Sometimes a B movie can rise above its big-budget brethren. The Siege of Firebase Gloria is a lean, straightforward film about a troupe of Marines defending an isolated outpost in Vietnam. While on reconnaissance, Sergeant-Major Hafner (R. Lee Ermey) gets a glimmering of the impending Tet offensive when he comes across a massacred village. When the patrol arrives at Firebase Gloria, Hafner takes command from the addled commanding officer and desperately tries to prepare the disorganized base for the coming assault. There's nothing remarkable about the story--this is a war movie--but it's not only told with efficient skill, it's strikingly clear-eyed about the brutalities committed by both sides of the war. The Viet Cong are depicted with as much sympathy as the Americans; in fact, through smart juxtapositions, the perspective of the native soldiers becomes increasingly clear and compelling, even though their dialogue is never translated. With clearly drawn yet realistic characters, a decent script, and unfancy but effective camerawork, Firebase Gloria paints a more vivid and unsettling portrait of the Vietnam experience than far more high-minded movies like Full Metal Jacket. Ermey gives a grounded, genuine performance, and straight-to-video star Wings Hauser is both scary and sad as a ruthless, alienated corporal. --Bret Fetzer
Crap's gonna hit the fan Jones, and this place ain't prepared for shit!
This firebase can't be defended.
How many men you got out there that ain't brain dead?
I've got nobody willing to trip over his own guts for the Vietnamese way of life.
I got no delusions about you or your mens democracy Jones. We are gonna refortify this shit hole and protect it like it was your daughter's cherry. I don't know about you, but I ain't gonna die here.
Jesus Christ, they're killing wounded!
Don't tell me you feel sorry for them sergeant.
There're soldiers just like us, wounded!
You having a good time? You're fucking crazy you know that? You're really digging this shit! What were you back home? A rapist?
Oh, no. I was just another dumb ass like you.
Alright Mr. Commanding Officer, where's the medevac? I've got eight people that are gonna die within the hour, we're running out of morphine, and where are the supplies I ordered?
Now you listen to me Flanagan and you listen good! The communications bunker is history! We are on our own. There will be no re-supply. So you tighten up and make do with what you've got. You're a captain? Be a goddamn captain!
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