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Overall Rating
4.4

Awesome70.09%
Worth A Look: 12.15%
Average: 9.35%
Pretty Bad: 4.67%
Total Crap: 3.74%

1 review, 101 user ratings


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Platoon
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by Slyder

"Amongst the top 5 greatest war movies ever"
5 stars

After cutting his teeth in screenwriting (Midnight Express, Conan the Barbarian, Scarface, 8 Million Ways to Die, Year of the Dragon), it wasn’t until 1986 when Oliver Stone finally came on his own, first with the brutal yet excellent Salvador and finally with this little film. Platoon is arguably Oliver Stone’s best film and one of the greatest war movies ever, ranking amongst masterworks like All Quiet on the Western Front, The Thin Red Line, Saving Private Ryan and Das Boot. Several films before it like Apocalypse Now and The Deer Hunter only used Vietnam as a background for their respective stories while The Green Berets showed a laughable and ultimately stupid and unrealistic look at the Vietnam War; Platoon was the first true Vietnam War movie that dealt with true physical and psychological struggles of American soldiers in Vietnam and the damage it inflicted on them with a true sense of realism.

Based on Stone’s own personal experience, this semi-autobiographical film introduces us to Chris Taylor (Charlie Sheen) a green private just arriving in Vietnam. Within a week he already hates what he’s doing because there’s an air of insanity and chaos and fear since everyone lives only to try and survive a battle, and then stay alive only to fight another battle against the enemy later on. Heading the Platoon is Staff Sergeant Barnes (Tom Berenger) and 2nd Sergeant Elias (Willem Dafoe) whom are two different personalities altogether: Barnes is the product of the system, corrupted, gung-ho, full of scars and hell-bent on destroying the elusive Viet-Cong regardless of cost and willing to fuck whomever gets in his way; Elias is also a product of the system, he’s lost faith in the war and smokes pot in order to numb the pain of the horrors of war but preserving of human and moral values. The two would ultimately clash and in doing so start another war within the platoon, a war which is even deadlier than the one waged against the enemy.

What makes Platoon such an unforgettable experience is the realism of the film. Oliver Stone’s own first-hand experience in combat is highly evident. Along with cinematographer Robert Richardson and military technical advisor Capt. Dale Dye, they capture the true essence of combat via the use of handheld cameras, extreme close-ups and depressed green colors like in the jungle. Never the battle scenes are portrayed as choreographed stunts and entertaining hero-shit. The action is delivered in an in-your-face style as the whizzing bullets and explosions as you follow the men that fight for their lives or get shot at or blown up as if you were in the battles themselves. Thanks to the hand-held cameras, the film gives you a sense of madness and confusion and keeps you on the edge of your seat since it’s hard to tell where the hell the enemy is firing, or where the hell they are or will be coming from, and it gets to a point of ultimate insanity since in the end it doesn’t matter where the enemy is, it all comes down to who will survive and who doesn’t, and fuck whomever it is your fighting for.

All of this is hinted since the beginning, as Stone paints a realistic setting of Vietnam which is a hell, and the soldiers that are thrown in there. Soldiers there ultimately don’t give a shit of why they fight but rather spend their times counting the days in which they can finally go home, at least the ones that are still standing. They try in their base camp to escape the hell they’re living by recurring to drugs either dope or booze, depending on what you like but ultimately, they’re little by little going into a process of dehumanization in which some of the soldiers still manage to maintain certain core moral values intact (like Elias’s bunch) while others are though apparently numb to the horrors of war, they’re ultimately degraded into a bunch of animals devoid of any morals, honor or respect, only their thirst for defeating the enemy and the hell with everything else (like Barnes’s bunch). These two paths, represented by both father figures (Barnes and Elias) are the paths that the main character Taylor has to choose, but since both are interwoven so closely and only a thin line separates them, it’s a struggle in the end to maintain both your strength and sanity while at the same time go out and shoot people. This is best shown in the unforgettable “village scene,” in which due to the war, man is shown at his worst and Taylor nearly falls into that when he confronts a one-legged villager.

It is when both sides collide though, in which politics are finally shown, as we see how both sides take on the subject, one because politicians try to fight the war and protect their career instead of taking no prisoners and taking the enemy out once and for all, while the other side meditates obviously that in the end it was time that our asses were kicked after kicking other people’s asses. It also shows indirectly though, that if a regiment is divided, if it isn’t a unified front, it has no chance of winning a war, and since human beings are fallible and since this is a war on a foreign country to stop communism, it’s all the more probable. And this last one is important because going to fight a war on another country for a cause as vague as stopping the “evil communists” is just the type of shit that doesn’t stick. In the end politics are left out the window when you fight, and it’s all about survival, and politics fuck us up because the damn politicians ARE the ones that are making us fight this war in the first place, a war that wasn’t even ours to begin with. Deserving praise is for Oliver Stone for this film since he manages to successfully depict the utter uselessness of war and especially a war in which no American soldier had any business being there and the dehumanization of man in a hell like Vietnam and to a certain degree, an allegory of good an evil and the choice that you have to make.

