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3.3 out of 5 stars76
3.3 out of 5 stars
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on 7 January 2009
I had high hopes for this movie, and although it kept me entertained, it wasnt as good as I hoped.
The story revolves around a group of soldiers, nicknamed the "Tunnel Rats".
Their job is to enter the vast network of tunnels dug by the Vietcong and clear them out.

Due to the subject of the film, much is filmed as though underground and therefore very dark. This often annoys me on films, and this is no exception. The dark scenes often lack enough tension to pull them off, although there a few moments that draw you back in.

This film isnt one for the weak stomached. Not as gory as some war films, but still has some moments that will turn you green. As mentioned, the research in this film must have been last on the list. The uniforms arent right, the weapons handling leaves some to be desired and the general feel of the film is a bit lazy.

I wont give the ending away, but just to say I dont recall seeing a war film with an ending like this one. Lets just say there is no chance of a sequel!

To summerise. A decent enough watch, but I wouldnt rush out to watch again, plot is very basic, acting is ok but no stand out characters.
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on 16 August 2012
Since I visited Vietnam a few years ago on holiday I've been fascinated by the Vietnam War (which was raging when I was a youngster, but which I never took much notice of at the time - it was just THERE, on the news every night, in the background, like wallpaper). When I was there I went into, and was astonished by, the tunnels at Cu Chi, and so naturally, when I discovered the existence of this film, I decided to give it a go, despite some decidedly iffy reviews.
Did I make the right decision? Yes, most definitely.

It's not a perfect film, but then it's got the disadvantage of competing against the memory and reputation of "Apocalypse Now" and a whole raft of other films made with bigger budgets and more PR support. One needs to take this into account when judging it.
I think the worst thing about it is the uncertainty of tone which dominates the beginning of the film. There is a fairly amateurish attempt, for the first twenty minutes or so, at establishing character and tone which seems to have little to do with the tunnels in question, and which had me looking at my watch and debating whether or not to write it off and give it to a charity shop. However, after this it picks up. The men of the platoon assigned to deal with the tunnels of Cu Chi come to life once they start descending into the blackness and terror that await them.
The scenes dealing with action in the tunnels are remarkably effective. One gets a real sense of what it must have been like in those dark, cramped, airless tunnels, lit only by the uncertain light of candles or hand-held torches, filled with booby traps, and with the ever-present chance of bumping into the VC at any moment. The fight scenes are uncompromising and bitterly realistic; there are no happy endings for the heroes of either side (and one of the strengths of this film is that it shows the VC being as human, fallible, heroic and above all as REAL as the Americans, not just faceless cyphers to be shot up or bombed as they are in most other 'Nam films), and you come away with the feeling that you've just seen what it might have really been like - at least I did, though having been down the real thing (albeit sanitised for tourists) probably helped.

My only gripes, apart from the ones already mentioned, are rather like those of some other reviewers in that they tend towards the pedantic. We see VC/NVA soldiers wearing tin helmets - I always thought they wore either pith-helmets or no headgear at all (but maybe I'm wrong about this). Also, most of the young Vietnamese men have beards and moustaches - I never saw a young man with any facial hair at all when I was in Vietnam, and I've never seen a photo of a VC or NVA combatant, dead or alive, with any facial hair either - facial hair seems to be a preserve of the elderly in Vietnam. And finally, if what I've read is correct, the real tunnel rats were all volunteers, selected for their aptitude - what we see in this film is, apparently, a platoon of ordinary grunts just plucked out of the air and shoved down the tunnels willy-nilly, whether they like it or not. With all due respect to military discipline, this wasn't the kind of job that you could force just any old Tom, Dick or Harry to do - if ever there was a time and place that you needed volunteers for a dangerous job, this was it.

