Rescue Dawn

So onwards I go with my inadvertant mission to watch all of Herzogs films, and we come to Rescue Dawn, arguably the weirdest of the lot. It is weird because it just doesn’t make any sense to me. The story makes sense, but why it exists is completely mysterious. When it starts you are thrown into a strange world of super macho silliness on an American warship. Its like Top Gun (the production company is top gun pictures) but on laughing gas. I’d love to say this had some sort of deeper meaning but it makes about as much sense as the “sexual tyrannasaur” line in predator – in that it makes no sense at all aside from to show that the guys are good old American toolbox heads. Christian Bale then embarks on a silly mission to bomb something or another in an attempt to curtail the impending Vietnam War. The timeline doesnt even work out really, I cant see how he fitted this in between leaving the league of shadows and returning to Gotham city, unless it all happened before that. I am not even sure the Vietnam War happend in that universe? Spoilers abound from here on. He does a great job with his bombing and we are treated to Apocalypse Now quality footage of bombs destroying literally tens of wooden huts. He does not however do the best job with his leaving the area after the bombing and rather than Christian Bale out of his crashing plane he somehow manages to survive as it piles into a field. Then he gets caught by some shady looking characters who do a little bit of torture then drop him off at a nice English speaking guys place. The guy tells him he can be free if he gives up his passport and signs a document condemning the war, this is a big no no as far as Bale is concerned, he is so die hard American (with German heritage) that he aint signing a damn thing unless his lawer is present. From here on its torture, prison, escape, jungle…rescue. Here are the good things – Bale and his buddy getting stuck in the jungle is actually quite poingient, their friendship is really well developed even though they dont say anything much at all to each other. Unfortunately thats about it. The Vietnamese captors are pretty horrible stereotypes, Bale is out of kilter with his situation and the whole thing degenerates into sort of cliche clusterfuck as the first friendly aircraft he sees passes him by. Above all else though is why do we need a Vietnam POW film in 2006, I really thought this was going to use a fairly well worked through genre to present something really interesting, a comment on war, a comment on prisons, both physical and mental, a comment on friendship even. But all hopes go out of the window with the final scene, Bale returns to his battleship following his inexplicable desire to return to his buddies, who are, it has been confirmed, all tool box heads, and is applauded by the entire personnel of the ship. With nary a moment of contemplation, a moment to appreciate all he has been through, the war which rages on, or a moment for his friends who died, he joins in the celebration. Batman wouldnt have done that, Batman would have gone to a tiny cafe in Paris with Catwoman.


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