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Overall Rating
3.61

Awesome37.59%
Worth A Look: 20.57%
Average: 16.31%
Pretty Bad: 16.31%
Total Crap: 9.22%

6 reviews, 105 user ratings


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We Were Soldiers
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by Slyder

"Disappointing, Been There, Done That, Lot Better"
2 stars

We Were Soldiers looked promising like any movie does with its trailer, but it misfires like hell. What’s more disappointing about this film is that it was based on a true story, and for most part of the movie, it feels more like a bad rip-off out of better movies like Hamburger Hill or The Thin Red Line besides being a dumb stupid, tiresome and never-believable war drama. Even though a strong message is given in the end, plus the already overstated message of War Is Hell, it just isn’t enough to save this film from being a major misfire. Once again, Writer/Director Randall Wallace anally rapes a historical event almost the same way that he did Pearl Harbor. For Christ sake, his script is pretty much stupidly written and as pathetic as his directing skills, which are practically nonexistent.

As said, the film is a true story about Colonel Harold G. Moore (Mel Gibson) and his bloody but heroic and also tragic battle of the Valley of Death in Vietnam. Moore and his 400 soldiers (most of them whom are husbands and fathers) descent into a valley designated Zone X-Ray in Vietnam, assigned to seek and destroy hostile forces. Among his soldiers were Major Bruce “Snakeshit” Crandall (Greg Kinnear), Moore’s fellow Sergeant Basil Plumley (Sam “Custer Is A Pussy But I’m A God Damn Cowboy” Elliot), 2nd Lt. Jack Geoghegan (Chris Klein), and War journalist Joseph Galloway (Barry Pepper), who joins halfway through the battle. Moore was always fearful of a similar massacre that the French suffered in Vietnam during the 30’s or 40’s, and also just like the massacre of Custer and his army in the hands of the Indians. None of them knew that there were already 2,200 Vietnamese soldiers waiting for them. The ensuing battle was to be one of the most savage and disastrous battles of the Vietnam War.

Smells like Black Hawk Down doesn’t it? This film would’ve qualified, as a Black Hawk Down rip-off, but doesn’t, for the simple fact that is a true story. But one way it still feels like a rip-off, only more colored and more soft, due to the fact that the movie shows you the wives club and their troubles and worries as their husbands are off to fight the war. One of the two main problems that this film has is that is too soft and too stupid. The film checks up on the families of the soldiers, but at times Wallace overdoes it, and turns the film into a wannabe soap opera. Obvious traces of this can be traced back to Wallace’s debacle Pearl Harbor. This makes the movie look too sentimental and too soft. The only thing that Wallace needed to do was to do a love triangle between any of the leads around here. The wives’ scenes were at times stupid (the racism discussion, why was it there?), and during the conflict and them dealing with themselves alone, it’s just anti-climatic. There are little feelings about the women of the soldiers, who more behave like robots. We’re supposed to feel sorry as the two women Mrs. Moore (Madeleine Stowe) and Mrs. Geoghegan (Keri Russell) go on to deliver the death telegrams, we never do. We just stare blankly at the screen since were more in awe of the wooden performances that they give and also at the shoddy directing that Wallace does in these parts.

The stupid part takes place during the battle scenes. Again, Wallace treats the Vietnamese as ignorant yellow trash, who go off and fight the ever-mighty Americans. One thing, why is it that the Vietnamese are treated this way? They are seen as The Evil Army, and also, as a bunch of piss-poor gung hos that don’t even know how to shoot a bloody rifle (The scene where our brave Vietnamese charges against Moore when he could’ve easily shot him from that distance). Then those two awfully stupid and ridiculously funny night ambushes were also a groaner, since again, the Vietnamese are depicted as a bunch of fucking idiots, while the Americans are smarter than hell. What the fuck is it with that? It’s an insult because, for Christ sake, the Vietnamese on their own ground, know every inch of their land, and still beaten so stupidly by the Americans? Ok, maybe I’m exaggerating, since the film is in fact a true story, or shields itself in the true story thing, but true story or not, Wallace has no right of forcing the issue of this American victory by treating the Vietnamese as a bunch of imbeciles. Then Wallace tries stupidly too add the same feelings that the American soldiers have for their loved ones, with the Vietnamese soldier who writes to his loved one. That was pretentious and one-sided since character development is virtually non-existent, and furthermore adds more insult to the injury as the entire scenario is so plastic. Anyone remember this very same scene in Pearl Harbor?

