Mel Gibson gives a terrific performance in "WE WERE SOLDIERS", available on HD-DVD by PARAMOUNT. But, then, everyone in the cast is great! I can't stand Madeline Stowe and even she's good here. Greg Kinnear has a small but important part and he actually gets lost in the character. The story revolves mostly around one famous battle, marking the first real violent confrontation between American and North Vietnamese troops, in which Americans were outnumbered ten to one. It also fits mimics most early war films in its narrative style, rotating back and forth between the home front and the battlefield. But, surprisingly, even scenes that by nature, typically appear corny, actually succeed in moving the audience here. Director/writer Randal Wallace has greatly improved his skills since his awful "MAN IN THE IRON MASK".
There's a lot of nobility on display here and the images are often astounding. The script has its drawbacks at times, but there's some terrific, memorable dialogue as well.
PARAMOUNT has preserved the film's 2.35:1 ratio. Alternating between a slick and gritty atmosphere, the transfer adapts at its own peril. For the most part, the image is full of incredible depth. Colors are typically amazing in richness. However, many of the home scenes appear too soft. Still, the bulk of the film is on the warfront, and these scenes are incredible and showcase incredible detail.
PARAMOUNT has provided both a Dolby Digital Plus 5.1 mix and DTS mix. While the DTS mix is good, the DOLBY DIGITAL PLUS mix offers a significantly more engaging mix. It's one of the most active soundmixes we've heard so far. All speakers are utilized, almost for the entire film. There are multitudes of effective panning effects and it helps boost the film's tension dramatically.
PARAMOUNT has carried over the extras from the standard dvd release. We only wish, as we had with the dvd release too, that PARAMOUNT re-inserted the deleted scenes. Some really added to the film's overall impact.