Many war movies stylize war, glorify it, or soften it. We Were Soldiers (2002), thankfully, isn’t this type of film. Vietnam was a brutal war, and this movie really gives us a small glimpse of that brutality.
The film follows Lt. Colonel Hal Moore, and his cavalry in the Battle of Ia Drang. The US really wasn’t prepared for the war, especially since the Vietnamese were fighting on their own rugged home turf, with years and years of experience. Ia Drang was the first major battle for the Americans in the war and really set the stage for the rest of the war. The US was actually letting family members know about their deceased via telegram at first, that’s how unprepared they were for this very deadly war.
While the film primarily follows Moore and the US, occasionally it shows opposing Vietnamese soldiers, writing in a journal or mourning their losses. This technique further depicts the brutality of the war. People are on both sides, and no matter what side they are on, they really do believe they are fighting for the right side. People fighting against people.
I’m not sure about the historical accuracy of this adaptation, but I do know that it accomplishes its goal and making war realistic for the viewer. It really makes you appreciate what you have, and the many people who died defending it. Thank a veteran and thank God.
We Were Soldiers runs 138 minutes and is rated R. This film is not family friendly, it is quite violent with some language. I give it 8 ramheads out of 10.