So, a remarkably good film, caveats notwithstanding, that deserves a better hearing than it's got so far (I've given it four rather than five stars purely because of the reservations mentioned above). Live dangerously and give it a go.
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Tunnels rats was an extremely tense film that made me jump and cringe in equal measure. Jump as traps were sprung in pitch black tunnels, and cringe as the traps took their terrible, gory, toll. In the end, it's a wonder anyone managed to survive the real life tunnels in vietnam to pass on the horror stories on which this film is based.

Although not a true story, all the events in the film did actually happened. The characters and were made up, but their stories weren't. Everything you see in the film that happens in the tunnels, happened to someone in real life at some point. A nasty thought.

Tunnel rats follows a special unit of the American army, tasked with clearing these warren-like tunnels, and life expectancy in this real life unit was 1 to 2 weeks. It was a certain death sentence more or less, and this film shows us exactly why. The film is aptly named as these poor guys really were like rats trapped in a maze, being picked off at will through a series of crude but deadly traps and clever tunnel architecture.

The film doesn't just concentrate on the American perspective though, and the hell they had to endure down these holes. It shows the war, events and life in the tunnels from the perspective of the Viet Cong too. This was a nice touch and made for and tense ending.

I don't want to talk too much about the film really or give too much away. And in fact there isn't really much to give away as it centres around the team clearing one stretch of tunnels no more than 3 foot wide (but who knows how long as they stretched for miles) - but the system proves to be more than a handful for everyone involved.

This film was a nice little surprise. A hidden gem I'd heard nothing about before. In the end 1968 Tunnel Rats (to give it its full title) turned out to be a unique and tense film about a well known aspect of the Vietnam war that, oddly, has never been covered before.

This is all the more strange when you consider that the tunnels were the main reason the vietnam war proved impossible for America to win. This film portrays exactly why that was with frightening and graphic realism. A good film and a must see if you're a fan of war film. overall I'd give it about 7.5 or 8 out of 10.
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on 2 April 2010
This is a Canadian film made by a German director filmed in South Africa concerning tunnel operations conducted by the 25th (US) Infantry division during the Vietnam war in Cu Chi province in 1968.

The film raises early on the usual Vietnam war film issue about "the new guy(s)" with liberal values coming into conflict with the reality of war when he/they join(s) a "tunnel rat" unit fighting the brutal subterranean war waged in the Cu Chi tunnel system. However this is not a film which considers whether the Vietnam War was right or wrong, but rather it deals with the narrower issue of whom on either side of the tunnel war would survive it.

As to the military aspects of the film, in so far as the film deals with the concept of underground operations in the Cu Chi tunnel system "the director gets it." The booby traps, punji stick traps, pit falls, water traps, rats, hand to hand fighting, danger of tunnel collapse etc in the tunnels are all portrayed.

In so far as the film attempts to portray iconic Vietnam War airmobility tactics or Vietnam War infantry jungle tactics generally, he does n't. For example, the director portrays a single unarmed Huey carrying replacement troops flying below hill-top level without top cover from a "slick," a "hog" or other air frame while it was being over-watched by the enemy and a forward operating base set in the jungle/bush without any clear perimeter, or a clear field of fire and with jungle cover up to the doors of every tent, sangar and bunker -with foreseeable consequences. Better military history or military tactical research prior to the commencement of filming would have been of benefit in this area.

The actors and actresses in the film are mostly unknown-which is all to the good in this case. Those playing the Vietcong/ Vietnamese roles generally give good performances. However the generally clean clothing and army boots, the pressed jungle green trousers and raser sharp trouser creases of some US troops in some "in-country scenes" are quite incongruous.

This DVD edition contains a bonus special feature which includes a revealing interview with the director during which he states that he was moved to make the film after having read only "one or two books" about the tunnels of Cu Chi. During the interview he also expresses the view that the Cu Chi tunnel system caused the US military defeat in Vietnam. This is undoubtedly a dubious and controversial view, but one which clearly has coloured the way in which he made the film: the VC are generally shown as emerging from their tunnels to annihilate US forces or annihilating the tunnel rats in the tunnels themselves. I cannot help thinking that it would have been preferable if the director's researchers had undertaken more thorough political and military historical research about the course and conduct of the Vietnam war prior to filming. The director also confirms that the dialogue was often adlibbed in shooting- which may explain some of the dialogue shortcomings criticised in other earlier Amazon reviews.

