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Joan Micklin Silver
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A pragmatic U.S. Marine observes the dehumanizing effects the Vietnam War has on his fellow Marine recruits from their brutal boot camp training to the bloody street fighting set in 1968 in Hue, Vietnam.
A dynamical mixture of an escape action drama and a melodramatic love story
I enjoyed watching the two part television series about the Colditz Castle even though I have known better escape movies such as "Papillon" or "The Shawshank Redemption" and even though the melodramatic love and treachery stories were rather predictable and some historical details had not been taken into consideration. There were also some things that I would have liked to see further developed such as the escape at the beginning of the movie, the death of the electrician and the fate of Sawyer but these things are only details.
I think that this movie got too many severe reviews on this side as the actors do some great efforts and the movie succeeds to keep the pace and attention quite high over more than three hours. I liked the fact that the plot spent some time on developing the different characters and the human conflicts which gave a philosophical and moral twist to the movie and treated topics such as desperation, drug abuse, treachery, bribery, love, dreams and freedom. The characters were authentic and diversified. The escape plans were mostly original and quite entertaining and it was good to see that an equal time was spent on the escape story and on the complex love story itself. That's why this movie was rather diversified and mixed action and drama passages with more romantic passages. I think that this dynamical mixture is one of the main factors that carried this good movie on.
In the end, if you like historical movies about the world wars or complex escape stories, you might pretty much like this film even if it is not a highlight of the genre. You will though get a well done and very entertaining movie that will make you think and learn a lot about history and life.
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