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Customer Review

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It's a lovely ***ing war!, 31 Oct. 2012
This review is from: Platoon [DVD] [1987] (DVD)
Platoon defined my eighties as much as Aliens did. It was arguably the first real film about the "police action" in Vietnam. It still is. The Green Berets was a repulsively sachrrine propaganda film. Apocalypse Now was Hearts of Darkness is an Asian setting. Full metal Jacket had an excellent first half, but the second half in-country was awful. The less said about Hamburger hill or the awful, awful Casualties of War, the better.

Platoon succeeds where others fail, because it feels so authentic. Stone is writing and directing what he experienced, and it shows. Checkout the extras to find out what the cast was put through to get performances Stone was happy with.

Chris, a volunteer turns up in 'Nam with the other FNGs. (The N stands for new, the G for Guy). One of the first things he sees is a row of body bags setup to occupy the plane he's leaving. One thousand yard stare later, and we're in the jungle with elements of Bravo company.

After a rude awakening, Chris' idealism has been replaced by a far less pleasant reality. Few experienced soldiers even want to know his name. They view him as they would any FNG. A risk. Someone who might get you killed.

His platoon, nominally run by a Leiutenant is split into two camps, personified by the Sergeants, Barnes and Elias. Barnes is utterly ruthless, vindictive and unbalanced. A frighteningly scarred figure who has been shot numerous times, and lived. Someone who believes the war is winnable if they were given authority to do "what was necessary".

The gaunt Elias has been in Vietnam at least as long as Barnes, and has come to the opposite conclusion. While Barnes may have lost his humanity voluntarily, Elias holds onto his. And he and Barnes hate each other with a passion.

The supporting cast is great. Keith David and Francesco Quinn particular standouts. You may also recognise a very young Johnny Depp and John C McGinley in his pre-Scrubs days.

An absolute must-see.
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