted masterfully by director Wallace. If you can filtre out the annoying and obvious american patriotic elements, the movie will keep you glued to your seat as the tensionfactor is very very high!

We Were Soldiers is based upon a true story, I read “We Were Soldiers once… and young” and I can guarantee you that director and screenplaywriter Randall Wallace kept very close to the original book. The acting is not the best you’ve seen but one character (and actor) that stands out above the rest is the character played by Sam Elliott – Sgt. Maj. Basil Plumley.

Sound and Vision:
The image quality of the DVD is quite simply superb, even the fast-paced scenes were as crispy clear as they should be. As far as sound is concerned, you will hear the bullets flying around your head as if you were really there. Turn up your soundlevel a notch and enjoy the chopperides. Surroundsystems and subwoofers surely pay off !

Extras:
There are a lot of extras on this limited edition United Kingdom DVD release. For starters there’s the feature length commentary from director Randall Wallace. Furthermore there are the typical TV & Radio spots and the theatrical trailer. But what makes this DVD special are the 10 deleted scenes WITH optional commentary and the making-of documentary titled “Getting it Right”. In this documentary you get to know the real people/soldiers behind the book and how they contributed to the historical correctness of We Were Soldiers.

Conclusion:
“We Were Soldiers” is not the best Vietnam movie out there, but what makes this title worth owning is the way the director depicts an aweful event in history. He keeps you glued to your seat for more than 2 hours. If you can look beyond the obvious American patriotic elements, you’ll see a gruesome warstory through the eyes of normal men… and it turn you into a pacifist or at least a moderate man 🙂

Our Score:
7.0

posted in: DVD, Paramount, Reviews
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