The worst and most idiotic scenes have to be the ones with hard-ass Sergeant Plumley. Sam Elliot was seriously miscast in this part. Randall, why the fuck did you cast a Cowboy for a soldier part? Gees-us man, Elliot was embarrassing here. I mean the fucker can kill more Vietnamese soldiers with his little 9mm pistol, without any cover, and acting the usual “Hardballs” cowboy, than any other man in the fucking squad. And as you see him, you won’t help but laugh and chuckle and say between yourself: “Good God, this guy is in the wrong fucking movie, he should go back to the Wild West where he belongs.” Gosh, that was so stupid.

The second part that fucks the film is that is too formulaic. I mean, we all know that War is Hell, we’ve seen it in lots of movies, movies 100 times better than this one, like Platoon, Saving Private Ryan, The Thin Red Line, Apocalypse Now, Black Hawk Down, Full Metal Jacket, hell, even Hamburger Hill. All of these movies at least brought something innovative to the genre of war, and that’s what makes them great, despite the fact about war. But in this film, Wallace plays it safe, and gives you the standard, redone version of how horrifying war is, which makes the story, the “true story,” even more predictable. Ok, it’s fine that we raise some patriotism because of what happened back in September 11, but for Christ Sake, elevate the status of patriotism into such piss-poor ways like in Pearl Harbor and this film is just stupid. Hell, at times this film makes John Wayne’s comical patriotic shitbag “The Green Berets” look like a classic. There are better ways to be patriotic Randall. Try Oliver Stones two classics Platoon and Born On The Fourth of July, those are two excellent patriotic films. This film was flawed pretty badly, and you can tell. The film’s final scenes and the message it delivered were powerful, and the message itself was deserving of an even better movie than this one here, or a better screenplay, since this one is truly a letdown.

The performances were mixed. Mel Gibson manages to save the film a little with his charismatic portrayal of Col. Moore. Barry Pepper redeems himself a lot after his painful experience in Battlefield Earth. Elliot is crap, and he should’ve been shot at when he said that Custer was a pussy. Gosh, so amateurish. The rest of the cast was okay, though most of the women were pretty wooden. Randal Wallace, your directing in some places is good (most of the battle scenes) but you need to improve. Also, go back to Screenwriting School, man, because that’s the 2nd true story you manage to fuck up again. You better do that or I’m going to have to throw a warning to all the libraries in the country to shoot you on sight if they see you walking in with your pencil and paper. We can’t tolerate another rip-off out of a true story.

In the end, this film would’ve been great. If only? If you want to see it, go ahead, but strictly for popcorn entertainment. If I were you, I’d go watch better films like Black Hawk Down or Hamburger Hill, even better, dig out Platoon. This film disappoints, even more since it’s based on a true story, and all the men that fought and died in that battle deserved to be honored in an even better way than this movie did, “because they were soldiers… and young,” not just wooden characters for a cheap, formulaic Hollywood war movie.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=5778&reviewer=235
originally posted: 03/19/02 14:20:41
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User Comments

