Fathers. Brothers. Husbands & Sons.
"...a suspenseful, intense, and exhausting cinematic experience. James Berardinelli's ReelViews
|Mel Gibson and Randall Wallace, the star and writer of Braveheart, reunite for this action packed war movie that features explosive battle sequences, thrilling aerial photography and unforgettable military heroes who fought for their country, their loved ones and their freedom.|
The year is 1965 and America is at war with North Vietnam. Commanding the air cavalry is Lt. Col. Hal Moore (Gibson), a born leader committed to his troops. His target: the la Drang Valley, called "The Valley of Death." As Moore prepares for one of the most violent battles in U.S. history, he delivers a strong promise to his soldiers and their families: "I will leave no man behind...dead or alive. We will all come home together."
This heroic story of commitment, courage and sacrifice also stars Madeline Stowe, Greg Kinnear, Sam Elliott, Chris Klein, Keri Russell, and Barry Pepper.
"One of the best war movies of the past 20 years. Mick LaSalle, San Francisco Chronicle
"A powerful experience, filled with dazzlingly executed action sequences... William Arnold, Seattle Post-Intelligencer
"...a good film; strong, honest, strikingly photographed (by Dean Semler) and appropriately devastating. David Grove, Film Threat
"We Were Soldiers doesn't just show us the fight. It drops us into the middle of the battle... Joel Siegel, Good Morning America
"Mel Gibson's best performance, since Braveheart. Sara Edwards, NBC-TV
In 1965, 400 American troops faced an ambush by 2,000 enemy troops in the Ia Drang Valley (also known as the Valley of Death), in one of the most gruesome fights of the Vietnam War. WE WERE SOLDIERS is a detailed recreation of this true story: of the strategies, obstacles, and human cost faced by the troops that participated. The story focuses on the lieutenant colonel that led the attack, Hal Moore (Mel Gibson), and a civilian reporter who accompanied them, Joseph Galloway (Barry Pepper), as well as a number of other soldiers who were involved.| |This is an unusual Vietnam film in that it also shows the North Vietnamese perspective on the battle; their leader Lieutenant General Nguyen Huu An (Don Duong) is depicted as a brave soldier and smart commander. And in addition to the many gory battlefield sequences--which seem to have been influenced by SAVING PRIVATE RYAN--we also see how the carnage of war affects those left behind, the soldiers' wives and children. Ultimately this is a moving anti-war film, which, by sticking close to the true stories of real soldiers, very effectively brings home the overwhelming horror of war.
We Were Soldiers - HD-DVD
By: Matt Paprocki
Published on: 2/6/2007 7:35 AM
|Seemingly forgotten soon after its release, Vietnam War epic We Were Soldiers is an unforgettable look at a drawn out struggle for a landing zone in the early moments of the war. Mel Gibson leads a packed cast as they struggle, constantly out numbered. It never turns away from its graphic violence, and rightfully shows a small portion of the Vietnamese struggle to survive as the conflict continues.
...read the full review
Cast & Crew
"...Solemnly forceful....[Elliott] has what could be the best role of his career..."
New York Times
"...The movie, anchored by Mr. Gibson's modest disciplined performance, has a feeling of calm stoicism..."
"...[Kinnear] does that thing he does better and better with each role he takes, siphoning humor into a serious situation....[Gibson] discharges his duties maturely and successfully..."
"...[The battle] is brilliantly designed and shot....The film's major contribution to the Vietnam War movie is its willingness to view the enemy as human beings..."
"...The battle, expertly shot by Dean Semler, captures the chaos of guerrilla warfare paralleled in BLACK HAWK DOWN and gives the film a scarring documentary realism..."
"...This is a true story that brings home the real horror of war, presenting a balanced, thought-provoking record of men who fought..."
"...Deft at pushing emotional buttons..."
Los Angeles Times
"...[The film] impresses with the overwhelming physicality of its combat sequences..."
FilmCritic.com 8 of 10
We Were Soldiers is just another in a long line of graphic war movies depicted in realistic detail. The cinematography is very striking and has a journalistic feel, as if we are on the front lines looking in on the action as told through the lens of Galloway's camera. As soldiers are shot and wounded, their blood splatters on the lens (and thus, the movie screen). Many of the battle scenes are shown in slow motion, using quick edits that are choreographed to moving scores and songs meant to evoke emotion. We really feel like we're with those troops as they push through the Valley of Death.
- David Levine
ReelViews 9 of 10
We Were Soldiers is the latest in the new breed of war movies - films that throw the viewer into the midst of the chaos and brutality of the fray, giving audiences a taste of the violent, visceral nature of an armed conflict, while still allowing moments of honor and heroism to stand out. In the wake of Saving Private Ryan and Black Hawk Down, We Were Soldiers is not as shocking as it might have been, but it is no less impressive because of that. Interestingly, the picture is also one of the few movies about Vietnam to eschew a political message. During and after the war, Vietnam has become a lightning rod for writers and directors espousing a particular viewpoint, but We Were Soldiers takes a different path. It is about nothing more complex than men trying to survive, and, in that quest, showing the best and worst that humanity has to offer...We Were Soldiers' battle action is as intense and unsparing as that of Black Hawk Down, yet the movie is richer because the characters are more fully realized...Once, war movies were very much arm's length affairs, but, in an era when so many lines have been crossed and so many barriers broken, such an approach no longer works. As a result, the in-your-face style of We Were Soldiers results in a suspenseful, intense, and exhausting cinematic experience. There are times when the film is grueling and times when it is exhilarating. The movie has the ability to keep viewers on the edges of their seats and to wring tears from their eyes. It's an amazing experience, and a second success from the team that previously cooperated to give us an Oscar-winning motion picture. Their subject, both then and now, is about the courageous of spirit and brave of heart.
- James Berardinelli
Chicago Sun-Times 9 of 10
"We Were Soldiers," like "Black Hawk Down," is a film in which the Americans do not automatically prevail in the style of traditional Hollywood war movies...For much of its length, the movie consists of battle scenes. They are not as lucid and easy to follow as the events in "Black Hawk Down," but then the terrain is different, the canvas is larger, and there are no eyes in the sky to track troop movements. Director Randall Wallace (who wrote "Braveheart" and "Pearl Harbor") does make the situation clear from moment to moment, as Moore and his North Vietnamese counterpart try to outsmart each other with theory and instinct..."We Were Soldiers" and "Black Hawk Down" both seem to replace patriotism with professionalism. This movie waves the flag more than the other (even the Viet Cong's Ahn looks at the stars and stripes with enigmatic thoughtfulness), but the narration tells us, "In the end, they fought for each other"...Yet almost all war movies identify with one side or the other, and it's remarkable that "We Were Soldiers" includes a dedication not only to the Americans who fell at Ia Drang, but also to "the members of the People's Army of North Vietnam who died in that place." I was reminded of an experience 15 years ago at the Hawaii Film Festival, when a delegation of North Vietnamese directors arrived with a group of their films about the war. An audience member noticed that the enemy was not only faceless, but was not even named: At no point did the movies refer to Americans. "That is true," said one of the directors. "We have been at war so long, first with the Chinese, then the French, then the Americans, that we just think in terms of the enemy."
- Roger Ebert