Director: Brian De Palma

Starring: Michael J. Fox, Sean Penn, Don Harvey, John C. Reilly, John Leguizamo

Year: 1989

Casualties of War was a Vietnam War film I had never seen, so now that’s remedied, and I can now spend the next few days trying to forget I watched something so terrible.  This film should be shown in classrooms as an example of how not to direct a movie, how not to write a script, how not to shoot footage, and definitely how not to be an actor.  An all-around disaster, I can’t believe this film isn’t more infamous.

A band of five Army grunts go out on a long patrol in the jungles of Vietnam, scouting for enemy positions and activity.  Having recently lost a fellow soldier to a surprise ambush in a village, tempers are running extremely high, and the sergeant of the outfit decides to take a random young girl hostage to keep the boys company on patrol, leading to moral outrage that will shake the very chain of command.

The plot of Casualties of War is nothing to take lightly, it’s about as serious as it can get, and before watching this movie you should know that the principal story revolves around raping a young girl.  The story then becomes about standing up for what’s right, even in the face of authority.  It’s a heavy, heavy plot, one that could not possibly have been handled worse.  This movie, just, sucks.  The dialogue is fake, the direction is disjointed, the feel is so off, and the acting, oh my god the acting, is among the more horrible I have ever seen.  Fox & Penn should be embarrassed by their performances, Fox’s completely lacking in anything at all and Penn’s so ridiculously over-the-top and dominated by the world’s worse accent that I wish authorities had become involved and legal action had been taken.  I am shocked by just how bad the pieces of this film were, creating a total package that is virtually unwatchable.

My rating: ★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