"If any of you Son of a Bitches call me Grandpa... I'll kill you..." "Sir, Custer was a p*ssy... you ain't..."
We Were Soldiers is one of those war movies that come along that really pull you in and get you straight to the battlefield in a very enjoyable, emotional roller coaster. This was a very touching, in depth movie that will forever be, in my opinion, one of the greatest war films ever manufactured! There were so many great aspects to this film that make it a real power house and an extremely memorable film that will survive the ages... "This is the one that got it right..." Lt. Col. Hal Moore
The story for this film was something of a masterpiece... It is based on the book "We Were Soldiers Once... And Young" by Lieutenant General (Ret.) Hal Moore and reporter Joseph L. Galloway, both of whom were at the battle. The majority of the film was surprisingly accurate to history, with only a few flaws that were added simply to add excitement to the movie. These additions did not taint the story to be told or make the message less meaningful. For instance, that final charge done on the last day of the battle never actually happened; but I can see why it was added. It made for a very exciting, heart pounding charge to lead to a means to end this epic tale. There were also a few change ups of platoon placements on the field; but, again, this was done so that they would have a rock star of talent in each of the major events of the battle...
At first, this film had all the makings to be a propaganda type film, where the Americans were depicted as the good guys and Vietnamese were bad... Then they throw in surprises that show this is a movie showing the events, not telling a moral tale. Little things such as finding a journal where a Vietnamese soldier was writing to his wife and looking at her picture, showing he is no different than all the American soldiers out there doing their duty and wanting to get home to their loved ones; Lt. Col. Nguyen Huu An walking around checking the status of his men's injuries and showing care for what they were going through, which proves they were not heartless savages whom have no heart and are just out for blood; watching the soldier make his bayonet charge into American lines, showing they were scared and the emotions that the American soldiers were feeling, were also running through their heads as well; and the final speech from Lt. Col. Nguyen Huu An showing the result of the battle from their point of view, depicting that "We Are Soldiers..." Americans were not the only soldiers out there giving their lives, they were too...
There was one thing that should have been left out just simply because the delivery of this particular moral statement was just over the top: and that was inclusion of the racal issue. I understand they wanted to tell this story with a lot of things that was going on during that time period, but one quick scene about a "White's Only" laundry mat was just unnecessary... Had there been a little more depth to that issue then I can see having it in there, but, to me, it seemed unneeded... That and I wish they had tried to more from the Vietnamese point-of-view... Those were the instances that made this film very in depth and very real... So because of these few things I had to take away half a star... Overall, the story is very well told and extremely thorough... So I will still give it my 4.5 rating overall...
The acting was extremely well done by a number of people, and not just the big names we know will always knock our socks off... It goes without saying that Mel Gibson nailed his role, as he usually does... He really personifies the commander of the forces that hit the fields of Vietnam. He truly makes me believe he is that man. I felt, he did an amazing job from the way he spoke, the way he carried himself and his mannerisms... Truly, masterful acting!
The same thing with Sam Elliot... This is man who always becomes the character he is portraying! He was the perfect casting choice for this role! His quotes and just the way he himself delivered them, were quite priceless! (which is why I used 2 of them as my head line)
This is one film I can look at Chris Klein and feel very angry. He proves he has the ability to truly be a rock star of talent, and has chosen some horrific roles in his career. In this film, he was truly inspiring. I enjoyed every moment he was on the camera. Everything he did was masterful! The choice of tone of voice, the expressions he makes on his face! These are the things I know are difficult to do and what a lot of people (Kristen Stewart) really lack in ability to do... take your characters beyond reading the lines. People need to become their characters... At that time he was not Chris Klein, he was 2nd Lieutenant Jack Geoghegan... I was extremely pleased with how he radiated his character to us.
I will say there was perfect casting when they selected Ryan Hurst and Barry Pepper for their roles. These are two guys I always enjoy every single time they are on camera. It makes me very sad that we never see them much in major films anymore. They are real actors. They always out their everything into what they are doing and always are among the best at showing emotion in their acting! This movie was no exception for either of them!
Keri Russell and Medeleine Stowe truly were a perfect combination for the wives the portrayed. The way they carried their characters is among the roles in the film that just truly stood out to me. One of the biggest things was the way they cried... It is so hard to cry while acting and make it seem believable... I would say my top would be Michael Caine in The Dark Knight Rises, Alyson Hannigan in How I Met Your Mother - Season 6 - Episode 14: : Last Words, and Stowe in We Were Soldiers... On note of crying, unfortunately I will have to say that Simbi Khali's crying was just way too over the top for me...
But I think we can all agree it was fun seeing Agent Coulson in the military before joining SHEILD (sorry I had to geek out when watching it!)
The directing was very well done. Randall Wallace was handed this huge project and he told the story amazingly! He knew which real life events that should be portrayed and which famous quotes to speak! The rise and fall of story was beautifully placed! This film kept us on the edge of our seats and knew when our racing heart needed a break! That is just glorious direction! One of my favorite moments that he put focus on is when Pepper dropped the M16 and picked up his camera... The camera focus to the camera itself pulling the focus to "this is my moment!"
The music score by Nick Glennie-Smith was truly perfect! It was one the most fitting scores I have ever heard adapted to film! That solo chant with the Aborigine sticks and the male choir singing on ooh... very haunting! This score gives me goosebumps! You can tell he was trained by Hans Zimmer!
The visuals were truly great! The way they did their explosions, the wounds people were getting, and even the way the fire reacted from the fire bombs were spot on! The uniforms were nearly spot on to the real things people wore, the dirt and ash looked as real as real can be on all the soldiers! This was truly a very visually exciting film to watch!
In conclusion, I will say this is going to to remain not only one of my all-time favorite war films, but one of my favorite films. I hop everyone has enjoyed reading my review! I am open hoping for discussion!