By guest reviewer Deke RichardsPLOT: Set in 1968 during the Vietnam War, a group of
REVIEW: When The Arrow showed me the TUNNEL RATS trailer, he didn't tell me who directed it. he asked me what I though; I liked it! Then he said: "who do you think directed it" with a smile on his face. I had no clue. When he told me it was UWE BOLL, I was bamboozled - didn't see that coming! Having seen many Uwe Boll movies, I must say he's growing up with his newest addition TUNNEL RATS. I mean there was no 360 degree “bullet time” camera shots a la HOUSE OF THE DEAD, no badly choreographed BLOODRAYNE sword fights and no Ray Liotta in a leather wizard coat like in RETURN OF THE KING. Absolutely no Boll silliness in this one. Didn't even felt like he directed it!
Instead what I got was a grounded flick as to story and visual approach which followed in the tradition of PLATOON and SAVING PRIVATE RYAN. It basically took the best of both those movies, in regards to the battle scenes and did them with a smaller budget. Now where the film may have lacked in money, it certainly made up in visuals, detail and settings. With most of the story taking place in a tunnel network, Boll excelled at conveying the claustrophobia that came with them during in combat. In fact, the tunnel scenes almost felt like borderline horror sequences in mood and violence. We get lots of stabbings, a gory impaling, and a rotten corpse all while these soldiers were “Alone in the Dark” (literally) battling it out with the Viet Cong!
The acting by all the relative newcomers was solid but unfortunately, unlike say PLATOON, most of the characters were walking clichés. You know the deal: The homesick newcomer to the platoon, the jaded soldier who had seen it all, the slick G.I. who wants to party all the time (Hey, you got to cut the edge somewhere), the conscientious platoon leader, and of course the whacked out trooper who is on the verge of breaking up under pressure. One character that did stand out was the role played by the great Michael Pare, who did his own version of Tom Berenger in PLATOON. Nothing wrong with that, seeing that Pare added his usual charismatic style to the part, complemented by his big pecks (Damn that guy is in shape)!Although the film ran at a good length without overdoing its welcome, I had some issues with the pacing of some scenes (like the overlong beheading of a dead Viet Cong guerrilla). My main qualm with the film though was that it brought really nothing new to the war genre (its horror like scenes aside), its story was overly familiar, therefore, although I enjoyed, it was nothing I hadn’t seen before, a zillion times. In conclusion, on its own, it was average, been there done that, I appreciated the effort