A group of Vietnam War veterans re-unite to rescue one of their own left behind and taken prisoner by the Vietnamese. Led by his father (a retired Marine Colonel) and supported by a rich businessman whose son is also a P.O.W., the group engages in a dangerous and violent adventure trying to rescue the P.O.W.s, and at the same time, re-direct their lives.Written by
Director Ted Kotcheff once said of this film around the time of its first release: "I've always been interested in outsiders. Those who have been rejected by society have always intrigued me. The veterans in Uncommon Valor (1983) are truly forgotten men. Their journey back to Southeast Asia resolves the unanswered questions that have filled their lives ever since the war." See more »
Mr Jiang repeatedly gets Colonel Rhodes rank wrong, Calling him General Rhodes at least twice. See more »
It's taken me TEN YEARS to get that damn war out of his head!
Oh yeah? Well it looks like it's still in there strong.
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This DIRTY DOZEN reimagining sees army colonel Gene Hackman leading a crack squad of former soldiers into the steamy jungles of Laos in search of American soldiers declared missing in action a decade previously. The story template is familiar but the central theme of hunting for MIA soldiers in Vietnam is good enough to have inspired later, more popular action films like the Chuck Norris MISSING IN ACTION vehicles and the Stallone-starring RAMBO: FIRST BLOOD PART II.
Uncommon Valor is both similar to and different from those populist movies. In terms of last reel action, it more than holds its own with an explosive climax that involves storming a prisoner of war camp. However, there's much more to it as this film follows the DIRTY DOZEN mould closely, with plenty of time being taken up with recruitment and training. The characters are well drawn and there are enough decent actors around to make this a highly entertaining viewing experience. No-frills director Ted Kotcheff also handled the first Rambo outing, FIRST BLOOD, and he does another confident and assured job here.
And what a cast! One of the most interesting ensembles from the early 1980s. Hackman, as always, is the highlight of the film: tough, no-nonsense and yet filled with emotion lurking beneath that hard surface. Fred Ward (ESCAPE FROM ALCATRAZ) shows up as a soldier suffering from post-traumatic stress, while bargain-basement muscleman Reb Brown (STRIKE COMMANDO) handles some comic scenes nicely. Then there's the larger-than-life Randall 'Tex' Cobb making an impression, Tim Thomerson prior to his B-movie career with Charles Band and, last but best of all, an extremely young Patrick Swayze giving a subtle and nuanced turn as the rookie of the group. You can see why Swayze went onto bigger and better things on the strength of his performance here.
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