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We Were Soldiers [DVD] (2002)


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Product details

  • Actors: Mel Gibson, Madeleine Stowe, Greg Kinnear, Sam Elliott, Chris Klein
  • Directors: Randall Wallace
  • Producers: Randall Wallace, Stephen McEveety, Bruce Davey
  • Format: PAL, Anamorphic, Widescreen, Dolby, Digital Sound
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: 15
  • Studio: Icon Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: 5 Nov. 2007
  • Run Time: 132 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (208 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000TQLJBO
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 4,669 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Reviews

Product Description

Mel Gibson stars as Colonel Hal Moore in this big budget war movie telling the true story of the Battle of Landing Zone X-Ray. The year is 1965 and Colonel Moore's men arrive in the highlands of South Vietnam ready to carry out a search-and-destroy mission. But thanks to a fault in military intelligence, they disembark near a large North Vietnamese army base and soon find themselves surrounded. What follows is a three-day battle resulting in massive casualties for both sides.

From Amazon.co.uk

We Were Soldiers, based on the bestselling account of the battle of La Drang valley at the outset of the Vietnam War, is the latest Mel Gibson Braveheart-esque offering where plot and characterisation, rather than the men who lost their lives in the conflict, are the most serious casualties. The story follows Lt. Colonel Hal Moore (Gibson) and his platoon through a brief spell at boot camp and then into the battle itself.

In place of the moral ambiguity offered by, say, Platoon or Hamburger Hill, We Were Soldiers presents us with archetypes. Gibson's family man colonel is almost a parody of Patton, a man with so much heart you wonder how he manages to get up in the morning. He's a good Catholic, loves his men, and tells us that he's the first one on the battlefield and the last one off. And if that self-eulogising wasn't enough we have the slow-mo, heavily scored last-one-into-the-helicopter moment to prove it. In uncomfortably jingoistic contrast, the commander of the Viet Cong never leaves his cavernous headquarters as he sends his faceless foot soldiers to their death.

What saves the film are Ryan Hurst's performance as the stoic Sergeant Ernie Savage and Barry Pepper's non-combatant journalist who gets caught up in the action and has to fight to survive, both of whom inject some much-needed humanity into the action. Otherwise there is so little character development before the offensive that you find yourself squinting at the screen trying to work out who just bought the bullet when you really should be feeling every gunshot. Braveheart scribe Randall Wallace's direction is heavy handed and over sentimental--relentless violence masquerades as poignant remembrances of the futility of war--and the only time it ever approaches genuine emotion is the scene where the wives begin receiving telegrams detailing their husband's deaths. When measured against Hamburger Hill and Full Metal Jacket, We Were Soldiers doesn't even deserve to be in the same platoon. --Kristen Bowditch --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Holly Rose on 17 Mar. 2003
Format: DVD
I have read the book, 'We Were Soldiers Once.... And Young' and it had me in tears. I watched the movie for my Media Studies Coursework and I was in more tears than when I read the book.
Admittedly, it is obvious it is an American movie, obvious in the sense you hate the Vietnamese people after ten minutes of watching it, but the emotions felt as you watch the families and the soldiers suffer during and even after the war is over really touches the heart.
I personally loved the film. I'm thinking about doing it as a coursework piece at university, and I'll study the book as a comparison piece.
CLever camera angles and lighting techniques make the viewer feel like part of the action, and the shots of the families receiving telegrams pulls even the toughest of heart strings.
Five out of five, no doubt about it.
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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful By John on 20 Oct. 2009
Format: DVD
I watched this film from the perspective of someone who has served in the Armed Forces, in a war zone. I found it to be completely real. Mel Gibson instantly reminded me of the few commanders I have served under, for whom we would have gone to the gates of hell and beyond. The relationship between him and his staff, both commissioned and non-commissioned was entirely believable.

Given that one of the advisors was the reporter we see in the film, its not surprising that the portrayal of this battle as frightening, disjointed at times and completely alien in many ways comes over so well.

I don't 'love' this film, I respect it. It reminds me of both the nobility and horror of war both of which retain their own authenticity in this portrayal. In that sense, it is a great film.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Adam Bird on 18 Aug. 2009
Format: Blu-ray
This is one of my favourite war movies and was thrilled that it was on Blu Ray, but unfortunetly the picture is not of HD/Blu Ray quality.

It didn't diminish my enjoyment of the film, as it was like a slightly better DVD, but in comparison to others Blu Ray conversions, this rates bottom of the pile in the few that I have seen.

5 for the movie/ 1 for the Blu Ray, total score = 3.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By PGOONER on 2 April 2011
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I have bought and sold this DVD 3 times now and I still come back to It. It Is the ultimate Vietnam War Film, normally I can't abide Gibson and his over the top acting, but In this Instance he's a church going family man with loads of kids. He loves reading Military History and this Is his secret for eventually winning against an equally smart and tough NVA General.
He goes into this Impossible area of tension not knowing In my view how many enemy he has to face and you get these massive battles which are quite horrific with casualties on both sides, and you feel the losses of all these very young men, mostly married with Children.
This brings me to the Colonels wife who Is the lead female for all the other wifes who frankly don't realise what there men are walking Into and slowly but surely start to receive the dreaded telegrams It gets so bad that she tells the mailman to bring all the telegrams to her and she and her friend go round to the houses.
Much later on after all the battles are over she see's the taxi that brings the telegrams and finally thinks here It Is It's my turn now but It Is Gibson finally coming back and there Is this beautiful family scene of surprise and welcome.
To round this up this Film was all the better because It was a true story and gave an added measure of poignancy.
Finally a special mention for Sam Elliott, his cameo as the troop sargent major was brilliant, as ever he gives full value, In particular his comment to Gibson when they are discussing Tactics and he uses the Immortal words, No Colonel Custer was a Pussy was brilliant.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Spike Owen TOP 500 REVIEWER on 14 Mar. 2011
Format: DVD
On Sunday November 14th, Lt. Col. Hal Moore {Mel Gibson} and his 400 strong regiment touched down at Landing Zone X-Ray in the Ia Drang Valley, Vietnam. Surrounded by around 2000 North Vietnamese soldiers who were well trained and well versed with the terrain, Moore's troopers fought for 56 hours. It was a bloody and brutal battle that was the first major engagement of the Vietnam War. It was "The Valley Of Death" in more ways than one.

Directed by Randall Wallace, We Were Soldiers is based on the book "We Were Soldiers Once... And Young" by Moore and reporter Joseph L. Galloway. As always when a War film comes out you get the usual statements trundled out. Things such as "the most realistic yet" and "finally a film to tell it as it was," both of which were applied to Wallace's movie. If they happen to be true I have no idea, what with not being a combat veteran myself. What I do know is that personally, We Were Soldiers hits many many high points in its running time of 138 minutes.

After a crucial 30 minute build up of the characters, the film switches to the landing of the "boys" in Vietnam. From here the action never lets up, with Wallace and his team stunningly recreating the brutality and harshness of this bloody engagement. But crucially the action does not detract from its characters, having been engaged with them at the start of the film, the makers ensure that we stay with these men throughout the battle. Also of note is that the film shows the Vietnamese side of the battle, the fair treatment of both sides a most rewarding thing to see in a War film. There's brilliant cut aways to the Women and families at home, themselves fighting a battle to not lose their minds as their men fight in some faraway land.
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