The Siege of Firebase Gloria (1989)

A rather uninspired Vietnam flick, made in the wake of Rambo’s revisionism, The Siege on Firebase Gloria holds some interest due to its casting of R. Lee Ermey and Wings Hauser. Ermey plays a tough platoon leader. Hauser plays an emotional, gung-ho solider under his command. The two find themselves defending a remote, undermanned base against a VietCong siege.  While the film attempts to show the Vietnam conflict from the the American and the VietCong perspectives, the film ends on such an odd note of optimism that one might think America soundly defeated Vietnam and communism, thanks to the heroics of dyed in the wool military men like those played by Ermey.

Director Brian Trenchard-Smith, a man with a really mediocre resume, adds little originality to a tired scenario. Hauser has some wonderfully over-the-top moments of extra-thick emoting that bring the film to a hilarious halt. He really proves he’s a leatherneck with a heart. Everyone else in the film fits into a neat stereotype from the crazy helicopter pilot to the wacko hippie photographer. For all of Trenchar-Smith’s earlier films of more interest – like Turkey Shoot and Stunt Rock – this one signals a turn in his career towards uninteresting television dramas and unnecessary sequels (i.e. Leprechaun 3 and Leprechaun 4: In Space).


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