2/21/17 morris campbell good not great war flick 4 stars
9/06/12 Ed Not every movie is artsy fartsy. This is an authentic and realistic story 4 stars
8/15/09 Jeff Wilder Good war pic that was WAY better than Pearl Harbor, 4 stars
1/30/09 PAUL SHORTT STRONG, HONEST, STRIKINGLY PHOTOGRAPHED AND APPROPRIATELY DEVASTATING 4 stars
1/27/08 Charles Tatum Fantastic, thanks to Wallace's direction 5 stars
12/14/07 davidbobo20 One of Mel Gibson's best. 5 stars
4/19/07 Stevo UK Wallace again pisses on the soldiers who fought and died for their country. 2 stars
3/06/07 mb Might Be The Best Movie I Ever Saw 5 stars
10/21/06 Hursty take it as is meant, a salute to your fighting men 5 stars
8/05/06 chienne What the hell has Madeleine done to her lips?? Lick em & stick her to a window. 4 stars
7/17/06 William Goss Sporadically exciting if familiar overall, yet never deludes itself w/ self-importance. 3 stars
6/25/06 MP Bartley Powerful in a few spots, quite blah in most of the others. 3 stars
4/08/06 Frank Rountree Excellent movie based on the true story, as a retired veteran I could relate well 5 stars
1/22/06 Cock pure shite 1 stars
1/22/06 Quigley it goes to much into the horrifying voilence, but it has its moments of true power 4 stars
12/10/05 JohnWalker Sam El;liot was fine,hell the Army is full of cowboys and it was a 45 not a 9mm 4 stars
11/26/05 Lowtax neocunt right wing jerk off material 1 stars
11/16/05 emily aguero i thought that movie was incredible, anyone who doesnt like it doesnt want to face the past 5 stars
10/21/05 Dustin Titley-stanzel I thought it was great and the soundtrack was awsome 5 stars
10/16/05 Anus YOU DIED FOR SOMEONE ELSE'S COUNTRY YOU RETARDED WARMONGERING CUNT! 1 stars
10/09/05 Brendon Messer This movie shows what war is really like freinds and family dying not some flashy shoot em 5 stars
9/24/05 c cold ab fab 5 stars
8/25/05 ES Sam Elliot rocks, this movie doesn't 2 stars
7/25/05 jjulian Check out DVD final deleted scene, which gutless director left out--makes a huge difference 4 stars
6/13/05 Indrid Cold Simple-minded but effective. Wisely avoids addressing the bigger issues about the war. 4 stars
6/08/05 Anthony G AMF your an idiot this movie rocked, Braveheart sucks black dick for coke like your mom amf 5 stars
4/13/05 Quigley powerful, but incredibly hard to sit throguh. I don't know if i could watch it again 4 stars
4/04/05 Ric Great battle scenes and solid acting override the cliched dialogue and repetitive violence. 4 stars
2/27/05 Beverley Mooren Best Viet Nam war movie ever. 5 stars
2/17/05 Rafael Ochoa good 4 stars
2/15/05 Rock-steady hard to imagine, that one year after this he becomes a christian and makes pos christ 5 stars
12/08/04 Rebecca To the critics that had bad ratings.....what the hell do you know? 5 stars
11/08/04 Steve It is the most KICK ASS Vietnam war movie ever 5 stars
11/07/04 R.W. Welch Early Air Cav op is effectively portrayed. Gibson quite convincing here. 4 stars
9/12/04 Donald Jacobsen Like DJ said, WTFPWNT 5 stars
8/14/04 Kenneth Curtis Best Vietnam movie I've ever seen. Really captures what the men went through then. 5 stars
7/30/04 DJ Wtf? Pwnt. 5 stars
7/18/04 Gynov Like Dan said, a great movie about LZ X-ray. 5 stars
4/22/04 Jamie Kennett One of the most moving war films ive seen 5 stars
4/01/04 Nick Byram Negative critics blinded by ideology. Great show of war horrors and brotherhood of troops 5 stars
12/07/03 J Explosive!!!! *** 1/2 out of 4 5 stars
11/12/03 Luke the knife attached to the M16.so cool 4 stars
11/09/03 Jim You pussies that are calling this film down, obviously were never in the service! 5 stars
10/01/03 Lonnie Strang outstanding performances by All, the battle of that fateful day seemed to me to be very acc 5 stars
7/07/03 Daniel Stockman This was a wonderful, and realistic film about the battle of Lz-Xray in November 1965. 5 stars
6/22/03 Daniel P Holla i've seen better film on teeth, less depth than feather 1 stars
4/25/03 mr. Pink Patriotic, overblown piece of propaganda shit. My shit is more tasteful than this crudeness 1 stars
4/10/03 Jack Bourbon Some good scenes. . . decent overall. 3 stars
2/04/03 torebel This is the movie my father (Vietnam Vet) had been waiting to see. 5 stars
2/02/03 Lord David Simplistic piffle - it was an awful war and deserves better than this 2 stars
2/02/03 G.C. Benwell worse than worst 1 stars
1/01/03 Millie Edwards I wish everyone would take the time to sit down and watch this movie. It is truly AWESOME! 5 stars
11/07/02 victor really good 5 stars
11/04/02 Massive Johnson badly done. i didn't know only pretty people went to vietnam. 2 stars
10/23/02 Phil M. Aficionado Expected ho-hum, but liked it plenty. Riveting action 4 stars
