Combat Shock (Fuerza en combate) - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Combat Shock (Fuerza en combate) Reviews

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May 24, 2016
Out of the majority of Troma films, Combat Shock is an example of a well - put together story, it showcases the harsh effects of war-related PTSD, and the challenges soldiers have adapting to life after a war.
½ January 2, 2015
Definitely one of Troma's more down to earth and excruciating results. the utter grittiness and bluntness of Combat Shock is a definite stand-out in the Troma chronicles.
October 14, 2013
A very dark (vetsploitation?) drama (listed as horror on Netflix?) about a down-on-his-luck Viet Nam vet which takes place over the course of two days. His slow decent into madness is due to atrocities he witnessed (caused?) and then the atrocities he suffered caused by the Viet Cong (or maybe his own people?). He has a retard baby at home. Troma symbol scared me, but I read they had nothing to do with the producing, directing, casting, scripting, etc - just distribution - so that is allowable.
½ May 10, 2013
If films can be a door way to escapism, they also show you reality. From the inspirational to downright depressing, films can nearly show up to everything, and Combat Shock tells us that life just sucks. The film's central character has suffered a lot while in Vietnam. Aside from the rats, tiger cages, torture, murder, and death, his services at Vietnam were just the easy part of Combat Shock. Now that he is home, his life just sucks even more, for he is an unemployed bum with a nagging hideous wife, an ungodly deformed baby although not as hideous as the wife (ho, ho), a junky friend, a dying father, and a terrible apartment in the middle of downtrodden slum with thugs, gangsters, bums, and young girls now turned into prostitutes. We see and experience the horrors of the American Nightmare. The most unbearable is when the film takes us to the welfare/unemployed office and wait in line! Not anymore, oh no, for Frank has found a solution to his problems! A revolver and some bullets which you know what that means! Bang pow boom, they are all dead. The most appeasing this about Combat Shock is the theatrical trailer which outrages as mayhem is displayed while the announcer shouts the title over and over. The most intense parts on this film is actual documentary footage from the Vietnam War. Despite a strong provoking look into America after Vietnam, Combat Shock suffer from terrible pacing, inept acting, editing, and direction. There was also some unsolved question which I wondered how Frank got out. I am going to guess it was the same way he escapes the crummy life he has. The only original thing the film also has going for is the soundtrack to it and special edition DVD, thank you Troma. It is loaded with all kinds of fun and nauseating stuff. However, the film itself is bleak in film making and not for its context. That comes close.
April 15, 2013
This uncompromising, low-budget, 16mm independent film has plenty to rave about. It's a brilliant social commentary on the post-vietnam syndrome. It borrows from Eraserhead and Taxi Driver but never feels contrived. The character are so pathetically real that it's the kind of movie you would want to slit your wrist to. The ending is insane. Make sure you see the uncut version called "American Nightmares" which contains more gore and was censored in the mid-eighties. Some of the flashbacks to the war are extremely gruesome and the heroin addict is portrayed unflinchingly. It's a brave and depressing film - totally honest. (Strangely, the lead actor, who was the director's brother, went on to score the Austin Powers' films.)
February 2, 2013
Available uncut on DVD from Arrow.
½ January 9, 2013
I was somewhat floored by this dread ridden slice of Namsploitation. Here i am expecting some tromatastic Taxi Driver clone and what i got was a surprise sense of substance with Combat Shock. This is the textbook definition of "grunge art". Along with "Bring Me The Head Of Alfredo Garcia", here's a film choking itself with so much nihilism, it creates a tone of hopelessness so constant and relentless, you are enticed nonetheless.

The production values are piss poor and could not be more fitting. Non actors, tone deaf mood synth and low, even for troma standard of cinematography all combine to immerse you into one mans constant nightmare existence.

I cannot recommend this film on any level of entertainment or conventional basis of merit. It's just an experience so devoted to its depression, it comes off as potent, even moving.

Still, for die hard celluloid cynics only.
½ September 17, 2012
A grim low budget story of a Vietnam vet set on the mean streets of NYC as he tries to maintain his increasingly slipping sanity, this one has a certain reputation behind it that I've always been curious about, so I was happy to finally give it a peep off the To-Watch Pile.