The cast is awesome. Charlie Sheen at first is a little shaky but ultimately gives quite a performance as Chris Taylor; by the climaxing point, he’s perfectly believable in the role. The real standouts of the film though are Tom Berenger and Willem Dafoe as both Sgt. Barnes and Sgt. Elias, as they both impersonate their characters up to perfection, and ironically both giving a change of personality in the characters they used to play before this movie (Berenger played good guys, Dafoe played bad guys). Also very effective is Mark Moses as Lt. Wolfe, an ass-kissing soldier who doesn’t care about anyone but himself regardless. The rest of the cast are also great, and look out for soon-to-be familiar faces like Johnny Depp, Forest Whitaker and John C. McGinley.

In the end, this film is the quintessential Vietnam War film, and one of the most realistic ever made. This film should be seen by those ignorant kids whom are brainwashed into putting a uniform and a gun and fighting Iraqis in order to “make the world safe from terrorism” and believe the preachy flag-waving unrealistic propaganda bullshit of We Were Soldiers and Pearl Harbor. War is the most dehumanizing thing there is and doesn’t mean ultimately jack-shit, especially if it’s a foreign war; truly an undisputed classic. 5-5

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=1363&reviewer=235
originally posted: 11/10/04 09:01:09
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User Comments

9/14/17 morris campbell good but lost some impact over the years 4 stars
6/08/12 Monday Morning Bru-fucking-tal! 5 stars
2/13/12 Kyle Looks like a laughably melodramatic cartoon that was oscar bait in 1986. 1 stars
9/24/11 action movie fan dull talky oliver stone propaganda=death before dishonor was much better 2 stars
4/27/10 bronson Top 3 Vietnam Movie, w/the most memorable quotes 5 stars
4/20/10 PAUL SHORTT HARROWINGLY CONVINCING AND WELL MADE 4 stars
8/10/09 Jeff Wilder The most affecting war movie ever as well as Stone's best most personal film. 5 stars
7/16/09 Steven M Not too bad, but seen better. The thing that saves it is a good cast! ..hmmm 3 stars
3/11/09 Jimmy Just plain AWESOME! Straight h-a-r-d-c-o-r-e. Period. 5 stars
11/09/08 Johnny One of the best war movies ever 5 stars
10/04/08 Samantha Pruitt best Vietnam movie ever, the battle scenes are mesmerizing 5 stars
8/29/08 Shaun Wallner This movie was Awesome!! Loved It. 5 stars
6/01/08 jointz Stone's depiction is brutal, but 100% true. No Hollywood shit here. 5 stars
2/18/08 Bnorm "Dance one-legger!" i still cant believe he said that... 4 stars
1/27/08 Pamela White soldiers are heroes for going through war everyone of them 5 stars
8/16/07 ahnold No reason to in Nam- like Iraq. Corp. Profits. Believe it. Great movie 5 stars
3/07/07 David Pollastrini brilliant. Stones best film 5 stars
2/06/07 R.W.Welch Effective use of Barber's adagio. Otherwise, nothing special. 3 stars
8/23/06 David Cohen A war movie for people who hate war 5 stars
6/25/06 MP Bartley Great battle scenes held together by soggy, pretentious glue 3 stars
1/03/06 Wiseman the gun sounds suck, the action is alright, good movie though. 5 stars
11/23/05 jerzflow Great Realistic Movie 5 stars
8/16/05 john smith i hate to hate it 2 stars
6/05/05 daveyt we were soldiers wasn't very good, was it... 5 stars
3/28/05 Jeanne Still breaks my heart... 5 stars
3/18/05 indrid cold Looks silly compared to post-Saving Private Ryan war movies, but still brutally powerful. 5 stars
12/07/04 Kurt Cobain Oliver Stone's best. The Best film on Vietnam. 5 stars
11/10/04 Jack Sommersby Excellent directing, sub-par writing. 2 stars
10/01/04 Mr.Copeland Stuart is a jew! 4 stars
1/17/04 J The best war drama ever made!!!!!!!!!!! 5 stars
12/14/03 Agent Sands (previously Mr. Hat) One of the greatest war movies ever. High grade stuff. 5 stars
11/29/03 Jaron One of the greatest films of all time!! It capures the reality of the actual Vietnam... 5 stars
10/24/03 Alan Displays the utter confusion of war from the grunt's p.o.v., better than any other movie. 5 stars
7/12/03 Indrid Cold Unrealistic in many ways, but still the most brutal and affecting war movie ever. 5 stars
6/18/03 Andrew Callaway Pretty good. A better-than-average war film. 4 stars
6/02/03 Aedan Gavin Brilliant!!! 5 stars
5/04/03 sleepy Depp made a very sweet soldier. 5 stars
3/11/03 Estevan Lapena Good movie Sp.Ed. DVD (3rd ed.) is mandatory for viewing Commentary. 4 stars
1/13/03 Jack Sommersby Technically accomplished, dramatically myopic. Overstated and underwritten. 2 stars