10/23/02 Phil M. Aficionado Expected ho-hum, but liked it plenty. Riveting action 4 stars
10/07/02 marco guerra how can people say 'good' ?iS THEIR BRAIN CONNECTED? 2 stars
10/01/02 woot Historically inaccurate, horribly cliched, meaningless. Read the book. 1 stars
9/29/02 Ryback good movie! Could have used some good music tho 4 stars
9/25/02 Eric Powerful and intense battle scenes. Gibson and Pepper are great. 5 stars
9/23/02 Jeff Mesenbrink THE ONLY REAL FUCKING VIETNAM MOVIE.......EVER!!!!!!! 5 stars
9/01/02 Doc Shock Enjoyable, but nothing special 4 stars
8/12/02 Richard Williams bloody AWESOME! , Gibson provided an excellent performance, Elliot & Pepper were also great 5 stars
8/07/02 Obi Wan Bring me the DVD copy w/plenty of goodies!! 5 stars
8/04/02 Michael Macias best war fim i ever saw 5 stars
8/01/02 loaded1200 Good Movie! 5 stars
7/04/02 KMG I like Mel. I don't like post-Patriot sugar-ass lets have 20 kids Mel. 3 stars
6/07/02 Allison Lafferty Poignant account of angst, grief, and terror of Vietnam War with fairness to all. 5 stars
5/21/02 Shrike Black Hawk Down doesn't have to worry about this stealing its thunder 3 stars
4/30/02 Sharron Great depiction of a true story. Pearl Harbor was ruined by a script rewrite,not R Wallace. 5 stars
4/29/02 Babybelle A moving and well performed story based on fact. Mel Rocks!! 5 stars
4/27/02 Gremlin Up there with platoon and Apocolapse Now. 5 stars
4/26/02 Joe Potvin It's all true. Hal Moore and Joe are just like that. Mel and Sam-You got it right. 5 stars
4/22/02 tom cruz fuc..... bulls.ht Mel. Remember US came with no reasons. Not worth fuc....$ 1 stars
4/17/02 John Garceau Powerful and emotional movie for those who know about Nam. Everything is true read the book 5 stars
4/15/02 John Wilkinson fantastic 5 stars
4/13/02 Don Norman Originally shows both sides without demonizing either. Honor and reality. 5 stars
4/10/02 Kelly Mears Damned good movie. Respected by the people that were portrayed in the movie. 4 stars
4/05/02 Scott Sumner Col. Moore, although a bonafide brave solider, should pull Mel's mouth out of his ass...... 3 stars
4/05/02 Obi Wan Really liked the film but I thought it should have more gore and war! 4 stars
3/30/02 Stuvaustin I was actually pretty dissapointed especially since I love war movies 3 stars
3/21/02 J.N. DeSantis You had to be there and return to understand 5 stars
3/21/02 The Man Not as good as most Vietnam movies, but still a valid entry, save for 2 VERY POOR scenes. 3 stars
3/12/02 spaceworm More to it than BLACK HAWK, and just as loud. 4 stars
3/12/02 Gavin M. Great Soundtrack, very intense, you get what you went for. 5 stars
3/10/02 sean horan Brilliant cinematography, unique point of view, up-close and personal combat and melodrama. 5 stars
3/10/02 Chris K. This film is directed by Randall Walace, the same dick that wrote PEARL HARBOR! Oh well. 1 stars
3/09/02 Russell L. Ross Moore, Galloway didnt get it right either 1 stars
3/09/02 Jeff Sappy, rah-rah Patriotism almost as freaky as Madeleine Stowe's new lips 3 stars
3/08/02 Obi Wan Powerful, Randall and Mel do it again!! A DVD Must Have!! 5 stars
3/07/02 Weird Andy The battle scenes are intense, but the melodrama(esp. the officers' wives stuff)is boring 3 stars
3/06/02 FriscoJohn One of the best of the current crop. 4 stars
3/05/02 Fenian One of the best war movies I've ever seen. 5 stars
3/05/02 Glenn Louderback riviting 5 stars
3/05/02 SablKnight One music-and-tinkling-shell-casings battle scene too many for my tastes. 3 stars
3/05/02 Todd Thank god those old war movies are dead and gone. 5 stars
3/04/02 G-Man Erik had to have his parents tuck him in after he saw it. 5 stars
3/04/02 NiceGlamourShotErik One of the Best War movies in the past 20 years 5 stars
3/04/02 StudMaster War movie fans will love it and most chicks will probably dig Mel and the family story. 5 stars
3/04/02 David Addison It is no surprise that Erik would sit through this movie and think about bowel movements. 5 stars
3/04/02 Patti Charron Erik the Movieman needs to grow up. 5 stars
3/04/02 Jesus Christ I condemn war. 1 stars
3/03/02 Dingus The Greatest War movie since the remake of Planet of the Apes 1 stars
3/03/02 dan a very accurate and realistic portrayal of the 1st Cavalry Division's baptism by fire 4 stars
3/02/02 Chris K. This is directed by Randall Walace, the same bastard who wrote PEARL HARBOR! Wow! 1 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  01-Mar-2002 (R)

UK
  N/A

Australia
  25-Apr-2002


Directed by
  Randall Wallace

Written by
  Randall Wallace

Cast
  Mel Gibson
  Madeline Stowe
  Greg Kinnear
  Barry Pepper
  Sam Elliot
  Keri Russell



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