Uncommon Valor (1983)
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I have a confession to make. This movie made me cry big, manly tears! It is shamelessly manipulating its subject matter into a tear-jerker, at which it is highly effective thanks to its stellar cast.
The horror of losing a son or a father, the joy of male camaraderie, of friends bonding and making sacrifices, these are all themes which easily pluck at the heartstrings of some men. When something like this is attempted with a poor cast and a poor script, it quickly sinks into the swamp of stinkers, but when the cast and script is of a sufficent good quality, then these movies can be highly effective.
Gene Hackman is the standout performer, as he often is, but everyone is good here, and it is interesting to see Swayze perform so well in one of his first roles.
The movie also acted as an early flick of theraphy for a traumatised nation, much like Missing in Action (1984) and Rambo: First Blood Part II (1985) would do, giving some Americans the ending to the Vietnam war that they wanted and perhaps needed, especially for all those families that were still licking their wounds after losing a loved one in that horrible war, often not knowing if that someone was dead or still living in captivity.
I don't generally like war movies because the themes, scenes and action set-pieces are all so similar from movie to movie, but this one was quite good. Action scenes have a tendency to become dull because they feel too familiar, too cliché, but here I was invested in the characters and everything was so skillfully shot and set up, that the action itself actually managed to conjure up a fair bit of tension and suspense. Well done, Ted Kotcheff.
to see which of your friends have seen this movie!