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  The Siege of Firebase Gloria
Brian Trenchard-Smith, Australia/USA, 1989
Rating: 3.7

Posted: November 16, 2002

You want severed heads on sticks? You want a forgotten army outpost about to be overrun by North Vietnamese forces on the eve of the Tet Offensive? You want R. Lee Ermey (better known as the harsh drill instructor from Full Metal Jacket) to take over the firebase, frag the dope-smoking commanding officer and dig in for one hellacious firefight? If you answered yes to any of these questions, then this overlooked Vietnam flick is all for you. It's got great action, and Ermey as Sgt. Major Hafner delivers the goods in spades. Hafner's the ultimate "take charge" presence, instructing that his troops dig "dual purpose" trenches: for fighting in at night, and burying Charlie in the morning. Trust me, you want this guy on your side, and you root for him to emerge triumphant. In this regard, Firebase Gloria is a success. It lacks the polish (and the budget) of other entries in the genre, but its aspirations are commensurate with its content. The scene in which Hafner affects an air of mock civility while liberating a hippie photographer of his drug stash is priceless. Does he stop there? Oh, no, my friend: he gives the hippie a rifle and puts him in the trenches. On an unrelated note, and I'm sure most of you are with me on this; I really hate mimes. I would pay $100 to see R. Lee Ermey slaughter a room full of mimes, or $50 to see him beat one mime senseless with a body part from another mime. He would be so great for that job. But I digress. You want a polished, stylized account of war? Go rent Platoon. You want gritty action with a great performance from the hammy Ermey? Then The Siege of Firebase Gloria is for you.

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 Clemenza's Ratings Key:

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 4.0-4.9: Touchdown!
 3.0-3.9: Close, but...
 2.0-2.9: Box of Rocks
 1.1-1.9: Time bandit
 0.0-1.0: Soul scarring
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