3/10
Compounded cliches and rampant cheesiness = boredom
25 October 2002
I gave this a 3 because it was OK if I turned a blind eye to the flaws (Braveheart got a 2 from me for the same reasons). However, I had to keep my blind eye turned most of the time. The violence was interesting (the napalm injuries almost made me hurl), but the script...ye gods! Actually, it read like Braveheart in so many ways in that you can almost utter the lines before the actor does because each situation which can provide a stock, boring and predictable piece of dialogue DOES. Randall Wallace is a one-note screenwriter, and it's a very flat note at that. I mean, "Tell my wife I love her?" and "How can I forgive myself that my boys died and I didn't?" Haven't we heard these lines scads of times before? They're simplistic and truthful, but they have been done over and over and it's a cop out to hear actors say them anymore.

The weepy scenes with Madeleine Stowe tried the patience as well because they were also so damn familiar that I knew what was coming up and could even predict the expressions on her face and the montages. Speaking of montages, the one with the journalist snapping the pictures was out and out cheesy. That's a word that sums up this movie: cheesy.

I felt no attachment to the characters at all. It was just bullets and blood and dead bodies. Another movie that has this same receipe is Black Hawk Down, but BHD was an excellent movie with an amazing central peformance by Josh Hartnett and solid supporting performances that made the movie memorable in every respect. This movie, because it was basically a Mel Gibson vehicle, gave him the only meat to work with and short-shrifted the others. But since the script stunk to high heaven, it doesn't make a bit of difference. I'd recommend BHD over this one anyday.
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