‘We Were Soldiers’ is a failed war movie
If you’ve seen “Braveheart,” “Saving Private Ryan” and “Pearl Harbor,” then you don’t need to buy a ticket for “We Were Soldiers” because you’ve basically seen it already.
Mixing elements from all three of those atrocious movies, “We Were Soldiers” possesses all the typical war movie clichés.
The film supposedly captures the experience of an elite American combat division defending itself during Vietnam in a place that would become known as the “Valley of Death.”
However, director Randall Wallace finds it appropriate to just skip the entire second half of the book in order to make way for typical Hollywood sentimentality.
The first problem with “We Were Soldiers” is that it is indeed historically inaccurate.
Hal Moore (Mel Gibson) is shown leading the troops in several combat scenes, which is pretty odd considering he was a Lieutenant Colonel, and in real life was at the command post most of the time.
The second problem is that Wallace directed it. Wallace wrote the script for last year’s “Pearl Harbor,” one of the worst films ever made, for the incompetent Michael Bay to direct.
As in “Pearl Harbor,” Wallace tries to pull at your heartstrings and neglects the essence of the story.
After all the emotional and tedious lines in “We Were Soldiers,” you’ll be so moved and touched you’ll want to throw up.
The cinematography is astonishingly awful. Since the film is colorful and sunny, someone probably should have informed Wallace that battles in Vietnam did not take place on brightly lit California locations.
Apparently, though, Wallace thinks the north Vietnamese invaded the western United States, and if you look closely enough, in some scenes you’ll probably be able to see the famous Hollywood sign in the background.
The battle scenes are graphic but not realistic.
The trained moviegoer will recognize how fictitious everything is.
It’s obvious that editor William Hoy was either drunk, blindfolded or both when piecing together the shots because the action and pacing are undeniably incoherent.
Whereas “Black Hawk Down” was one of the most realistic depictions of war ever made, the battle scenes in “We Were Soldiers” look as though Ed Wood could have created a more veritable portrayal of the conflict.
The acting in “We Were Soldiers” is inadequate as well. It’s surprising that the producers didn’t hire overrated, vomit-provoking actors like Tom Hanks, Ben Affleck and Alec Baldwin to match Gibson’s overdone performance.
This film lacks the suspense of even less-than-good recent war movies like “Hart’s War,” which when compared to “We Were Soldiers,” belongs on the American Film Institute list.
Randall Wallace should be disqualified from ever making another movie again. Hollywood should come up with a list of directors deemed unfit and ineligible to work in its business.
Included on the list, in addition to Wallace, should be Bay, Simon West, Peter Hyams, Roland Emmerich and John Woo.
Believe it or not, “We Were Soldiers” is worse than “Saving Private Ryan” and almost as bad as “Pearl Harbor.” If you want to see a well-done war movie, see “Black Hawk Down,” which makes this fiasco look like it was directed by a drunkard after a Tuesday night at the Blackstone.
LIFE Guest Writer Brian Rapp is this week’s winner of the Be a Critic! Movie Review contest. To enter the contest, visit www.cm-life.com.
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