WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
A naïve young American (Charlie Sheen) enlists in the army in order to help fight the war in Vietnam. While he dreams of glory and honor for his country, his life soon becomes a walking nightmare as he’s forced to adjust to the horrors and evils of combat. The movie details his stay in the jungles and his awful psychological transformation.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
This movie is a grim and extremely authentic look at one of America’s biggest tragedies, a film that isn’t afraid to expose the inhumanity of its own soldiers. I sat through this it, basically shaking my head at many of the things which took place in the barracks, unable to understand how any of this could have actually taken place. Stone doesn’t pull any punches and looks to grab viewers by the throat and throw them into the madness and terror which defined the war. The action sequences are at times, terrifying, as we truly get a sense of the carnage that was taking place. We’re forced to watch as bullets fly and bombs explode, trapped within Stone’s terrible pseudo-documentary. Sitting through the entire movie, it’s easy to forget that this is just as Hollywood picture because it comes across as being so damn real.
With that having been said, there were a number of things which I really didn’t care for. As much as he tried to act and play a serious role, Charlie Sheen seemed out of place for such a hard nosed drama. His acting is probably the best of any movie he’s been in but I can’t help but think someone else could’ve done a MUCH better job than him. One scene in particular, where he starts getting angry at his commanding officer, seemed painfully forced and overacted. Platoon succeeds in exposing what really happened in the war but I also had trouble connecting with many of the supporting characters. They often came off as one dimensional, with little depth to distinguish them or grab my sympathy. The movie itself unfolded at a very slow pace and just when things started to get going, we generally got lulled back into another slow lapse in pacing. Despite that, it still manages to send its message home with plenty of disturbing visuals and gut wrenching action, making for a very solid war movie.
Kicking off the added supplements is “Tour of the Inferno”, a 53-minute super comprehensive documentary which revisits many of the actors from the movie and allows them to share their experiences from production. We learn that the cast was forced to sign up under the intentions that they would go to boot camp to prepare for their roles, ultimately achieving a higher level of realism. It’s not your typical “fluffy” featurette and is one of the best produced documentaries I’ve seen in quite some time, don’t miss it. Also included amongst the extras is the original theatrical trailer and 3 TV spots as well as a behind-the-scenes gallery of still images from the filming of the movie. You’ll also find a gallery of 4 posters which were used when the movie ran in theatres. The main menu is completely animated (dogs tags swing in the middle of the screen), with the movie’s haunting score and dialogue clips playing in the background.
This is one solid DVD from start to finish. It’s got some seriously kick ass extras, including two excellent commentary tracks and one mother of a documentary. While most discs nowadays try and cram as much added extras as possible, this release seems to be going for quality over quantity. My only beef with Platoon is the somewhat lackluster audio and video, which could’ve been so much better. While it loses marks in that department, it still makes for a solid disc which is a borderline purchase. People cruising the aisles of their video store looking for a gritty portrayal of war don’t have to luck any further, this one will definitely fit the bill.