Action / Thriller
Action / Thriller
The thrilling true-story of a U.S Military suicide mission through miles of enemy, Vietcong infested tunnels. American forces are trapped on the edge of no-mans-land, facing danger amid a maze of tunnels as they pursue the Vietcong far below ground before a deadly secret can be exposed.
March 02, 2023 at 08:01 PM
Overburdened with cliches, inaccuracies and poor writing
I like Aaron Eackhart but I think he was on board just to secure financing. He plays a general that phones out orders as much as he phoned in this role.
The premise was to find a secret document containing names of Vietnamese assisting Americans and had a few enlisted men, supposedly special forces as stated on shoulder patches, given a ridiculous two hours to scour underground tunnels of the NVA for it. A Colonel leads the above ground search wearing full insignias and bright silver full bird colonel rank insignias on each collar, which was not done because it gives snipers instant recognition of officer targets. Officers scream commands at enlisted when in reality there was tremendous respect between them and especially because these were supposed to be army special forces.
Aaron Eackhart's character seals the ending saying of those killed "their blood is in the earth, they shall live forever." I cannot believe such a trivial statement would ever be made.
I wasted $6.99 on this do not follow my lead...
The politics of war
As in war, not every aspect of the film Ambush probably goes as it was strategically intended in pre-production, but its heart, politics, and key performances fight hard to make a difference and by the end of its hour and 40 minute running time can claim victory.
The year is 1966. The setting is a small firebase in Quan Tri erected and secured by a corp of young inexperienced engineers with next to no bona fides in combat. The platoon is commanded by Cpl. Ackerman (Connor Paolo) - who is educated and savvy but trepidatious because he knows what he does not know... and his men know it too. The titular ambush takes place above ground - the enemy appearing out of nowhere in the midst of the camp's secured perimeter - during which they manage to steal an important dossier before being repelled. The remainder of the film mostly takes place underground as Ackerman and his team are tasked with the mission of mapping the Vietcong's 'subway system', the labyrinth of tunnels they have constructed in the area that allow them free and unseen movement in their battles against the Americans.
Once in the tunnels, the film takes on more of an effective horror film vibe with booby traps, silence, claustrophobia, sudden attacks and a John Carpenteresque 80's soundtrack. But the film never lets the viewer forget that the real horror is the lethal mix of the politics of war and the caste system of the armed forces. To this end, the film's finale is particularly forceful.
Aaron Eckhart as General Drummond, remotely directing the operation, does his steely best, but his performance, literally over the phone, is detached in a multitude of ways. Jonathan Rhys Meyers as Special Forces operative Miller, who is knowledgeable about the tunnels but stays above ground, provides an understanding and a Zen-like calmness to the endeavor, a welcome counterbalance to the barking of the other higher-ups. But the real pulse of the story and heart of the film is Connor Paolo's portrayal of Ackerman who's journey from trying hard to conceal his fears about protecting his men above ground to revealing his deep care, compassion and responsibility for them underground is truly moving.
For a low budget war film with what appeared to be an extremely short shooting schedule, Ambush tells a story about the politics of war well worth seeing. The fact that it eschews back stories of both the larger and the smaller life forms benefits it theme: that at the end of the chess game, all the pieces - kings, queens, bishops, knights and pawns - go back in the same box.
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