Film reivew: 'Soldiers' breathes life into Vietnam heroes

    From the very first gun shot to the last narrated words, “”We Were Soldiers”” exemplifies the humanity and courage of those who fought and died in the battle at Ia Drang Valley in North Vietnam.

    Basing the movie on the book “”We Were Soldiers Once … and Young,”” director and producer Randall Wallace does a commendable job of turning the respected book into an equally respectable film.

    Relating the experiences of the first platoon of the seventh cavalry regiment (eerily the same regiment as that of General Custer) led by Lt. Moore (Mel Gibson) and Sergeant Major Plumley (Sam Elliott), “”Soldiers”” tells the story of the men who fought in that battle and the people affected by it. With scenes of horrific violence contrasted with somber scenes of wives awaiting news, the lives of those involved are made realistic and touching.

    With strong performances from the entire cast, the emotions of the characters are beautifully portrayed — from the fear of fighting to the dread of losing a loved one, evoking tears and sniffles throughout the theater.

    Gibson perfectly portrays Moore as a father and husband reluctant to lead his young men into battle. All other soldiers were equally realistic, but one really commendable performance was given by Barry Pepper. Pepper flawlessly portrays Joe Gallaway, a man naive to the ravages of war and who grows to fully understand the scope of the atrocities committed by men.

    The actressess portraying the wives of these soldiers deliver equally tangible performances of courageous and emotionally tortured women who must be brave to maintain a cohesive community, yet are internally agonized by the possibility of losing their husbands.

    Incredibly strong performances make “”Soldiers”” a remarkable movie that tries to incorporate the lives of everyone involved in the battle. It is not only the Americans who are glorified; there is also an admirable attempt to portray the opposing North Vietnamese as being equally human. The new manner in which this film depicts war and its success in doing so make “”Soldiers”” a great and innovative war movie.

    We Were Soldiers

    ****

    Starring Mel Gibson, Sam Elliott

    and Chris Klein

    In theaters March 1

    Rated R

    More to Discover
    Donate to The UCSD Guardian
    $200
    $500
    Contributed
    Our Goal

    Your donation will support the student journalists at University of California, San Diego. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment, keep printing our papers, and cover our annual website hosting costs.

    Donate to The UCSD Guardian
    $200
    $500
    Contributed
    Our Goal