We Were Soldiers - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

We Were Soldiers Reviews

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Super Reviewer
½ April 26, 2009
"We Were Soldiers is a really well made war movie of the Vietnam War. It's really intense. The action never lets up. There is constant chaos and bodies dropping while more are being let off of the helicopter's. The acting is really good in this. I was surprised with how much talent was in one film. Usually you get a movie with some big leads and then some other small known actors. But there was plenty of well known actors which made this film all that much better because of the great performances that were given. I liked that the film showed both sides of the Vietnam War. I also liked how it showed how hard it is for the women waiting at home. It really was one of the better war films I have ever watched. A must see."
paul o.
Super Reviewer
February 7, 2012
Its just so cliche. The action, music, and acting aren't motivating at all. The montage sequences drone on. Its just not that great.
Super Reviewer
October 28, 2007
I didn't like this war movie very much.
I'm a huge fan of war movies and there has been some truly amazing , brillant war movies but i don't think this one is up to scratch.
Super Reviewer
½ October 17, 2010
We Were Soldiers is quite possibly the best Vietnam war film since Platoon. Based on Colonel Harold Moore's, We Were Soldiers Once... And Young. We Were Soldiers tells a compelling story about the first major engagement during the Vietnam war. Braveheart screenwriter, Randall Wallace directs this film with great accuracy. The film is not flawless, but for the most part, it does a great job at being authentic. The film does a great job at establishing the characters, unlike previous war films where you are shown little character development, We Were Soldiers demonstrates perfect character development and you sympathize when one of the characters are killed in combat. I found We Were Soldier to be very different than any other Vietnam war film because it shows the human side of these soldiers, we are shown the family side of the soldiers, and unlike every other Vietnam war film, we are shown that these soldiers have sympathy and aren't blood thirsty animals who are "baby killers". We Were Soldier an achievement in war films as it shows the carnage of war, and shows us the human side of it as well. Randall Wallace has crafted a phenomenal war film, and the cast he directs give stunning, poignant performances. We Were Soldiers is the best Vietnam war film to come along in a long time, and like I've said before, it's a very different one as well. Of course one of the best parts of this film is that it shows that the soldiers fighting this war weren't monsters, and for me that is a positive thing. The battle scenes are incredible, and very intense and suspenseful. Not flawless, but very close, We Were Soldiers is yet another memorable addition to the war genre. A fine film, and may I add also a misunderstood one at that.
Super Reviewer
½ November 30, 2006
Stirring drama depicts, in graphic and heart-wrenching detail, what became the first major encounter between the soldiers of North Vietnam and the United States.
Mel Gibson credibly conveys the tortured nobility of a leader who recognises the heavy responsibility of charisma. The storytelling here is powerful and unforgettable, the tone Shakespearean.
Super Reviewer
½ January 19, 2010
It's got a decent enough script and cast, the problem is it was too little too late. It relays the same message about Vietnam and brings almost nothing new to the table. However, it's still a fun movie even if the message is nearly lost. The action sequences and performances are good enough to make it worthwhile.
Super Reviewer
December 7, 2009
I have a huge respect for all the Soldiers out there fighting for us, but it is really sad, what this Movies even shows, "fake wars" in the name of the freedom.
Super Reviewer
½ January 5, 2009
Revisiting this one some seven years after it's theatrical release I find that time has neither lessened nor strengthened its impact. Historically speaking, the events portrayed here are immensely important and heroic. From a technical/theatrical point of view, We Were Soldiers is just off the mark. Instead of depicting the events honestly and unbiasedly, there's an aire of propaganda here that's hard to shake. The film makers could have been a little less preachy and let the gallantry of the soldiers (on both sides) speak for itself, .

Super Reviewer
March 27, 2008
"They went to war because their country ordered them to, but in the end they fought not for country or their flag, they fought for each other."

You wanna know why I watched this film in the first place, 7 years ago? Because of the helicopters. Not because of Mel Gibson or the genre, I do like war films like any other guy, but only because of the choppers. Sadly Mel Gibson is babbling about patriotic and heroicly foolish things almost constantly, but where's my goddamn choppers! I thought this movie was supposed to be about how the US Army started to customize and use MedEvac choppers for infantry transports to hot zones, but all it is, is just another movie that tries too much to be powerful and moving.

