We Were Soldiers Reviews
A telling of the 1st Battalion, 7 Cavalry Regiment, 1st Calvary Division's battle against overwhelming odds in the La Drang valley of Vietnam in 1965. Seen through the eyes of the battalion's commander, Lt. Col. Hal Moore (played by Mel Gibson), we see him take command of the battalion and its preparations to go into Vietnam. We also see how the French had, years earlier, been defeated in the same area. The battle was to be the first major engagement between US and NVA forces in Vietnam and showed the use of helicopters as mobility providers and assault support aircraft.
Very gritty battle scenes. Captures well the chaos and confusion of battle, plus the desperation and terror involved when things aren't going well. Mostly accurate, by most accounts, though some minor liberties are taken for dramatic effect.
The problem, however, lies with just about everything else. Dialogue is quite over-the-top, as if just about everybody is played by John Wayne. Many simple passages of dialogue are turned into speeches, and cliche-filled speeches at that.
In keeping with the cheesy dialogue, some pretty heavy-handed, overly gung ho scenes too. Once again, reminded me of a John Wayne movie.
Overall, quite entertaining, just uneven because of the mix of gritty battle scenes and cheesy dialogue and other scenes.
The action is intense and bloody; those squeamish should skip this one. I do appreciate how it remains respectful, yet not at all jingoistic with the American heroes. It also portrays the Vietcong warriors in a respectful manner. Its an unusually classy war movie.