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|This movie presents a birds eye view of
the Vietnam War from the point of view of a new US
Platoon Leader. Arriving with notions of grandeur and
foolishness, new commanders often really did no more than
let their experienced Sergeants run the show as this
movie does. Once arriving and placed in command on almost
day the film's new Platoon Commander almost dies as a
shiny thing dangling up above causes him to look up and
almost step over a trip wire. A few days later one of his
men overdoses on drugs. The Platoon's Sergeant shoots him
so that it could be said the soldier died in battle
As with all Platoon's there always is one man that just plain likes to kill. In this Platoon, its someone everyone calls "Roach." Roach prefers to use a shotgun as his standard weapon rather than an M-16. In one scene two Vietcong slowly approach his location in the woods while he quietly reaches for two shells and prepares to reload. Clicking them in position slowly he then turns, cocks, shoots and repeats; all with the precision of a machine. Nothing could cause Roach to lose his cool.
In the movie's end, a great GI Firebase is under seige. The Platoon leader who was more a frightened enlistee than commander in the past decides its time to be a soldier. Like a rabid dog he steps from the security of cover and stands with two pistols in hand and moves forward firing at everything but hitting nothing before going down for the count. Platoon Leader presented the state of affiars of Platoon leaders with a glimmer of humor. But most of all the film's star was not the Platoon leader but was "Roach," the character that could always be counted on to get any job done no matter what.
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