Platoon Leader

  • 1988
  • Movie
  • R
  • War

While some recent Vietnam films superbly show the ambivalence and dislocation American troops felt in Southeast Asia, others have more modestly aimed just to be entertaining. PLATOON LEADER is in the latter class, pale in comparison to PLATOON or APOCALYPSE NOW but--considered in the context of the entire war film genre--not bad, either. Jeff Knight (Michael...read more

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While some recent Vietnam films superbly show the ambivalence and dislocation American troops felt in Southeast Asia, others have more modestly aimed just to be entertaining. PLATOON LEADER is in the latter class, pale in comparison to PLATOON or APOCALYPSE NOW but--considered in the

context of the entire war film genre--not bad, either. Jeff Knight (Michael Dudikoff) is the title character, a young lieutenant fresh from the States. Stationed at a small firebase, he is at first the butt of jokes from his battle-hardened men. Under the tutelage of sargeant McNamara (Robert F.

Lyons), he soon learns the ropes and leads daily patrols into the bush, captured in some effective scenes. When it is learned that the Viet Cong are preparing a major attack on the base and the village it protects, Knight leads a preemptive strike against the enemy, but a breakdown of

communications causes the attack's failure. McNamara is wounded and the village left in flames--its inhabitants dead or scattered, the firebase without a purpose. Despite its pandering title (changed from NAM after the success of PLATOON) and no-name cast, PLATOON LEADER is fairly watchable. Aaron

Norris' direction shows some improvement over his debut in brother Chuck's BRADDOCK: MISSING IN ACTION III. Dudikoff has just the right square-jawed sincerity as the young officer trying to make his training jibe with the reality of combat, and Lyons' performance as the savvy sergeant is in the

finest tradition of this rather cliched character.

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  • Released: 1988
  • Rating: R
  • Review: While some recent Vietnam films superbly show the ambivalence and dislocation American troops felt in Southeast Asia, others have more modestly aimed just to be entertaining. PLATOON LEADER is in the latter class, pale in comparison to PLATOON or APOCALYPS… (more)

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