Considering that Randall Wallace, who wrote 'Pearl Harbor' a year earlier, was involved with the film should've had me on alert status. But he has also written 'Braveheart', which is one of my all-time favourites so I had to give it a shot. So now we have, as examples. one great film and one of the worst films ever made. Were does 'We Were Soldiers' belong?

"I'll never forgive myself.
- For what, sir?
That my men... That my men died and I didn't."

After all the basic training in the movie has been given and the troops are transported to "The Valley of Death" for combat, the film does give some nice battle scenes. Especially the napalm scene where the flesh of the bodies is being ripped off when the medics try to evacuate them. Gory as hell and, yes... effective. The battle scenes are almost too frantic for my taste. Some of the soldiers seem to have some kind of supersenses, they always know where the enemies are and shoot highly accurate shots when they're under pressure and when visibility is nonexistent. Guess the US Army's training is much more on a higher level then other nations armies...

The acting is.. well, highly overrated. Mel Gibson, in my opinion, does one of his worst performances I've seen and Sam Elliott, as the obligatory NCO, non-commissioned officer, is grunting through the whole movie and showing these rookies how to fight. With a pistol. You see, he doesn't believe in assault rifles... And talking about obligatory characters, there has to be a proper, heroic young officer, like Chris Klein's character, who has a beautiful wife and a child on the way to bring drama to the movie.

So, where does 'We Were Soldiers' belong? It's highly patriotic and religious, with lots of dramatic scenes that tend to go a bit over the top, some nifty battle scenes but to be honest, films like these are in the end very mediocre and instantly forgettable. There's so much better Vietnam movies available ('Platoon') so if you tend to get sick watching melodramatic war movies where God is a greater support to troops then the artillery or the Air Force, you might wanna skip this one.
Super Reviewer
August 21, 2008
In a place soon to be known as The Valley of Death, in a small clearing called landing zone X-Ray, Lt. Colonel Hal Moore (Mel Gibson) and 400 young fathers, husbands, brothers, and sons, all troopers from an elite American combat division, were surrounded by 2,000 North Vietnamese soldiers. The ensuing battle was one of the most savage in U.S. history. We Were Soldiers Once...And Young is a tribute to the nobility of those men under fire, their common acts of uncommon valor, and their loyalty to and love for one another.

As a war movie, this was breathtaking, showing heroism on the part of soldiers, which is what war movies do. The ending where Kinnear shows up and zaps the North Vietnamese with Gatling guns. Where were these guns before? The artillery did a great job, and the ability to call in air strikes almost instantaneously was amazing. In the story arc, it was interesting to contrast the Mel Gibson plan, which he learned from the French who did it wrong by being passive, to take the battle to the enemy when they least expect it. If we had not given up politically, we could have won the war in Vietnam. Sam Elliott was his usual great gruff self. Mel was often melodramatic and the women back home were stereotypes and Madeleine Stowe had the world's biggest lips.

Super Reviewer
½ April 17, 2007
Packs quite a punch action-wise, but left much to desire as it came to the directing and overall substance. Another unfortunate downside was its tendency to lean towards the realm of cheesyness and cringe-worthy patriotism. Despite said blemishes and flaws, however, there was still something about this movie that had me quite captured and kept me from ever getting bored. Therefore, in the end, I'm pleased to say it's one of the best Vietnam movies I've seen to date, almost being in league with such classics as The Plutoon and Full Metal Jacket.

