While most Vietnam movies concentrate on the futility of the conflict and the madness it induced in those involved, We Were Soldiers focuses an early skirmish, and tries to present a balanced view of the Vietnamese troops.
The opening scenes in the film where we are introduced to Gibson's Lt. Col. Hal Moore and other key characters are fairly run-of-the-mill, with figures such as new fathers being set up for obvious falls later in the film. However, when the action moves to Vietnam the film cuts loose with everything it has got, resulting in not only the most harrowing portrait of war ever committed to celluloid, but also the most violent film to ever receive a 15 certificate.
While entertaining and gung-ho enough to satisfy fans of the genre, the film's attempts at adding depth to the Vietnamese soldiers are half-hearted and it's hard to see past the fact that the Americans were sent into a conflict they shouldn't have been involved in. Still, if you want a searing, testosterone-fuelled 'War is Hell' story with another great star turn from Gibson, then We Were Soldiers will do the trick.
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