Rated PG, directed by Randall Wallace, with Mel Gibson, (Lt. Colonel Hal Moore), Madeleine Stowe (Julia Moore), Greg Kinnear (Major Bruce "Snakeshit" Crandall), Sam Elliot Sgt. Major Basil Plumley), Chris Klein (2nd Lt. Jack Geoghegan), running time: 120 minutes.
Mel Gibson leads a crew of ``fathers, brothers, husbands and sons'' on the US' 1965 offensive in Vietnam's Ia Drang. Some 400 US troops are pitted against over 2000 Vietnamese in what is quickly recognized as a hopeless situation for the Americans. As in Black Hawk Down, the happy Hollywood ending here is not in winning the battle, but in ``getting all our boys out.'' Wallace, a veteran of lose-the-battle, win-the-war films after Pearl Harbor, tones down the melodrama in Soldiers, but genuine human emotion is lost to the whiz-bang of bullets. Equally emotionally-vacuous are the scenes that take place with the wives and kids back in an all-too-perfect America.