Nevertheless despite these criticisms,over all this film makes makes a good attempt to deal with an aspect of the Vietnam war that has received little or no cinema attention. If you have an interest in the military history of the Vietnam war and you are prepared to overlook the several inaccuracies in the film which would rightly upset or offend a Vietnam veteran, it is worth a look.
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on 31 July 2013
What a waste of time. I consider this film an insult to my bottom that had to develop carbuncles while I sat watching it. Slow pace, poor script even worse acting. I should have known from the cover which shows the wrong type of helicopter for the Vietnam war. Usually, if it has a crap cover, it reflects the contents. Don't waste your money...
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on 24 December 2009
I think the 1/5 score is not as true reflection of the movie. I would advise that reading The Tunnels of Cu Chi: A Remarkable Story of War. before wathcing this film doing so would put it in a whole different context. The film is not up there with the classics like Apocalypse Now, Platoon and Hamburger Hill and the reason is this film focuses solely on tunnel warfare. Where the films mentioned above have the freedom to cover all aspects of the war. Tunnel Rats has suspense and mindless violence but that is what the Vietnam War was all about. Good film recommended.
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on 12 January 2012
The cover of this DVD gives a clue as to what's contained in this film - stereotypical melodrama and factual inaccuracies... Blackhawk helicopters in 1968?! The film starts with the typical melodramatic cliches of Vietnam; arguing, fighting, whining, crying then moves on, incredibly slowly and with no apparent direction or plot development, to a bunch of amateur re-enactors wandering about the jungle like they're strolling around the War and Peace show. Their skills and drills are as appalling as their acting; firing an M60 one handed like Arnie?! Come off it, it takes 2 hands to lift the thing for a start! This film goes from bad to worse and I got bored and very annoyed with it. The ham acting was lame and the action scenes were straight out of a comic book. All it needed was someone shouting, "Aieeeee, death to the yankee imperialists!" and the whole awful piece of junk would have been complete.

Complete waste of time and money.
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on 19 March 2011
I thought this was going to be a rather interesting film at first however within the first few minutes it turned out to be nothing more than a not very well thought out survival flick.

Historically the weapons, uniforms and even the camo is incorrect, for example a mix of M16s are used from the original to the M16A2, the camouflaged helmet covers are 1980s issue. These are simple details that you don't have to be a historian to work out.....it's all online nowadays.

The storyline itself had promise but due to the typical survival flick nature it just was ruined.
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on 24 September 2012
Ok the film is all about the tunnel rats during the Vietnam war, the scenes are good and up close.
the story line is woeful!, i know the writers want to get a real life view of things but this is a film bad guys die good guys live or at least do something really wonderful just before they die or as they are dying, This did not happen in this film, everyone (bar two) die, Not a great film glad i never spent £14 to buy the original
PS this is my view, Vietnam was an awful war, many young men died thousands of miles from home, their bodies not even making it back for a burial, this film shows this for real
one star - for camera work
one star - for actors
one star - stunts etc
loss of two stars for storyline
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on 19 April 2013
My only disappointment with this DVD is that it's cropped from 2.35:1 to 1.78:1 aspect ratio. But the film is very very good - and very violent. Uwe Boll gets a bad rap, but with the right material his films are well worth seeing. I found his best films to be SEED, RAMPAGE, DARFUR, BLOODRAYNE (uncut unrated version only), and TUNNEL RATS. TUNNEL RATS is an exploitation film, with graphic violence bordering on horror, but it's also tense, with satisfactory or better performances, and well worth seeing. Dolby Digital 5.1 and 2.0. Cropped 16x9 1.78:1 ratio.
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