Hello again Empire! I wanted to try to keep a horror theme for the month of October, but this movie cannot go unanswered for. I have seen the film before but only on a slightly damaged VHS tape, and even then I fell asleep, so today was the first time I actually watched it all the way through. I was completely blown away. Next time I'll do something more Halloween themed and I'll definitely give you something special on Halloween. Lets get into it.
Chris Taylor volunteered to go to Vietnam. When he arrives, he finds that the other members of the platoon don't much care for new recruits. He quickly regrets his decision and starts feeling insecure. He quickly befriends the stoner group of the platoon, including Sargent Elias, the friendly but fierce warrior. He also finds that the commanding officer of the Platoon, Staff Sargent Barnes is an untrustworthy ruthless killer. The platoon goes on regular scouting patrols through the thick jungles, occasionally getting into firefights with the NVA forces. Chris slowly gets used to the military life as well. Eventually they come to a village, which they search thoroughly for NVA soldiers. Barnes and his followers are too cruel with the villagers and end up killing a few innocent people. This leads to a conflict between Elias and Barnes. Later on during a large encounter with the enemy, Elias is separated from the platoon. Barnes says he is going to get him and bring him back, but instead betrays him and shoots him. As the rest of them leave in the chopper, they watch as Elias, not quite dead, is chased and eventually gunned down by the NVA. As he dies, he famously raises his hands towards the leaving choppers.(see poster) Now Chris takes up the torch as the one with a grudge against Barnes. The platoon is then sent to help hold a perimeter to stop an entire NVA infantry regiment from breaking through the lines and overrunning a new landing zone. The plan was not very effective. The NVA quickly overwhelms the line. Chris, in a blind rage charges forth and kills many NVA. During this, he comes across Barnes, killing American soldiers that are trying to flee. Chris tries to stop him, but he is quickly pinned. The commander at the LZ calls in a massive air strike. The explosion from which knocked out Barnes and Chris. When Chris wakes up, he finds Barnes crawling away asking for a medic. Chris picks up a rifle and shoots him. He is then found by American reinforcements and carried on a stretcher to a waiting chopper. He's going home. Before the credits, we get a heart-wrenching speech about the horrors of the war, and how Chris and all of the others who fought in that terrible war will always be haunted by it. After that, text appears that reads: "Dedicated to those who fought and died in the Vietnam War" As you read this, I hope you all have a brief moment of silence, not only for all those who lost their lives in the war, but for those who lost their innocence and humanity.
What I Thought
Wow. Very few films produce a genuine emotional reaction from me, but this one sure as hell did. It nails the atmosphere perfectly. The movie had a massive lineup of great actors including Jonny Depp, Forest Whitaker, Willem Defoe, and Charlie Sheen as Chris. There are loads more, I just can't remember them all. One thing that I found very interesting was that the character of Chris wasn't really the main character of the film. He was never really the focus of the movie, the focus was always more on the conflict in the platoon, not to mention the people who die and the others reacting to it. The only complaint I have with the movie is that the special effects are indeed a little outdated by our standards. They were still marvels to look at though.
Great movie. 9.5/10. If you haven't seen this movie, you absolutely need to. There is no maybe about it this movie is a must see. It didn't get Oscars, Golden Globes, Emmys, and numerous academy awards and film festival awards for nothing. Go watch it as soon as possible. Next time I'll be coming at you with a horror review, so get ready for that. I'm also going to accept suggestions for my Halloween review. That's all for today though. Have a great day out there.