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Uncommon Valor

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Director Ted Kotcheff sure loves those Vietnam movies. As well as Uncommon Valor, he also directed "First Blood.



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Uncommon Valor starts, as many other Vietnam War films did, with a slo-mo battle scene and handfuls of GI soldiers heading for the hills to evac a particularly hostile environment. Unfortunately, the choppers are taking heavy fire also and are forced to leave men on the ground. We see Sailor (Randall 'Tex' Cobb at his best) fighting on the chopper to get to his friends, particularly a young soldier named Frank, but all to no avail.

The choppers leave and Frank and his buddies are left behind and captured by the Vietnamese.

Thus, the stage is set for yet another "let's go in and get our boys out of a vietnamese hell-hole" that was oh so popular back in the 80's. However, unlike Rambo and Braddock, this rescue mission cannot be carried out by one man alone.

Enter Gene Hackman, playing Col Rhodes, father of one Frank Rhodes (yes, THAT Frank!) who will not accept that his son is dead and despite Washington's best efforts to stop him, decides to get together a team of men to go in and get the job done.

The Colonel recruits a rag tag bunch of soldiers and pilots all of who fought in 'Nam, many of whom knew Frank and persuades them to help out. Assisted by a tough young marine officer (Patrick Swayze) he prepares his men for a battle to prove Washington wrong and save the men abandoned by their government.

Many obstacles appear to hinder the progress of the mission and many a fine action scene ensues, holding our attention to the very end in what, to me, is one of the best 80's "rescue the POW's" movies out there.

Verdict?

Uncommon Valor is probably a lot less well known than Rambo: First Blood Part 2 and Missing in Action but is all the better for it. In those movies the viewer is asked to suspend belief whilst one man takes on an army by himself, risking life and limb for a cause. Uncommon Valor sees a father fighting for his son, with the help of a crack unit of veterans.

Think the Magnificent 7 for the Vietnam era and you're not a million miles away.

I love this movie and it has some extremely memorable scenes, not least is the one in which Sailor finally pulls THAT pin... Yeeehaaaw!!!!

Notice any mistakes? Review

Strengths: Excellent action pieces. More believable than other similar movies. Good acting. Superb mix of action, tension and light-hearted moments. Even managed to avoid the sickly Hollywood Ending so common to these movie types.

Weaknesses? Only regret was the deaths of certain characters who I would like to have seen live to fight another day.

Our rating: 8.5 out of 10


Review Written by Simon Field:  Contact  |  More Reviews by Simon Field
Uncommon Valor