Like Rambo, The Forgotten turns the frustration of those who served in Vietnam into pulp melodrama. But unlike Rambo, this made-for-cable movie grabs the brain as effectively as the gut. The story involves six Green Berets held prisoner in North Vietnam for 17 years. Upon their release they find themselves prisoners again, this time of their own government.
Usually you have to watch out for teleplays that credit four writers — including director James Keach and costar Steve Railsback. But the script is such a model of tough-minded restraint and taut plotting that you can forgive its gratuitously murky finish. The movie’s premise is built of the creepy and all-too-plausible stuff of such paranoid American classics as The Manchurian Candidate. Also, it departs from the self-lacerating agony and bluster of other Vietnam-related movies and suggests that in order to understand what got us there, the jungle isn’t necessarily the first place to look. B+