A Shockingly Violent Mel Gibson Movie Is Leaving Netflix, Stream It While You Can

By Britta DeVore | 3 months ago

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Fans of Mel Gibson, particularly his wartime movies, will want to run to Netflix to have their chance to see We Were Soldiers before it leaves the streaming platform. The film will be taking its leave soon, with the final day to watch on February 28. Based on the 1992 book, We Were Soldiers Once… and Young, by Lieutenant General (Ret.) Hal Moore and reporter Joseph L. Galloway, the film focuses its sights on the Vietnam War’s Battle of Ia Drang which took place on November 14, 1965.

In, We Were Soldiers, Mel Gibson takes on the role of Lieutenant General Moore, the leader of a group of 400 men on orders to help fellow Americans at a base that is under fire by enemy forces. After rushing towards their target location, the crew forcefully captures a Northern Vietnamese soldier who reveals to them that they are ill-suited for this mission. Instead of being an American-held base, the spot where they have landed is actually under the control of the enemy. What makes matters even worse is there are somewhere around 4,000 Northern Vietnamese soldiers currently at the base. Throughout the rest of the film, viewers look on as the opposing forces ruthlessly battle it out for control. After the extremely bloody entanglement, the survivors escape, but at what cost? The battle would later become known as the first major clashing between the Vietnamese and United States forces.

we were soldiers

Given a 64% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, with a higher audience score of 84%, the Mel Gibson-led drama drew in critics and viewers alike for its realistic take on the tragedy surrounding the infamous Vietnam War. Focusing its story on both sides of the battle lines, critics liked its ability to put “a human face” on not only the American soldiers but also those that were fighting on the side of the Viet Cong. The number one gripe that critics had is that the film’s dialogue at times relies heavily on “war cliches.”

Legendary film critic Roger Ebert for the Chicago-Sun Times gave the film a whopping 3.5 out of 4 stars due to what he saw as well depicted battle scenes and character development. He appreciated that the film focuses mainly on a few “key players” of whom we see the action unfold through their eyes and witness how they react to the horrors of war played out in front of them. We Were Soldiers tells the story of soldiers who put more than just their lives on the line. Mel Gibson is joined by a star-studded cast including Sam Elliott, Greg Kinnear, Madeleine Stowe, Chris Klein, Barry Pepper, Jon Hamm, and Keri Russell. 

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Mel Gibson is no stranger to on-screen battles. One of the actor’s most iconic roles was that of Sir William Wallace in 1995’s blockbuster hit, Braveheart. In it, the actor played a dramatized version of the real-life late-13th-century Scottish warrior as he took on the English crown in pursuit of independence. The Patriot, which was released in 2000, was another star-studded film in which Gibson was the lead, but this time as a farmer turned soldier battling it out during the American Revolution. Although Gibson’s character vehemently opposes the pressing war with England he inevitably becomes wrapped up in it alongside his son, who was portrayed by Heath Ledger. Legendary director, Roland Emmerich, helmed the historical flick which also starred Chris Cooper and Jason Isaacs. 

Another wartime film based on a true story, 2016’s Hacksaw Ridge featured Mel Gibson, but this time behind the camera. The longtime Hollywood star sat in the director’s seat for this flick that centered around World War II. Pulling its story from the 2004 documentary, The Conscientious Objector, this film focused its lens on an American medic who was also a pacifist. Thrown into the bloody battlefields, the combat doctor refused to bring any protective weapons along with him as he aided downed troops.

mel gibson

Mel Gibson recruited some top names in Hollywood for the film, including the film’s star, Andrew Garfield with Sam Worthington, Luke Bracey, Teresa Palmer, Hugo Weaving, Rachel Griffiths, and Vince Vaughn. Hacksaw Ridge would go on to earn a sweeping number of award nominations ranging from the Academy Awards to the Golden Globes.

With so many war-based films under Mel Gibson’s belt, it’s hard to pick a favorite. From the green fields of Scotland to the farmlands of South Carolina, it seems Gibson has taken us to battle everywhere. But, if we had to pick the unsung hero of them all, it would be We Were Soldiers. A truly brilliant, heart-wrenching film about bravery and the human condition, you’re definitely going to want to bump this one up on your queue before it leaves Netflix at the end of the month.