A young officer, just out of West Point is sent to Vietnam, where the men don't respect him until he gets wounded and returns to be a wiser soldier and a better commanderA young officer, just out of West Point is sent to Vietnam, where the men don't respect him until he gets wounded and returns to be a wiser soldier and a better commanderA young officer, just out of West Point is sent to Vietnam, where the men don't respect him until he gets wounded and returns to be a wiser soldier and a better commander
"There's been enough killing for one day".
After making his directorial debut with his brother Chuck Norris with "Braddock: Missing in Action III" (1988), his follow-up would be another Vietnam War feature with Cannon productions starring Michael Dudikoff. The man with the poker face. All jokes aside. Norris' presentation might feel like a poor man's version of Stone's "Platoon", but it turned out to be a very solid nitty gritty portrayal of a war that was hard for the soldiers to come to grips with (nothing but pure propaganda). The performances are acceptably creditable (Robert F Lyons, Michael DeLorenzo, Brian Libby and William Smith chew it up in a major role) and a convincing Dudikoff actually brought across some emotional weight to the part. The script really does illustrate the dramas along with the horror in some arresting scenes ("What do you say to a girl with her arm shot off?") --- especially the transformation of Dudikoff's character throughout his duty, where at the beginning he was naïve to how things work but after an incident that sees him hospitalized he returns an improved soldier, better equipped for the experience and from this starts to gain respect. Comradely is formed. Norris' direction moves at a fast clip, if quite clichéd (cue in the patriotic sounding score) but the impulsive action is competently staged and fairly exciting in its tension fuelled fire-fights with glorious slow-motion and graphic violence. Pockets here, pockets there which leads up to the big explosive assault ala "Platoon" style. Filmed in South Africa, Norris gets a real earthy and humid authenticity which has you also caught in the thick of it. Despite the low-budget it's reasonably well-presented.
- Feb 20, 2011
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