Saturday, April 06, 2002

No Sanctuary

The mark of a truly terrible newspaper is that no section of it is safe from biased and/or inaccurate information and sloppy writing. I give you this movie capsule from the Minneapolis Star Tribune:

We Were Soldiers Not since 1968's "The Green Berets" has there been a Vietnam War movie with as much flag-waving spirit. Mel Gibson commands a U.S. unit lured into a Viet Cong Trap.

A coupla points to make here.

1. The comparison with "The Green Berets" is clearly intended as a snipe at "We Were Soldiers" since sophisticated movie critics know that any movie about Vietnam that does not portray the US involvement in a negative light is obviously flawed. The sad thing is that while "The Green Berets" was definitely a pro-American movie it wasn't a mindless propaganda film as many portray it today. And it certainly was not the only other Vietnam War movie that was not blatantly anti-American although there have been many of those. I would say that "Full Metal Jacket" could be considered a classic war movie that portrayed American soldiers positively and heroicly for the most part. "Bat 21" and "Go Tell the Spartans" also fit into this category.

2. Anyone who knows anything about the history of the Vietnam War or who paid any attention to "We Were Soldiers" would know that the battle in the Ia Drang Valley that the movie depicts was not against the Viet Cong but rather against North Vietnamese Army regulars. This was significant since it was the first major clash of US and NVA troops during the war. Some might say this is a small mistake but it speaks volumes to me.