Anyway, after checking out IMDB, I came to dig out several interesting facts about this movie, which were kind of fun to contemplate and digest. For one thing, it was written and directed by Randall Wallace, who is actually the man behind the screenplay for Braveheart (an achievement for which I will always be eternally grateful). This would probably explain why Mel Gibson was chosen for the lead role. Another fun fact is that Randall Wallace has also written the screenplay for Pearl Harbor. Now how in the world one and the same person could write both Braveheart and Pearl Harbor is beyond me. It's just one of those great mysteries of life I guess, and an ironic one at that. I'm glad though that We Were Soldiers didn't suffer the same shameful fate, because when all is said and done, this was yet another good movie for Mr.Wallace to take pride in.
Super Reviewer
½ May 2, 2007
Hollywood once more goes through the "war is hell" motions and gives Vietnam the Saving Private Ryan treatment. I cannot criticize the skillful representation of the battlefield, but pretty pictures of men being artfully eviscerated by slow motion gunfire does not a war movie make. What marks this film is the quite astonishing lack of subtlety and sophistication in the script and direction by Randall Wallace. Mel Gibson plays the kind of superhuman commanding officer who stands shoulder to shoulder with his men and probably blinds the enemy with the glow of his halo. The first 40 minutes of the film are particularly painful, as all the bootcamp cliches are present, interspersed with apple pie images of family prayer and an embarrassing scene featuring the officer's wives that is about as subtle as Father Ted's slideshow that flashed up "NOT A RACIST" at strategic intervals. The men on the ground under Gibson's command are all the kind of fine upstanding Americans who were "glad to give their lives for their country" and gasped "Tell my wife I love her" with their dying breaths. But were not actually important enough to devote any screen time to when it comes to their characters or personalities. The only attempt to show the Vietnamese side of the story was glimpses of their commander, 30 seconds before his orders were preternaturally second guessed by Gibson and at the end when he ran away from the advancing and victorious American soldiers (guess whose version of events this film is based on...) This is exactly the kind of patronising, gung ho John Wayne style flag waver that I thought had been swept away by Coppolla, Kubrick and Stone, summed up for me by the scene when Mel Gibson's young daughter asked him "Dad-dy, what is a war...?" For f**k's sake. I honestly thought that this film would NEVER end.
Super Reviewer
½ January 15, 2008
Decent, but not the best
Super Reviewer
½ April 16, 2007
Rewatching this for the first time in years, I think I know what it is that I loved about this movie: it handles the nerves and the pre-war tension in a way no other war movie I've seen has (it consumes nearly half the film's running time). Mel is good, and Chris Klein could've been best supporting actor with a bigger part; on top of that, the radio operator/first-to-die joke is so inside, that unless you watch a lot of war movies, it's not funny. However, this film makes such a great point about the Vietnam war - and does so very honestly and in a heart-wrenchingly raw, if Hollywood-raw, way that you can't even think of laughing anyway. Drawbacks... well, the editing in the early going makes the narrative a little jumpy, but I think that's a consequence of trying to turn a non-fiction book into a filmic narrative. In conclusion, do I dare say it? This is Mel Gibson's best work since Braveheart, and a great tribute to the men led like lambs to the slaughter in this catastrophic and darkly ridiculous conflict.
Super Reviewer
October 1, 2007
Super Reviewer
January 15, 2007
great war film, one of the best ive seen
Super Reviewer
½ December 28, 2006
War flick.
Super Reviewer
½ September 26, 2006
It's a solid action-packed war drama. Mel Gibson gives a strong and dedicated performance. Its the best military film made about Vietnam since Platoon. A powerful and explosive film experiance.
Super Reviewer
½ May 28, 2006
War films should not be this unintentionally hilarious. I couldn't stop laughing at all the cliches and poor writing. Made me feel slightly guilty.
Nate Z.
Super Reviewer
½ February 24, 2006
[font=Arial][color=darkred]Randall Wallace and Gibson last teamed up on 'Braveheart' and came away with a bushel of gold statuettes. Their latest collaboration is a Vietnam war flick called 'We Were Soldiers' based upon the novel by Lt. Col. Hal Moore and photographer Joe Galloway. It details the chaos of the battle at Ia Drang where 400 US soldiers were surrounded in a valley by 2000 North Vietnamese fighters and held their own for three long days.[/color][/font]

[font=Arial][color=darkred]The opening chunk of 'We Were Soldiers' concerns the domestic side of the soldiers. Lt. Col. Hal Moore (Mel Gibson) is a man of great honor and battlefield heroics complete with five kids and a determined and loving wife Julie (Madeleine Stowe). Does anyone have any problems identifying the hero yet? Moore has been commanded to assemble an inexperienced band of soldiers and mold them into the 7th Cavalry division. His men include new father Lt. Jack Geoghegan (Chris Klein), helicopter pilot Maj. Bruce Crandall (Greg Kinnear) and grizzled veteran Sgt.-Maj. Basil Plumley (Sam Elliott). They've been called in to be apart of one of the first strikes of the Vietnam War in 1965. Gibson rallies the troops and they head toward the East. What followed could be deemed a suicide mission as the 7th Cavalry and other divisions were surrounded by the advancing Vietcong and fought to the teeth for their survival.[/color][/font]

