Critic Reviews

65

Metascore

Based on 37 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com
80
Washington Post
You don't really watch the film; you survive it.
80
Gibson may get top billing, but it's Sam Elliott who steals all the scenes. As Sgt. Maj. Basil Plumley, a man who fires with his own .45 revolver rather than the standard M-16 rifles, he's full of hilariously colorful comments.
70
Newsweek
A powerful and moving experience -- once it overcomes its clunky, badly written and clichéd first act.
70
Manages to evoke a complex series of reactions. It both frustrates with its unrelenting sentimentality and impresses with the overwhelming physicality of its combat sequences. These in turn are so powerful they take on a life of their own, sending a message that is probably quite opposite to the one the filmmakers intended.
70
Salon.com
Isn't a great movie; I'd say it's barely a good one. But it's a war movie that at least acknowledges the distinction between macho and masculinity, always putting the dignity of the latter over the bluster of the former.
63
The Globe and Mail (Toronto)
If the action is graphic and immediate, other aspects of the movie are inexcusably bad.
50
The New Yorker
Yet as art this revisionist movie, grimly effective as some of it is, doesn't hold a candle to the remarkable cycle of pictures in the late seventies and the eighties which captured the discordant character of a tragic war. [11 Mar 2002, p. 92]
50
Chicago Reader
Though the questionable motives and bad planning of offscreen characters who far outrank Gibson make it difficult to take at face value one soldier's last words -- "I'm glad I could die for my country" -- some viewers will, which may be as the filmmakers intended.
38
New York Post
It's a shame that the book "We Were Soldiers Once . . . And Young" fell into the hands of writer-director Randall Wallace ("Braveheart"), a filmmaker who wouldn't recognize subtlety and understatement if they were to attack him in the street.
25
Rarely have Gibson's tears seemed more fictional than in this supposedly authentic account of a historical event that's far too tragic to merit such superficial treatment.

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