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We Were Soldiers
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The year is 1965 and America is at War with North Vietnam. Commanding the air cavalry is Lt. Col. Hal Moore (Gibson), a born leader committed to his troops. His target: the La Drang Valley, called "The Valley of Death." As Moore prepares for one of the most violent battles in U.S. history, he delivers a stirring promise to his soldiers and their families: "I will leave no man behind dead or alive. We will all come home together."
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Mel Gibson plays another real life hero in Lt. Col. Hal Moore, US Army. The Vietnam War remains one of the most controversial conflicts that the US military has been involved in its storied history, but in this movie, the controversy takes a back seat to the heroism of the men who fought a war that their country had told them to. These brave men of the US Army's 7th Air Cavalry fought, died and those fortunate to survive in the Ia Drang Valley of South Vietnam had their story told on paper and thanks to the involvement of Mel Gibson, that story comes to life.
The training of the men involved in the months before the attack to their eventually deployment after the many months after the Gulf of Tonkin resolution is told here as well as the principal three days of battle as well. As well as the life of Colonel Moore and his family. Mel Gibson plays a reserved and devout family man who is wise and strong on the battlefield with his men. Truly Mel has done a great job in playing dozens of heroes before. The fact that its a real person he's portraying only adds to it.
But there is also another really good story told on the part of actress Madeleine Stowe who plays Julie Moore, the colonel's devoted wife. A sort of homefront storyline in which she takes command of the military wives doing basic things as in taking care of their needs in the absence of their husbands but probably the best scene in which she takes it upon herself to notify them of tragedy in the Army's callous indifference.
The acting is phenomenal and the action is brutal and true to life. Heroism can be told without silly propaganda and that's what is seen here, with respect and honesty. Mel Gibson, Madeleine Stowe, Greg Kinnear, Sam Elliot, Chris Klein, Keri Russell and so many others make a powerful movie. So much has been made about Vietnam's controversy, but its great to finally see a movie of the men who fought it with dignity.
Truly a great movie.