The Iron Triangle

An honorable failure, this Vietnam-war drama and action film tries to do something that, to the best of my knowledge, none of its commercial predecessors had attempted: represent the point of view of the Vietcong as well as of American soldiers. Given this ambition, it’s regrettable that director and cowriter Eric Weston leans as heavily as he does on previous Vietnam films: acerbic offscreen commentary (as in Apocalypse Now), choral music over action (as in Platoon), and a division between pure good and pure evil to describe soldiers in the same platoon (American sergeants in Platoon, Vietcong fighters here). The film also gets into some trouble by conveying all of the dialogue in English, despite the fact that the American officer who narrates the story (Beau Bridges), and who eventually comes upon the diary of his Vietcong counterpart (Liem Whatley)based on the actual diary of an unknown Vietcong fighterspeaks and reads Vietnamese. But the film has unmistakable virtues as well, including a good handling of the action sequences and a beautiful use of landscape. With Haing S. Ngor (The Killing Fields), Johnny Hallyday, James Ishida, Ping Wu, and Iilana B’tiste; coscripted by John Bushelman and Larry Hilbrand. (JR)

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