[font=Arial][color=darkred]Director Randall Wallace (who last directed and adapted for the screen the Leonardo suck-fest 'Man in the Iron Mask') is a director that doesn't know a thing about subtlety in his mess of patriotism. Wallace just doesn't hammer his points and views; he'll bludgeon you to death with them. Gibson ensures his men that he will be the first one into battle and the last to leave. Sure enough, as the helicopter is setting down we see a big close-up of Gibson's boot hitting the earth and a thunderous echo follows. The point has been made.[/color][/font]

[font=Arial][color=darkred]Wallace also manages to squeeze in a bit where he can skewer the media. A horde of reporters show up at the end of the battle, ducking at any noise they hear, and stick their mics in Gibson's face asking absurd questions like "How do you feel about the loss of your men?" Oh Wallace, you are such a shrewd satirist.[/color][/font]

[font=Arial][color=darkred]The violence in the film is incredibly graphic, as with the tradition of most recent war movies like 'Black Hawk Down'. The violence almost reaches a sadistic level where we see slow motion shot after shot of people with a geyser of blood spewing from head wounds. The blood flows freely and often but loses its impact. I would even go as far as saying that much of the violence in 'We Were Soldiers' is overkill under Wallace.[/color][/font]

[font=Arial][color=darkred]The makeup that accompanies some of the battle wounds is surprisingly disappointing (as is a lot in the film). One character, after an accidental blast from napalm, has half his head looking like a burnt marshmallow. The shoddiness of the look inspires more laughs under your breath than gasps.[/color][/font]

[font=Arial][color=darkred]The battle of Ia Drang shows reactions from both sides of those fighting. Every now and then the film cuts back to the Vietnamese side in their underground lair. The leadership over explains all their strategic movements in large flailing gestures. It's like a cheap play-by-play for the audience. 'We Were Soldiers' also follows the recent trend of trying to humanize the enemy. But these attempts are easily seen as the hollow politically correct handouts that they are. One scene shows a Vietnamese soldier writing in a book to his honey back home. It's nice to see clichés transcend ethnicity.[/color][/font]

[font=Arial][color=darkred]The film succumbs to the usual war movie clichés and Hollywood formula. The problem with making a supposed "emotional" Vietnam movie is that the definitive Vietnam movies concerning the madness of battle ('Apocalypse Now' and 'Platoon') and the crippling after-effects ('The Deer Hunter' and 'Born on the Fourth of July') have already been made. 'We Were Soldiers' portrays Vietnam before the politics got in the way and concentrates on the courage of the men who dutifully entered into battle at the heed of their country's call. I can't help but feel that the men who bled and died in that battle don't deserve a better movie.[/color][/font]

[font=Arial][color=darkred]Gibson as Moore gives a stoic performance and adds a level of humor to the figure, but there's no questioning the mettle of this soldier. Gibson's character is almost an exaggerated propaganda action figure. Moore's courage is unquestionable and that's the way they want it. Madeleine Stowe is a terrific actress but is generally wasted here. Most of the movie she spends her time hugging people while wearing some horrible Cher wig and looking eerily like Hillary Swank in 'The Gift'. Chris Klein looks entirely out of place, as does his wife played by curly-coifed 'Felicity' actress Keri Russell. Greg Kinnear is useless. He spends the entire movie sitting in a helicopter chair barely seen. They could have saved some money and hired an extra.[/color][/font]

[font=Arial][color=darkred]'We Were Soldiers' is an okay film but it should have been much more. Gibson elevates what could have been worse but Wallace isn't doing the film any justice. Wallace is too heavy-handed with his direction and flag-waving message and seems to have his film begging to be taken seriously. 'We Were Soldiers' can pass the time all right, but there are better things you could do then watch this force-fed old-fashioned narrative.[/color][/font]

[font=Arial][color=darkred]Nate's Grade: C[/color][/font]
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