By: John M Jerva

Review: DANGER CLOSE

Starring: Travis Fimmel, Luke Bracey, Daniel Webber, Alexander England, Aaron Glenane, Nicholas Hamilton, Myles Pollard, Matt Doran, Anthony Hayes and Richard Roxburgh.

Directed By: Kriv Stenders

Official Synopsis: In DANGER CLOSE, Major Harry Smith (Travis Fimmel) and his company of 108 young and inexperienced Australian and New Zealand soldiers are fighting for their lives in the Battle of Long tan. With 2,500 battle-hardened Viet Cong soldiers closing in, their ammunition running out and casualties mounting, each man searches for the strength to triumph over an uncertain future with honor, decency and courage.

The Review: I’ve already mentioned that I have been a huge fan of war films and most importantly Vietnam era war films. I find that period of history to be filled with some of the best stories of heroism and valor and to see regular boys thrown into a God awful situation and have them rise above it is nothing short of spectacular. Films like Platoon, Hamburger Hill and Full Metal Jacket are all classics in their own right and I loved the 80’s TV series Tour Of Duty the most. That series just delivered the goods every week and I wish it had lasted more than three seasons.

Vietnam era war films haven’t been around as of late but that has changed with the new release this week of Danger Close which tells the story of the battle of Long Tan and this time we get the perspective of Australian and New Zealand soldiers who answered the cause. I found that refreshing as most films always had the U.S. perspective about the war.

With Danger Close, we have leading man Travis Fimmel, who I loved on the TV series The Beast which was Patrick Swayze’s last starring role, as Major Harry Smith who leads 108 young and mostly inexperienced men. Fimmel has one monumental task at hand and that’s trying to keep his men alive as circumstances beyond their control lead to one of the most ferocious firefights of the war as they are surrounded by over 25,000 battle ready Viet Cong soldiers who are swarming in. To make matters worse, these brave men are running low on ammo and as the casualties begin to mount, they will have to find it within themselves to stay alive and keep each other alive.

I’m a sucker for a good war movie and with this one, which had a pretty decent budget, we not only get some of the most riveting battle sequences, we also get to know some of these men just enough so when the ones who do fall, you feel something when it happens. Director Kriv Stenders does a phenomenal job ramping up the ferocity and once it starts it never lets up. These brave young men must battle incredibly death defying odds from an unforgiving enemy and not only have to fight man but also the elements as well.

Fimmel is in good company with a strong supporting cast of mainly unknowns but we do have Luke Bracey who co-stars as Sergeant Bob Buick and he is spot on as what is essentially being Robin to Horn’s Batman. Other standouts in the film include Daniel Webber who plays Private Paul Large and Mojean Aria as Second Lieutenant Gordon Sharp. Horn clashes with both men which leads to inner drama as the story progresses. Veteran character actor Richard Roxburgh brings his usual dose of gravitas as Brigadir Jackson. The script written by Hollywood mainstay Stuart Beattie will suck you in and not let up until the credits roll.

The cinematography is also a lead player in the movie with the jungle locales serving up a brutal taste of hell for these men and the opening shot of the film is sweeping and epic as we first lay eyes on the soldiers with whom we are about to go into war with. Each scene of war is grand in its scale and I’m pleased to say that the filmmakers went all out to accurately portray this mean and ugly part of history.

It’s a shame that Danger Close isn’t getting a wider release as this film is meant to be seen on the big screen with robust surround sound which just heightens the battle sequences to a fever pitch. I was able to watch it on my big screen TV so I can just imagine what it would be like on a bigger stage. The action set pieces really draw you in and it is violent of course as men on both sides succumb to the harsh whispers of death but it never goes over the top in its brutality. It doesn’t have to and that’s what makes the scenes even more powerful. You feel every bullet whizzing by and this is one of the better war films to be released in a long time.

All in all, Danger Close deserves to be mentioned in the same breath as those iconic films I mentioned before. It truly maps out the horrors of war and the brave men that stared death in the face full on. This is legitimately war at its worse and men at their best to borrow a line from the classic Hamburger Hill and the film is a great platform to highlight those brave souls that made the ultimate sacrifice. If you’re a war film fan like me then you will truly appreciate what the movie has to offer and if you’re not, then hopefully you will still take a little bit of the film with you when it’s over.

Verdict: 4 Out Of 5 Stars

ACTION-FLIX APPROVED!

Danger Close opens tomorrow November 8th in select cinemas as well as Digital and VOD from Saban Films