It lives up to most of the hype, and would be recommended to most anyone who is a fan of low budget horror.
September 9, 2012
Director's Cut (92 min.)
April 10, 2012
troma's raunchy rendition of full metal jacket with a little slice of eraserhead thrown in.
February 5, 2012
Good original film but not a movie I'd watch twice in a hurry
½ June 23, 2011
Combat Shock almost feels like Troma is trying to develop a film with meaning and psychological complexity, but it never quite gets there. But Combat Shock ends up just being another brainless exploitation film that actually surfers from a more fundamental flaw than most--it is boring as hell. Between the massacre at the beginning and the killings at the end, the film is nothing more than mindless drama set in the American ghetto that is never moving, horrific, or meaningful. Combat Shock opens like it might bring more significance to the Troma line, but it proves to be nothing more than garbage before the film's credits role just like most of Troma's cheap and worthless films.
June 14, 2011
Watched the "director's cut", under the original AMERICAN NIGHTMARE title last night. I'd forgotten how influenced by ERASERHEAD Giovinazzo was when it made this. The depiction of urban rot and decay goes farther than Lynch film and makes for a far more uncomfortable viewing experience.
Super Reviewer
February 21, 2011
Really good, but really depressing and shocking.
½ January 12, 2011
Exceptionally gritty, ugly and depressing. I don't mind the amateurish acting - this is a ferociously independent film doesn't need the egos of "real" actors ruining it.
½ December 6, 2010
Directed by Buddy Giovinazzo in 1986, this is probably the most depressing Vietnam vet movie ever made.

Plot: The story is very simple. An ex prisoner of war tries to survive unemployment, hunger, drug addiction, extreme poverty, and a nagging wife. To make matters worse, our friend Frankie was exposed to the spraying of Agent Orange over Vietnam during the war. The outcome after his 2 year captivity as a P.O.W, is a constant screaming deformed baby.


Frankie is constantly nagged by his wife for being a victim of post Vietnam unemployment. As Frankie tries to find employment failing miserably, he wanders the streets avoiding the discomfort of his home. Our friend is starving and drinks sour milk out of desperation.
He later meets an addict friend in lack of a needle. He is trying to cut his veins open with rusty coat hanger to sprinkle the drugs into. As he continues to wander the slums, he meets a gang of thugs with bad hair, who beat him up and mug him.

I'm sure you can imagine how the film progresses, so there is no need to go into further detail.

Filmed on a budget lower than the film looks, it actually helps the narrative and mood. The photography looks clumsy and the editing cheap and rushed. The soundtrack is awful weird 80's synth that goes on and on through out the whole film, irritating the viewer. There are long shots of Frankie walking the streets doing nothing at all. A lot of the film is told in flashbacks and hallucinations as well. The downbeat low production value actually helps the films mood and looks.

Don't let this put you down because it is all quite nicely put together and delivers a punch. This is bleak depressing stuff, filmed in the outskirts of Staten Island. Strong stomachs are required, so you have been warned.

Not a film to recommend if you're not into the genre, but if you enjoy weird films as a sleazy anthropological discovery, you're in for a treat. Just imagine "Taxi Driver meets Eraserhead" on a budget cheaper than a roll of toilet paper.

I had this on a Norwegian VHS that trimmed the final anti climatic ending by 15 minutes. It is now available totally uncut as a "Directors Cut" DVD released by Troma.


Okay ... I can't help myself ... the final 15 min : Frankie throws his screaming deformed infant in the oven and blows his brains out.

Sorry folks.
½ September 20, 2010
The ultimate tale of a disgruntled Nam vet. It's a Troma version of Taxi Driver/ First Blood etc, but all rolled into one story and character.I don't think I've ever been so depressed watching a movie, not only does he live a life of misery he ends it in misery. The ending of this movie is worth the whole thing, I've never seen one person cause so much self inflicted chaos and destruction.
September 14, 2010
not much to say about this one. watch, take it in, and beware the feelings that follow.
Super Reviewer
½ August 2, 2010
In stark contrast to most of the rest of the Troma catalog this film is a bleak portrait of a war veteran, haunted by visions of war, suffering in poverty and trying to create a decent living for himself and his family. It gets worse though... His first born child is badly deformed due to agent orange that was sprayed on him during Vietnam, he is unable to find a job and is constantly hassled by loan shark goons, all his friends are junkies in just as bad shape as him and he is soon to be evicted from his apartment, with no prospects in site. A scathing critique of America in the 1980's for sure, and not for the feint of heart. Must see for fans of Taxi Driver, Eraserhead, Driller Killer, I Stand Alone, The Bicycle Thieves and others of that ilk.
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