OK, I would like to go record as saying that I am a fan of John Wayne. I know it is not a popular fanboy statement, but I just enjoy watching him on screen. Always have and always will. I would say that I have probably seen all of the Duke’s films, but “The Green Berets” was never one of my favorites, yet I had only seen it once. Not being satisfied with that assessment of that film, I had always been meaning to re-watch it. What better excuse to do so then its release on HD Blu-Ray. Perhaps I had misjudged the film.
After watching it, I have to say that I am less turned off by the film and more fascinated by it. The film was made at a time before American’s dislike of the Vietnam War had fully galvanized and this film, which was meant to bolster the war effort, is a slice of Wartime American not seen since the days of WWII films. The film is so blatantly over the top pro-war that it is a fascinating train wreck that almost seems tongue in cheek.
The film was shot in Georgia, so it looks nothing like what popular representations of Vietnam look like, but the landscape and the spectacle of faux war look great at 1080p. The audio sounds great on my home setup and in addition to English, you can also choose to hear the film in French or Spanish.
Here are some shots from the film:
The release is light on extras, containing only a “Making-of” Featurette and the Theatrical Trailer, both of which are presented in standard definition. I would have enjoyed seeing some interviews with modern critics of the film or maybe some audio commentary.
“The Green Berets” is oddly compelling. Made to try an get Americans to rally around the war effort, the movie sometimes comes across as a parody of that effort. It is only fitting that John Wayne, America’s anti-anti-hero, be at the center of the film. The Duke’s star was fading as was America’s blindness to a war they did not believe in. If set in a World War II, the movie would just another well made Wayne vehicle, but because it was set during the Vietnam era, it will act as a constant reminder of the collision of two America and the turbulent times that would follow. You can pick up The Green Berets [Blu-ray] at Amazon.