Hindsight being 20/20 it is a bit hard to swallow the opening rah-rah patriotism and pro-Vietnam war stance of The Green Berets, now available on Blu-ray. Still, the movie is not as jingoistic as it begins. This war movie Blu-ray is in the decent enough but too long category. The Green Berets mostly suffers from being a WW II style war movie about a more modern war about which better, more eloquent, and more interesting stylistically and historically movies have been made.
The Green Beret’s main weakness is it takes a long time to get rolling and for stuff to blow up. It also parades a few of the usual Hollywood war movie clichés like the soldier who can scrounge up everything and the slightly disturbed soldier. This war movie also tries to have lighthearted moments and they do not quite work. As for special effects, Roger Corman had a bigger budget. It also tries to tell a second story after the first is told and the two do not connect.
John Wayne plays your basic John Wayne idealistic, dedicated, and determined good soldier. This time around he is leading the Green Beret forces and a left wing journalist (David Janssen) in Vietnam. Jack Soo, Yemana on Barney Miller, plays Wayne’s Vietnamese counterpart. George Takei plays a captain.
Colonel Kirby (Wayne) has been transferred to South Viet Nam. Before he takes full command of the forces Kirby and his men spend three weeks in a forward base camp in enemy territory. This involves a lot of setting up and character introductions.
Once in country, the movie makes a point of telling but not really showing how evil the Viet Cong were. The tales are probably true but the movie itself fails to make you believe what is being said.
Even a war movie or John Wayne fan will find The Green Berets Blu-ray an effort to watch. It doesn’t have much energy nor does it have much to carry the viewer through. Watching Jack Soo and especially George Takei doing a Vietnamese accent is hard on the willing suspension of disbelief.
The Green Berets Blu-ray special features are limited to a making of.
Other John Wayne DVD:John Wayne - Rooster Cogburn John Wayne - The Shootist