welcome to lobos reviews

title image

Movie Review: Rescue Dawn

Alternate Title: MacGyver Meets The Great Escape

Story: Director and writer Werner Herzog takes his 1997 documentary Little Deiter Needs to Fly and turns it into a quasi fictionalized account of Deiter Dengler's (1938 - 2001) five month capture and brave escape from Laos in 1966 after his Navy plane got shot down.

Dengler's real life story is fascinating. He was born in Germany, became an American citizen at 18 and wore the red, white and blue on his person each and every day. So why was I not impressed by this film? Because it is a typical rendering of the hero gets shot down, never loses hope, fights the odds and escapes to freedom. There was not one surprise and by the film's end I had more questions than answers.

That said, if you like formulaic escape films and still can't get enough of the Vietnam debacle than go see it for the scenery (Thailand), the torture and the emaciated actors.

Acting: Christian Bale is consistently good in his many roles. He is a champion at weight loss and has that obsessed look patented. Steve Zahn, who normally plays the doofus buddy in a bad movie, gets to act a bit in this film and comes in second as the actor who lost the most weight for the role. Jeremy Davies, who looks exactly like he did when he portrayed Charles Manson on TV, wins the 'I lost he most weight for the film' award.

Predilection: None

Critters: A sweet dog (who does not get hurt), worms and a snake (see food below).

Food: Rice, worms and that snake.

Blatant Product Placement: War is hell.

Soundtrack: Bloviated

Opening Titles: An overview of our bombing of Laos in 1966. Effective but appropriated from other films.

Theater Audience: Pretty crowded for a hot Sunday first showing.

Weather: Hot and rainy.

Sappy Factor: The ending was over the top.

Quirky Meter: 0

Squirm Scale: Torture is brutal to watch.

Drift Factor: I started to look at my watch after only 35 minutes.

Predictability Level: High

Tissue Usage: 0

Oscar Worthy: No

Soap Box: The debacle we called Vietnam is still a contentious issue. Ont he way home from the theater I saw a woman wearing a t-shirt that said "Iraq is Arabic for Vietnam".

Nit Picking: There were too many characters that were not resolved.

Big Screen or Rental: Unless this type of war, capture and escape film is for you I say rental is good enough. For other and better Christian Bale films, try renting: Batman Begins, American Psycho, Velvet Goldmine, Swing Kids, Newsies and the most wonderful Empire of the Sun

Length: A bit over two hours.