Combustible Celluloid
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With: Michael Paré, Nate Parker, Rocky Marquette, Garikayi Mutambirwa, Erik Eidem, Brandon Fobbs, Mitch Eakins, Jane Le, Wilson Bethel, Jeffrey Christopher Todd, Scott Cooper, Brad Schmidt, John Wynn, Scott Ly, Adrian Collins
Written by: Uwe Boll, Dan Clarke
Directed by: Uwe Boll
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Running Time: 92
Date: 03/18/2013

Tunnel Rats (2008)

3 Stars (out of 4)

The Hole Truth

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

A good film from Uwe Boll? You bet! Tunnel Rats is Boll's Vietnam cautionary tale, in which a platoon is charged with the horrible duty of clearing the tunnels beneath the jungle floor. The tunnels apparently stretch on for miles, and no one knows where they start or where they end. They're riddled with booby traps, as Boll demonstrates in the movie's opening teaser. A soldier crawls through the claustrophobic space (big enough for only one man and not enough room to turn around) and reports that things are all clear. Suddenly, he's stabbed to death from an unseen, adjacent tunnel just below his belly! Boll spends the film's first third getting to know the troops, from the experienced vets to the green newcomers (played mostly by unknowns), who jabber about their family and friends back home. We even get some typical Vietnam-era pop songs for flavor ("In the Year 2525," etc.). Michael Paré (also in the recent Postal and many other Boll films) plays the hard-as-nails sergeant, tougher than all of them, and unafraid to hang a captured enemy soldier in front of his men. Then, they enter the tunnel, and we get an astonishing array of horror sequences, attacks and encounters of surprisingly variety and power. Boll's underground camerawork is deliberately confusing, but remarkably vivid and brutally effective, and his above-ground jungle photography is comparatively beautiful (you can almost taste the air). If the movie has a flaw, it's that it's almost too dark and uncompromising; the intensity verges on unpleasant. Imagine if Boll had made this film in 1986; he might have won an Oscar and become the next Oliver Stone! Tunnel Rats premiered this week at San Francisco's Another Hole in the Head film festival.

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