Mel Gibson, We Were Soldiers
Credit: We Were Soldiers: Stephen Vaughan

Once again, Hollywood flashes back to the Vietnam War, though ”We Were Soldiers” — based on an early battle that encouraged American military brass to believe that the conflict was winnable — unabashedly seeks to be less like ”Platoon” and more like ”Saving Private Ryan.” ”If I was going to describe it, I would say it is savagely uncynical,” says Wallace (”The Man in the Iron Mask”), who believes the movie has greater relevance in light of recent events. ”September 11 reminded us that there are such things as duty, honor, and courage. This is a movie about such things.” Gibson plays Lt. Col. Hal Moore, who in November 1965 found himself and about 400 of his men caught in an ambush by some 2,000 North Vietnamese soldiers. Wallace received cooperation from the U.S. military, though his six Vietnam-era Huey helicopters came from private donors. A political quagmire. A military operation gone awry. Helicopters. Didn’t we just see this in ”Black Hawk Down?” ”It always happens,” says Gibson, sighing. ”It seems like you’re in the arena all by yourself, but no sooner do you get there that you find that someone else is camping in your backyard. I don’t know if it’s industrial espionage or the collective unconscious.” He laughs. ”I suspect both.”

We Were Soldiers
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