Made in 1978, 'Dog Soldiers' is an adaptation of Robert Stone's classic post-'Nam novel of the same name - though it is a film sometimes known under another title, 'Who'll Stop the Rain?'.
Nick Nolte, escaping the potential typecasting of 'Rich Man, Poor Man' & generic-silliness like 'The Deep', made a consious move towards grittier material and bleaker roles. 'Dog Soldiers' would put Nolte on the course that lead to challenging material like 'Under Fire',Scorsese's episode of 'New York Stories','Afterglow' & 'Mother Night.' There is excellent support here in the form of Tuesday Weld (Once Upon a Time in America, Looking for Mr.Goodbar), Michael Moriarty & Anthony Zerbe.
The film itself is a faithful adaptation of Stone's novel, which captures the bleak post-'Nam/Nixon zeitgeist - centring on a Vietnam Vet (Nolte) attempting to smuggle heroin back into the U.S. and descending into a situation that reminds me of Neil Young's bleak drug-murder song 'Tired Eyes' (from 'Tonight's the Night'). As such it's one of the downer films of the late 70s and anthithesis to the shiny-happy likes of such blockbusters as 'Stars Wars' & 'Close Encounters of the Third Kind.' One to file next to 'Blue Collar','Out of the Blue', 'Straight Time','Rolling Thunder' & 'New York, New York.' No happy endings...
'Dog Soldiers' is a welcome issue on DVD, a film that seems overlooked- as is the work of Robert Stone come to think of it! Finally, it should be noted that as one of the initial works of U.S. cinema that addressed the stigma of Vietnam, alongside 'Hearts & Minds'(1974),'Rolling Thunder'(1977),'The Deer Hunter' (1979) & 'Coming Home' (1978). A bleak cult classic then-