is more than merely Deliverance
in the Louisiana Bayou. Walter Hill's taut little tale of weekend warrior National Guardsman on swamp exercises reverberates with echoes of Vietnam. Powers Booth brings a hard pragmatism to the "new guy" in the unit, a Texas transplant less than thrilled with his new unit. "They're just Louisiana versions of the same rednecks I served with in El Paso", he tells level-headed Keith Carradine.
The barely functional unit of city boys and macho rednecks invade the environs of the local Cajun trappers and poachers, "borrowing" the locals' boats and sending bursts of blank rounds over their heads in a show of contempt. Before they know it the dysfunctional strangers in a strange land are on the losing end of guerrilla war. The swamp rats kill their commanding officer (Peter Coyote) and terrorise the bickering bunch as they flee blindly through the jungle without a map, a compass, or a leader to speak of. Hill directs with a clean simplicity, creating tension as much from the primal landscape and the Cajuns' unsettling reign of terror as from the dynamics of a platoon of battle virgins tearing itself apart from rage and fear. Ry Cooder's eerie and haunting score and the primal, claustrophobic landscape only intensifies the paranoia as the city boys splinter with infighting (sparked by a bullying Fred Ward), blunder through booby traps and ambushes, and finally turn just as savage as their pursuers in their drive to survive. --Sean Axmaker, Amazon.com
Walter Hill's action thriller has been interpreted as an allegory for the Vietnam war. While on an exercise in Louisiana, a group of National Guard members steal some canoes from the local Cajuns. Pursued by the angry locals, one of the men decides to fire at them, albeit with blanks. The Cajuns respond with real bullets, killing the team's commander, Poole (Peter Coyote). The men, none of whom are real soldiers, are now forced to fight for their lives.