The Iron Triangle

An honorable failure, this Vietnam war drama and action film attempts to do something that, to the best of my knowledge, no other commercial movie about the war has attempted: represent the point of view of the Viet Cong as well as that 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, Viet Cong 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 Viet Cong counterpart (Liem Whatley)–based on the actual diary of an unknown Viet Cong fighter–speaks 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. (Chestnut Station)

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