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Review: Tunnel Rats (2008)

Directed by: Uwe Boll | 97 minutes | action, drama, war, adventure, history | Actors: Michael Paré, Wilson Bethel, Mitch Eakins, Erik Eidem, Brandon Fobbs, Jane Le, Scott Ly, Rocky Marquette, Garikayi Mutambirwa, Nate Parker, Brad Schmidt, Jeffrey Christopher Todd, John Wynn, Adrian Collins,

The infamous – because often bombed the worst director – German filmmaker has indicated in an that he finds it so striking (and irritating) that almost every review of his films starts to discuss (the fuss about ) his person himself, and then there is a single paragraph left to say something about the film. Still, you can’t help but mention Boll’s reputation before discussing his films themselves, if only to put them in the right perspective. Because, yes, he has indeed produced amateurish, or downright bad films, often based on video games, but there are infinitely worse filmmakers on this planet and Boll has at least his own creative vision, which can sometimes provide nice surprises. . Such as the political satire ‘Postal’, in which Boll mocked everything and everyone and did not shy away from any kind of humor, sensation, or “bad taste”. He hit at least as much as wrong and even managed to present some nice actors. Subsequently, this “enfant terrible”, this guerrilla filmmaker, actually got into his old head in 2008 to release a Vietnam film. And what the surprise of this reviewer: it is again not rubbish! The can even be called solid. in 2008 actually got into its old head to release a Vietnam film. And what the surprise of this reviewer: it is again not rubbish! The film can even be called solid. in 2008 actually got into its old head to release a Vietnam film. And what the surprise of this reviewer: it is again not rubbish! The film can even be called solid.

To temper the enthusiasm somewhat, this is not a politically or psychologically complex Vietnam epic that gives the viewer new insights into the motivations of the different parties or nations, or looks deep into the soul of a soldier. Even though the poster and DVD cover draw a visual parallel with the acclaimed Vietnam film ‘Platoon’, ‘Tunnel Rats’ is a film that could actually take place anywhere, and is basically just an oppressive chase film. Like Neil Marshall in ‘The Descent’, makes the most of narrow, dark tunnels to induce claustrophobic feelings in the viewer. Especially when there is danger next door in the form of booby traps or Vietnamese soldiers with a knife or firearm, the tension reaches a peak. And since this danger is actually continuous, and a lot of time is spent in the tunnels, it can be said to be an effective experience, in which the viewer can hardly sit back for a moment and must always be on their guard. The tunnels are just enough for one person to pass through so the stuffy feeling actually takes hold as soon as a soldier enters the crawling hole. It gets really exciting when the men suddenly hear shots outside the tunnel and an American soldier has to crawl for his life in order not to end up in his grave right away. He must be pulled out quickly, followed by a few grenades in the hole, to take out the enemy (s) in the tunnel. Another chilling moment happens when a soldier unsuspectingly tries to crawl out of a hole, after first cautiously sending his flashlight. However, the viewer can already see that he is being met by a Vietnamese woman with a pointed stick. Or what about a confrontation between an American and Vietnamese soldier in a tunnel, one of them armed with a knife. How do you fight when you can barely move? And how do you pass a newly created victim in the tunnel, if there is only room for one? The answer to this is horrifying, but perhaps the only solution (although it looks unrealistically simple in the film). How do you fight when you can barely move? And how do you pass a newly created victim in the tunnel, if there is only room for one? The answer to this is horrifying, but perhaps the only solution (although it looks unrealistically simple in the film). How do you fight when you can barely move? And how do you pass a newly created victim in the tunnel, if there is only room for one? The answer to this is horrifying, but perhaps the only solution (although it looks unrealistically simple in the film).

Boll, despite the fairly basic slasher / chase structure, does not turn it into a black-and-white battle between the good and the bad, and motivations are given from both sides for the fight or bloodlust and on both sides there are civilized types in between (although the balance seems to be in favor of the Vietnamese). Despite the strong scenes in the tunnels and the attempt at a balanced perspective, the moments that should provide or deepening are scarcely or briefly sketched. No or hardly any political or historical context is created and characters have few dimensions. The acting is variable, but generally acceptable. Do not expect a real with ‘Tunnel Rats’, but rather an “amusing” story about a group of soldiers who are engaged in an underexposed aspect of the war (in Vietnam). Pathos and contemplation are largely omitted (although Boll tries to arouse this with the last scene of the film), but in terms of action and tension, ‘Tunnel Rats’ performs well.

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