The pilot of a rescue copter, Captain Karen Walden, died shortly before her helicopter crew was rescued after it crashed in Desert Storm. It first appears that she made a spectacular rescue of a downed helicopter crew, then held her own crew together to fight off the Iraqis after her copter crashed. Lt. Colonel Serling, who is struggling with his own demons from Desert Storm, is assigned to investigate her worthiness for the Medal of Honor. But some conflicting accounts, from her crew and soldiers in the area, cause him to question whether she deserves it.Written by
Brian W Martz <B.Martz@Genie.com>
Denzel Washington visited with B 1-12 CAV at Fort Hood, to prepare for his role of Lieutenant Colonel Nate Serling. The dip he puts in, while giving his OPORD in the opening sequence, is a tribute to the time he spent with B 1-12. See more »
U.S. Army Medivac Choppers marked with the Red Cross, are
covered by the Geneva Convention, thereby allowing the aircrew to only carry personal weapons. So no M-16's or M-60 machine guns would have been allowed on "Dust off 3". The Red Cross marks the copter a non-combatant, medical vehicle. This would make it a war-crime for enemies to fire upon it. However, for Meg Ryan's character to take her Red Cross marked copter in to attack enemies would be considered a "perfidious act" -- a very serious war crime. See more »
Tony Gartner, Washington Post:
General, Colonel Sterling's order to activate lights, was that a standard response to enemy infiltration of the lines?
At the critical moment, in spite of terrible losses, Colonel Sterling didn't hesitate to act. Ordering those tanks to turn on their lights saved the lives of God knows how many of our men. Heroic acts arise out of desperate circumstances.
Tony Gartner, Washington Post:
I have no trouble at all believing Colonel Sterling is a hero.
Like Captain Karen Walden. Did you know, Mr Gartner, that for the first time a...
[...] See more »
After suffering a tragic incident during the 1991 gulf war Colonel Serling is asked to look into the case of Captain Walden a female helicopter pilot nominated for America`s highest decoration The Medal Of Honor
COURAGE UNDER FIRE is directed by Ed Zwick a director who tries so hard to direct an epic movie that he loses all focus for narrative . GLORY suffered from this to a certain extent as did his later movie THE SIEGE . LEGENDS OF THE FALL on the other hand collapsed under its own weight of sub stories that it left this viewer wondering what on earth was the main story . COURAGE UNDER FIRE could have suffered the same fate and I was suspicous as to where the story might have been heading . A tragic friendly fire incident features as does the traumatic and guilt ridden aftermath , a nosey journalist appears , then the story switches to the helicopter heroine . Should females serve on the front line ? Will she get the honour simply because she`s a woman ? With so many potential storylines for the film to follow the movie then decides to become centered around what actually happened to Captain Walden . I`m actually glad it became a simple " Whodunnit " plot because LEGENDS OF THE FALL SET IN THE DESERT isn`t my idea of a good movie
There`s only two things director Zwick should be criticised for , in fact one of them isn`t even his fault and that is the battle scene where the Iraqis surround the crashed helicopter , having watched BLACK HAWK DOWN several times I came to the conclusion the most awesome part of that movie is where the two Delta snipers Shughart and Gordon bravely but vainly try to stem the Somali hordes closing in on the Durrant crash site . Ironically this incident inspired the producers to make COURAGE UNDER FIRE but the battle scenes are very much weaker in comparison to Scott`s later movie despite being very similar , but let me repeat I saw COURAGE UNDER FIRE after seeing BLACK HAWK DOWN and most war movies would pale beside Ridley Scott`s action masterwork . The one thing Zwick should be blamed for is casting Meg Ryan . On screen the character of Walden is described as " Butch " and whatever you want to say about Meg Ryan " butch " is not an accurate adjective . Lyndie England now she is butch ...
As for the other aspects of the movie it`s cast well enough . Denzil Washington plays his usual good guy very well while a then fairly unknown Matt Damon is almost unrecognisable . Perhaps the most refreshing thing about COURAGE UNDER FIRE is that it`s apolitical which makes a nice change from Vietnam where we get polemical movies like THE GREEN BERETS and WE WERE SOLDIERS on one hand and PLATOON and APOCALYPSE NOW on the other . Wait till Hollywood starts making movies about Gulf War 2 , boy are we going to be getting some opinions on that war
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