Uncommon Valor - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Uncommon Valor Reviews

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December 26, 2016
Such an underrated action flick. Produced by John Milius. It has Ted Kotcheff at the helm straight after First Blood. Hackman in the lead as the maverick father and a legendary supporting cast Fred Ward, Reb Brown, Randall "Tex" Cobb and a young Patrick Swayze. A haunting score from James Horner. The background story is textbook bring the boys home and the action is 80s gold.
½ February 16, 2016
Very entertaining... Loved it
July 24, 2015
Definitely without a doubt one of my all time favorite movies. "Uncommon Valor" is truly underrated and at times, I don't understand why. Gene Hackman is in full command of his performance in this movie, as he always is with every role he takes on. He will forever go down in movie history as a legend as he is one of those rare actors with the likes of Robert Deniro and Al Pacino, who have such star power and magnitude attached to them when they appear on screen that you immediately know that you are in the eyes of a living legend. It's times like these I wish Hackman would come out of retirement and do one more movie, but I understand that he just wants to live a quiet life now away from the movies, as he rightfully deserves to. But I think there are literally a handful of actors you can say that the moment you see one of their movies, you immediately sit down and watch them, and Gene Hackman is definitely one of those actors.
July 22, 2015
A very good war film. It reminded me of days long ago about fighting men and the ties that bind them together.
December 25, 2014
Classic 80's Action Gem with an all star cast. Solid performances by Hackman, Ward, Thomerson, and Swayze with Tex Cobb Stealing the show. Didn't end the right way but solid film none-the-less.
October 2, 2014
You can tell they had fun making this movie and I enjoyed watching it....not a classic but a worthy watch.
September 2, 2014
Needs remake with a good director.
August 24, 2014
a bland military film
Super Reviewer
½ November 18, 2013
A straight basic plot that doesn't mess around with complications. This flick is more of an action flick really, its set after the Nam war and not within the actual war. I did kinda expect a Nam war flick given the films poster but its not really, whether or not its actually based on any truths again I'm not really sure. I guess its possible, I think there were many US soldiers held after the war had finished and there certainly were many soldiers MIA. Whether anyone actually tried this idea without proper official backing I don't know, possible though.

Lets not beat around the camouflaged bush here though, this premise is ripe for a ripping action flick, a real Rambo style emotional rollercoaster. I will give the film its due it does exactly that, you get exactly what you'd expect, it doesn't try to sugarcoat anything or be overally flashy, its cliched and corny at the best of times but its a real crowd pleaser if you ask me.

Gene Hackman's son is MIA in a remote area of Laos ten years after the Nam war, he believes he's still alive and wants to rescue him but the government aren't interested. So off he goes to find a team of Nam vets to dive into Laos, rescue any POW's and bounce back across the border before anyone knew they were there...oh and kill a whole load of natives.

Cue your obligatory recruitment sequences as Hackman snoops out soldiers from his sons platoon and other war torn troopers. Then cue your obligatory training sequences as the men are brought back up to scratch. Then cue your standard drop into Laos and preparation for taking out the POW camp. Its all very easy and by the numbers plus you have seen this kind of thing many times before. One could almost say its an 'A-Team' version of 'Predator' when Arnie and his boys take out the hostile camp at the start. You know what I mean by that...there's plenty of friendly fire, action is violent but you don't see anything, lots of cuts, little specks of blood and lots of extras leaping through the air.

What makes this film so damn fun is the cast, oh boy what a cast! its a classic character actor line up. Under Hackman we have Tim Thomerson playing another Nam vet chopper pilot (before 'Air America'), Fred Ward in his year of recognition with two other major film releases, Harold Sylvester as the typical 80's token black character, Captain America himself Reb Brown, Randall 'Tex' Cobb surprisingly trying to act being a good guy and a very young Pat Swayze. Naturally each man has his own skills for individual moments in the action...Cobb would be the wild strongman type in case you might not have guessed it.

