Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Rescue Dawn: A Four-Sentence Movie Review

I'm so grateful this movie wasn't made in the '80s, because it probably would've starred Chuck Norris, Arnold Schwarzenegger, or Sylvester Stallone, depicting Dieter Dengler as some superhuman bad-ass who could mow down dozens of Asians with a gun that's supposed to be mounted on a helicopter, rather than held by hand, while also making bombs out of bamboo, rice, and grass that could wipe out entire prison camps, and making certain friends I grew up with feel as if they had some sort of personal connection to a war that ended when they weren't even born yet.

Anyway, I keep telling myself that someday I'm going to have a week-long, Netflix-fueled Werner Herzog marathon, as I've often heard various film critics and assorted friends speak glowingly of the obsessive characters whose stories he creates during insanely grueling film shoots. I don't know if Rescue Dawn is toned-down or more conventional Herzog, but it's apparent that Dengler's eventual triumph over both his captors and the Laotian jungle he escaped into is a story that Herzog admires greatly. Christian Bale might be one of the great underrated actors of our time, especially considering what he puts his body through for each role, but the real revelation in this movie is Steve Zahn, who shows he is capable of much, much more than the stupid goofball roles Hollywood has given him throughout most of his career.