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Vietnam Veteran who has lost the plot. Along with the writers...
on 7 September 2014
I say spolier alert, but there's not really a great deal to spoil.
I was expecting this film to be along the lines of a vigilante Rambo theme - with the distrungtled Vietnam veteran dishing out his own brand of justice to some wayward bank robbers. Well this did happen, however in most vigilante films you tend to be on the vigilante's side as they are basically still a good guy deep down. Well in Battleground, the Vietnam veteran is far from just disgruntled and certainly not a good guy. He is completely derranged lunatic and whilst killing all the bank robbers one by one in a variety of inventive ways, he also indesciminately kills anybody else he meets as well. There is break in this for him to play a game of russian roulette (a la Deer Hunter) with one of the robbers he has captured, shot and then brought back to life, so I guess he was a pretty good medic too.
So he must be the bad guy, presumably having suffered a mental breakdown from his time at war, although there is no real back story to this, other than the fact he was a combat soldier in 'Nam. That leaves us with the bank robbers, but surely they're not the good guys either - they rob banks and kill policemen.
The only other character of note is the random girl that appears in the woods, who really seemed surplus to requirements for the whole story other than to look scared witless. The film does later start to make you think she will have a role to play in the closing stages of the plot, but she just gets wiped out by the maniac veteran after getting lost in the spawling tunnel system he has inexplicably built and booby trapped beneath the forest floor. I guess they couldn't think of any more ideas for her.
The killer has also managed to stockpile a fairly large arsenal of weaponry - it would not have surprised me if he had a couple of tanks tucked away down there... So the fight goes underground, pitting him against the most 'military' of the bank robbers - 'Tex' - although he's a bit too porky to have seen much combat. Anyway, despite his best efforts to kill the killer in a Kamikaze blaze of glory, he fails.
So its down to he leader of the bank robbers, who finally tries to make good his escape in the killers truck which, naturally, breaks down only yards from his house (?) so he just get's taken out by a grenade launcher (and the killer has also blown up his own truck as well...)
The film finished with our derranged killer lighting yet another cigar and... roll credits.
So story-wise it really is a complete mess, which is played out by some pretty mediocre acting.
Overall - no real point to this film. if it was supposed to be yet another anti-Vietnam statement then it fails miserably - rather the war-link just provides a vehicle for the killer to have his skills and arsenal of weaponry. If it was supposed to be a horror, it wasn't very scary. If it was just intended to be a straightforward action shooter, it lacked any decent action. It wasn't a vigilante film either.
I gave it two stars because it actually started out quite well, but once it got into the cat and mouse game in the forest, the writers really did just lose the plot.