But lets put the action man gung-ho action aside for a mo, its not an all out ham fest by any means. There is a lot of actual emotion and heart in this film, its based on reality, real events and probably struck a cord with many real vets. The action is a bit hokey and tame by today's standards sure, not overally realistic or well coordinated at times but it tries to be gritty and accurate. I do wonder how they didn't all manage to get killed really, they were hardly an example of special ops but hey never mind. The ending is weepy, its gets you, but the most important thing is you care about the characters, the film gets that right, you want them all to make it back.

The whole thing feels very much like a TV movie really, it has moments of good production values with some nice explosions in the finale but overall it felt a bit restricted. The musical score seemed very cheap to me, as though it was a selection that you can rent and has been used in many action films. Hell Hackman's character looks like he's out for a good hike in the Alps when we see him in the jungle for the showdown. Still I can't deny I really enjoyed this film, I got hella pumped for the finale POW bust out, that got me going. I really wanted to see the guys succeed, really liked that team and the film is so heartfelt and sweet. Yeah i know that sounds pathetically lame but its true! such a pleasant Nam war flick.
Super Reviewer
September 10, 2013
Ted Kotcheff followed up his Vietnam vet saga First Blood with this little action romp whose plot is basically the same as that of the second Rambo film, though Kotcheff didn't direct that one.

Gene Hackman is former Marine Colonel Rhodes who, for a decade, has been getting the run-around concerning the fate of his son who was captured as a POW during the Vietnam War. After hearing that his son and some other soldiers are possibly still alive and in a prison camp in Laos, the good colonel enlists the help of his son's former squad mates to form their own private rescue force, funded by MacGregor, an old friend of Rhodes who is a wealthy oil baron.

This is basically just a fun "men on a mission" type of movie, namely The Dirty Dozen, with a plot that, as mentioned, was later used for First Blood part II. I appreciate that the film tries to deal with an important issue, but I didn't like that it ends up being a cheesy, silly, and cliched action romp. A more dramatic and serious approach, I think, would have been more welcome. It's not as over the top as the second Rambo film, but it is fairly light fare.

The film does have it's heart in the right place, but I just thought it would have been a bit more original and less silly. I did have some fun watching it, hence why my grade isn't worse, but yeah, this is predictable, corny, and 80s in the extreme. Hackman does a decent job in the lead though, and he does elevate the proceedings a bit. Robert Stack is also fine as MacGregor, and I do love his voice. As for the men Rhodes recruits, we get the likes of Fred Ward, Reb Brown, Randall "Tex" Cobb, Harold Sylvester, Tim Thomerson, and a young Patrick Swayze. They all provide fair enough performances, despite being nothing but stock characters.

The film does have some passable music, some of the sequences are competently done, and it is watchable, but I really have to admit that this should have been a lot better. See it if you want, but just don't expect anything amazing.
Super Reviewer
½ August 24, 2013
Pretty good. Gets too cliched at times, and honestly has too many characters to keep track of in my opinion. However, it ends up being a pretty solid movie.
June 19, 2013
One of my favorite war movies
½ May 29, 2013
Uncommon Valor is a decent film. It is about a group of Vietnam War veterans re-unite to rescue one of their own left behind and taken prisoner by the Vietnamese. Gene Hackman and Patrick Swayze give good performances. The script is a little slow in places. Ted Kotcheff did an alright job directing this movie. I liked this motion picture because of the drama and action.
½ October 27, 2012
A retired colonel spends years searching for his son, a MIA from the Vietnam War, and eventually assembles a team for a rescue mission to get him out of a prison camp in Laos. Not quite as good as Missing In Action but still worthwhile.
½ September 24, 2012
Friday, September 21, 2012

(1983) Uncommon Valor

First film I know that dealt with P.O.W.'s still trapped in Vietnam camps and pronounced "Missing In Action" since the bureaucracy don't seeing any advantage into bringing them back home to the U.S. Fictional but somewhat well handled looking at it from different viewpoints, starring Gene Hackman as Col. Cal Rhodes gathering the same group of Vietnam vets who were the last people to see his son still alive. A nice standout character was also a nice touch played by Patrick Swayze. If it wasn't for Gene Hackman's acting this film would've bee a total dud. Directed by Ted Kotcheff who also directed "First Blood" and made way before Chuck Norris's "Missing In Action" movies.

