Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Tunnel Rats (2008)


I've never made any secret that I like Uwe Boll and already from the beginning understood what he was up to. Hell yes, I even enjoyed House of the Dead - a silly, stupid and 100 % entertaining trash-movie that perfectly knew what it was. What irritates me nowadays is that some critics still complaining about Uwe, just for the sake of it. He could go out there and make a new... Casablanca and they would find something to moan about. Slowly some people out there has started to understand the talent of Uwe and also actually give Seed, Tunnel Rats, Postal, Stoic and the upcoming Rampage good reviews.

When I did some research about Tunnel Rats I read the review at DVD Talk, and it's a positive one... but the reviewer just has to nag about something, and throws in some empty words like this:

"The basic story was sketched out, but the actors developed their own characters and wrote their own dialogue. It explains a lot, and I have to cut the production some slack for a creative choice that is either incredibly gutsy or incredibly lazy." - really, would he even have mention it being lazy if this was Lars Von Trier or De Palma?

"Its as if Boll reached a point where he couldn't contain himself any longer and had to push it over-the-top; unfortunately by doing so, he's spit in the face of every man who served in one of these platoons." - This reviewer haven't watched the movie! Really, those words are just retarded. There's a deep respect for the characters, both Americans and Vietnamese - but I'm sure this person just wanted a mainstream, no criticism-kinda movie.

"...but most revealing is his research into making "Tunnel Rats," which sounds to have been nothing more than reading a few books about the Cû Chi tunnels." - Yeah? What should he have done? Do they really expect a low budget movie to spend money to Vietnam and do research in the actually tunnels? I'm sure a fuckload of movies has been based on research in books.

"The most horrifying aspect of the interview is learning that Boll plans to do at least two more dramas, based on real-events, one about Darfur and one about an incident in a prison regarding rape and torture. Boll explains that the improvised dialogue approach will be utilized in these films as well. I shudder to think of the end result if "Tunnel Rats" is any indication of how he handles real-life." - Okeeeey? The movie is good, the dialogue works fine... so why should it be a bad thing for him to make two more movies in that way?

And so on. This guy think it's a (quite) good movie, but probably afraid of the Boll-bashers out there and a lack of journalistic integrity, he writes a lot of shit that he never would if James Cameron did or said the exactly same things.

Well fuck him. Tunnel Rats is one impressive and very violent Vietnam-movie. It's tells the story of a platoon specialized in cleaning up and destroying the underground tunnels that the Viet Cong uses in the jungle. The ad-libbed dialogues are great, and don't seem forced or weird. The actors are excellent, and with having a strong director leading them the acting is very coherent and fits the story perfect.

It's in South Africa too, which works better than it should. The jungle is slightly different, but the overall feeling gives an eerie illusion of being in an Asian jungle. But the story itself, the action and characters takes away any thoughts on the location. This is a good movie. The action? Well, it's not an action movie by any means, but it has one bigger jungle battle where the gore and blood flows between the trees. Actually, the whole movie is quite brutal and the effects by Olof Ittenbach is really nasty.

But most of the time we spend the story down in the tunnels with the soldiers, both Americans and Vietnamese. It's dark, claustrophobic and violent. In one scene a soldier has to cut up the body in front of him to be able to move forward for example. Great idea, and very unpleasant too. This movie shows no mercy, and there's no happy Hollywood-ending - thanks for that - so prepare to feel slightly uncomfortable after watching this flick.

Okey, sorry for my ramblings about that other review, but I get easily pissed at stupidity - and I can't accept that people have other opinions than me ;)

1 comment:

lights in the dusk said...

This is a really nice post that cuts through some of the critical hypocrisy that surrounds Boll's work as a filmmaker, particularly his more serious projects of the last three years. I've been trying to persuade people to check out films like Seed, Stoic, Rampage and Tunnel Rats - putting aside the memory of his more familiar videogame adaptations - but unfortunately the majority still cling to the belief that Uwe Boll is this generation's Ed Wood.

I think Tunnel Rats is a really excellent film, and one that is significant in presenting a view of the Vietnam War where there are no real heroes or villains, no misplaced "American guilt" or deliberate concessions to end the film with some kind of moral victory that goes against the actual spirit of defeat. Boll shows both sides of the conflict as real people caught in a life and death situation that they don't understand.

If you haven't already, you should check out The Final Storm. Not one of Boll's best, but not one of his worst either.