1/08/03 Seppo Great! 5 stars
1/02/03 Monster W. Kung Overrated. 3 stars
12/26/02 Jon "Thumb the Toad" Lyrik Sheer brutality, like it should be. 5 stars
11/08/02 Andy Best Movie Ever 5 stars
10/14/02 Charles Tatum Sheen deserved more praise than he got for this 4 stars
7/31/02 The Truth Artistic unlike Ryan and only about war unlike Apocalypse Now thus best war movie ever 5 stars
7/21/02 KMG Can't stand another viewing 3 stars
7/15/02 ! Just like it was... 4 stars
3/21/02 The Man Saw this again yesterday and was reminded of why it is the greatest war picture of them all 5 stars
3/08/02 Mo Anand not the best war movie out there...it can get boring. 3 stars
1/17/02 David A. I wish Oliver Stone would get off the pot (toilet and marijuana)! The U.S. isn't all bad!) 1 stars
10/04/01 Phoenix The best war movie ever made. 5 stars
9/09/01 Brad Very informative 5 stars
9/02/01 Reini Urban Classic and one of the rare excellent good&evil. Dafoe as jesus, Berenger as devil 5 stars
8/31/01 spaceworm People actually went apeshit over this one when it came out. No REDUX please! 3 stars
8/27/01 Anne Cooley the enemy within was an interesting theme 5 stars
8/10/01 E-Funk The most authentic film about Vietnam to date. Everything is perfectly in place here. 5 stars
8/07/01 Mr. Hat Great. Plus, the soldier that kills the innocent pig gets killed in combat later! Great! 5 stars
7/15/01 e pretty good 4 stars
7/05/01 Connoisseur too tame! where was the war carnage? 3 stars
6/22/01 Deboe One of the best movies ever. 5 stars
6/15/01 zombie not as good as full metal jacket 4 stars
4/24/01 Spetters Definitely one of ollie´s worst!! 1 stars
4/23/01 Me Awesome! 5 stars
4/01/01 Jesse L It made Stone, who is otherwise pretty lousy 4 stars
3/27/01 Aytim Awesome movie 5 stars
3/08/01 master.node Good prodtn & acting, under which is a dishonest, cliched story. 2 stars
2/17/01 Tyrone This is one of the best war-movies ever 5 stars
2/14/01 plat fuckin amasing but the village bit was shady 5 stars
2/04/01 homer simpson one fucking great movie, the village scene grossed me out 5 stars
1/22/01 Bruce Oliver Stone is a genious. 5 stars
1/01/01 Msitrab Best war movie and one of the best ever 5 stars
12/17/00 The Evil Penguin the most realistic potrayal of war on film 5 stars
11/28/00 Cristopher Revilla You wanna war movie, then watch this masterpiece 5 stars
11/21/00 The Bill Head A great war film! 5 stars
11/10/00 bruno great but does meet apocalypse now 5 stars
11/04/00 viking Oliver Stone's masterpiece 5 stars
10/26/00 JC23 This still remains Stone's best. 5 stars
10/12/00 Sgt. York Ho-hum, pseudo-philosophical, anti-Vietnam trifle. Stone's a master, but fails this time 1 stars
10/04/00 OkieFromMuskogee This is a great film 5 stars
9/20/00 Jeff back when Stone was still good 5 stars
8/12/00 Elvisfan Really just Oliver Stone's war movie - don't all directors have one in them? 4 stars
6/29/00 Bruce My favorite war movie and one of my avorites overall 5 stars
6/18/00 Cooke I love war movies. I love Oliver Stone. Put them together and I love the outcome. 5 stars
6/04/00 OS This is a great one 5 stars
6/01/00 Jimmy Movies don't get much better than this 5 stars
5/19/00 Steve This movie is, without a doubt Oliver Stone's best 5 stars
5/06/00 Yankee war is hell. That's all that needs to be said 5 stars
4/30/00 master.node Tells us just how important OS thinks he is. 3 stars
4/07/00 movieman The best war film I have seen,very powerful 5 stars
3/14/00 Eddie Doin' a research on it 5 stars
3/13/00 John Doing my term paper on it 5 stars
3/01/00 Mic Excellent pic, definitive Vietnam (with Apocalypse Now). 4 stars
2/13/00 Ed Wood A great, great movie 5 stars
2/06/00 Critic goog 3 stars
8/11/99 Japtalian Better than Pvt. Ryan. Vietnam was the real shit. 5 stars
7/28/99 Chris Gianaras None of these actors never went on to make a great movie again. Berenger, Dafoe, Sheenetc 5 stars
7/04/99 J-Dogg Took me awhile to warm up to this. Truly amazing w/ best battle scenes ever. 5 stars
4/21/99 lucas jackson an outstanding film,especially willem defoe and Tom Berenger 5 stars
1/12/99 demon_shredder This movie fucking rocks! 5 stars
11/24/98 Silent Rob The You-Are-There of war flicks. Perfectly engrossing. No fake sentiment, as in Pvt Ryan. 5 stars
11/23/98 Lord Of The Dunce Mix war with one of Stone's bad acid years and you have a damn classic of modern US cinema. 5 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  19-Dec-1986 (R)
  DVD: 30-May-2006

UK
  24-Apr-1987
  DVD: 12-Oct-2000

Australia
  05-Mar-1987 (R)




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