Home Video | Review by Dan Taylor
an old Chinese proverb that says, "The
courage of your enemies does you honor,"
and that's the theme of Brian Trenchard-Smith's
incredible 'Nam flick SIEGE OF FIREBASE
GLORIA. It may be cliché as they
get, but its more dominant elements make
this a highly entertaining and exciting
Wings Hauser (NO
SAFE HAVEN, DEAD MAN WALKING) stars
as Di Nardo, "the type of gung-ho fighting
machine the Marines are famous for."
He's the right hand man to Sgt. Major Hafner,
played with ball-busting gusto by ex-Marine
Lee Ermey (Kubrick's FULL METAL JACKET)
and the two must take a group of braindead
dopeheads at Firebase Gloria and turn them
into a fighting machine that will "refortify
this shithole, and then protect it like
it was your daughter's cherry." And
that they do, in "balls out" macho
war film fashion.
The flick is populated with
all the war film stereotypes: Hauser's Di
Nardo is the on-the-edge soldier with a
decent streak running through him. "Sharp
eye and a good nose for trouble," and
entirely capable of going mental at the
drop of a hat. Ermey is the career Marine,
full of insults and wisdom, a great deal
of which he probably drew from his own experiences
(he and Trenchard-Smith were responsible
for the additional dialogue). Albert Popwell
(a familiar face to fans of the DIRTY HARRY
films) plays Jones, the 1st Sergeant of
Gloria, and the man who dispenses words
of hope and faith to the men.
There's also "the college
boy with the girl back home" and the
"guy with 17 days left." So you
just know that these two have the longevity
of new crew members on an episode of STAR
The plot has Gloria under
attack from about 2500 "dinks"
laying in wait in the jungle. Communication
has been cut off, supplies are running low,
and ammunition is at a premium. The troops
are screwed major league, but through their
extreme gutsiness they hold off several
assaults before the final slow-motion battle
sprinkled with a bit of Peckinpah.
While the battle sequences
kick serious ass, the flick belongs to Hauser
as Di Nardo. Seeing him atop sandbags, dropping
"dinks," yellin' "Run you
scumbags" makes me wonder why he never
achieved bigger stardom. He even shows his
sensitive side by telling a cute nurse:
"Do you have any idea what Charlie
would do if he got in here? He would rape
you and your nurses until you were dead.
But he'd have to kill me first."
Whew, talk about a romantic!
SIEGE OF FIREBASE GLORIA has it all. It's
a guts-and-action-filled guy flick!