Even after 20 years, Oliver Stone’s dark, visceral, punch-in-the-gut portrait of the Vietnam War — based on the writer-director’s own eye-opening 1967-68 tour of duty — has lost little of its rawness and bare-bones emotion. The physical and spiritual deterioration of Sheen’s innocent PFC Chris Taylor, and Stone’s stripped, anti-balletic battle sequences do wonders for establishing the Oscar-winning Platoon‘s savage realism. The moral tug of war between Dafoe and Berenger’s warring sergeants for Taylor’s soul also retains its must-see intensity, as does the parade of stars-to-be (Johnny Depp!) that pepper the ensemble.
Given that Platoon has already been released on DVD — with an exhaustive commentary courtesy of the filmmaker and military supervisor Capt. Dale Dye — this Anniversary Edition contributes little new movie-centric material. Historical documentaries about the war, such as the short but information-laden featurettes ”Snapshot in Time: 1967-1968” and ”One War, Many Stories” are abundant, but Stone’s only additional material consists of old-news commentary (He had a tight $6 million budget! Bugs plagued the production!) on deleted and extended scenes.