84 Charlie Mopic Reviews
This was a really good movie that did an outstanding job of making the viewer feel the tension, camaraderie, danger and fear encountered by ground troops at war. It also shows how quickly your life can end and how it must be tough to live with memories taken away. Only think keeping it from a higher rating is that the dialogue is pretty hokey and predictable.
approach to a "Godzilla" horror story by shooting from the perspective
of a handy cam in the fist of a survivor, writer & director Patrick
Sheane Duncan's "84C MoPic" pioneered this novel technique. This
95-minute, low-budget Vietnam War movie with its largely unknown cast
boasts the distinction of being helmed by a 'Nam veteran. Deane
emphasizes authenticity by lensing everything from the view point of a
combat photographer. Indeed, the camera serves as the film's point of
view, and Patrick maintains this point of view from fade-in to
Unquestionably, the conceit of "84C MoPic" is nothing short of
brilliant. A combat photographer (Byron Thames of "Johnny Dangerously")
films a reconnaissance unit choppered into the bush as a training film
for the military. Deane's distinctive film then has not only an
immediacy about it but it also contains a clever rational for its
artless artistry. The closest thing in real life to "84C MoPic"
is John Houston's World War II documentary "The Battle of San Pietro."
Everything is seen from the camera and the camera is constantly in the
rear because no cameraman would expose himself to enemy fire by
standing in front of his own troops. The hand-held, cine'ma ve'rite'
style of film-making fuels the realism of "84C Charlie MoPic." The
soldiers do nothing in this movie that isn't thoroughly believable. The
procedure of bagging and tagging a body hammers home hard the lack of
glamor. "84C MoPic" manifests few pretensions and the character
never argue about the validity of the Vietnam.
If genuinely artistic photography were the only necessity for a great
movie, then Deane's film would have amounted to a classic.
Unfortunately, despite the excellence of Deane's first-person,
in-your-face technique, "84C MoPic" provides only intermittently
entertainment as an action-packed war story. Deane populates his
screenplay with relatively bland, one-dimensional characters that
rarely engage our sympathy. They lack charisma. Since we never become
emotionally attached to any of them, the ones that die generate little
concern for us. The G.I. humor is old and stale. Ultimately, despite
some tense moments of combat near the end, "84C MoPic" is not
memorable in the least. None of the characters stand out and the enemy
is rarely seen. Deane occasionally undermines his powerful atmosphere
of realism by having his camera running during a dangerous moment.
Would anybody seriously risk their life by photographing an
unsuspecting enemy who might hear the sounds of film whirling through
Primarily, Deane's screenplay is an anthology of war story clichÃ©s. "84C MoPic" replicates the World War II movie clichÃ© that the unit
contained an ethnic collection of oddballs. Alas, these guys are bland,
and the story is for the most part boring. There is the guy with less
than a month to go before he is shipped home but is paranoid about his
chances of survival. There is the green, inexperienced lieutenant, LT
(Jonathan Emerson of "Graveyard Shift"),who couldn't find his own dog
tags with his hands in broad daylight but volunteered for combat to
earn a promotion. There is the angry black man simply named OD(Richard
Brooks of NBC-TV's "Law & Order") who threatens to kill his superior
officer. There is a backwoods North Carolina redneck,Cracker (Glenn
Morshower of "Black Hawk Down"), who turns a blind eye to the black man
and considers him a true brother, something that he admits would never
happen back home. Each character addresses the other by their
nicknames: 'Pretty Boy,''L-T,' 'Cracker,' and 'OD.' The performances
are ordinary enough.
Nobody hams it up, but they don't make much of an impression. There is
nothing incredibly gory. The closest to real violence is the scene
where an enemy sniper targets Pretty Boy. The sniper keeps on shooting
the soldier and nobody can come to rescue. At one point, the soldier
even tries to blow himself up with a hand grenade. Although the story
is neither original nor dramatic enough, "84C MoPic" deserves
three silver stars for its technique and its interpretation. The irony
of the ending is a neat touch. Mind you, this movie isn't as memorable
as "Apocalypse Now," "The Deer Hunter," or "Platoon," but it is worth
Altogether, "84C MoPic" still qualifies as a unique film that is
too realistic for its own good. Surprisingly, given the potential of
the premise, nobody has remade it with a big budget for special
Executed as best as it could be.