3 out of 4
½ September 12, 2012
Army Colonel assembles a commando squad of Vietnam vets to free his son listed as MIA but thought to be held as a prisoner in Laos. Funded by a Texas millionaire (some parallels to Ross Perot here). Good cast but does not reach the same elite status as Chuck Norris' MISSING IN ACTION.
August 10, 2012
One of several rescuing-MIA's-from-'Nam movies that came out in the '80s (a reflection of what was a contentious issue at the time), starring Gene Hackman as a retired US Army Colonel who rounds up his MIA son's old unit for a rescue mission, having finally tracked him down after 10 years of searching. Although the film is ultimately an action flick (and a good one at that), it doesn't skimp on politics with Hackman's character delivering several speeches that put the government on the spot for it's attitude to the lost men ("While the politicians sit on their asses, I'm gonna ask you to put yours on the line. Again.") The cast is a lot of fun, playing a variety of interesting characters and the extended training before the actual mission gives ample time to develop them. In the end you really want to see all of them make it out alive. Along with a young Patrick Swayze and B-movie favourite Reb Brown are Fred Ward, playing a traumatised ex-tunnel rat and Randall "Tex" Cobb as "Sailor" - a beefy, beardy biker who customarily wears a grenade around his neck so that "if life ever gets too shitty, he can pull the pin and see what's next".

A really good movie with enough intelligence and emotion to balance out the bombastic action. There are a few problems such as a grating, half-assed attempt at a romance between one of the team and a local guide, but nothing serious.
½ July 28, 2012
Vietnam, 1972. Shouting, gunfire & grenade blasts are heard as American soldiers fight off oncoming Vietnamese soldiers. With helicopters waiting, the soldiers are navigating through a rice field ... Frank Rhodes gets shot in the leg. His buddy, Paul MacGregor, turns and goes back for him to get them both to the chopper awaiting. As the enemy closes in, the chopper pilots have waited as long as they can and take off, leaving a half dozen American soldiers.

Go forward to 1982, and Colonel Jason Rhodes (Gene Hackman) has spent the past ten years searching for his son's whereabouts. Getting no info from the US Government or Military, Rhodes has taken matters into his own hands & confirmed his son's location .... Northern Laos. Now he intends to go in and rescue him.

Rhodes goes out and requests the help of his son's five Marine buddies plus Kevin Scott (Patrick Swayze), a young upstart that specializes in the latest weapons used. Then, Rhodes gets the financial backing from MacGregor (Robert Stack). MacGregor is a wealthy oil tycoon and builds a life-size replica of the Northern Laos camp on his land for Rhodes and company to train. Both of the menā(TM)s sons are being held prisoner at this camp, along with others.

They train for weeks, preparing for the rescue mission ahead.

I always enjoyed this film as a kid, and I did so again this time around. The story is simple, but it works. I like the raw & somewhat-gritty feel, the film has. Gene Hackman is good as Col. Rhodes, he plays the revenge minded father really well. Patrick Swayze though, shines as Kevin Scott. He's brash, unforgiving & a real asshole. Also, he has the most memorable scene from the movie when he gets in a fight with Sailor (Randall 'Tex' Cobb) ... which lasts for what feels like, an eternity. The supporting cast is solid. Each actor feeds off the other and you really feel these seven men are a close-knit group. Story-wise, it runs smoothly, as simple as it may be. Nothing is disjointed or mixed up ... flows well.

The cinematography is great and when the action picks up, the camera shots are very well placed. The weakness is the screenplay and dialogue ... both could have used a little more work.

On the whole, it's an enjoyable war film. War veterans and fans of war films, should give this one a look.
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