War movies are not my favorite. They are usually full of shocking violence and they make me emotional in ways that I do not like. But this movie is different than every war movie I have ever seen. It has a deeper message, unlike many of the war films that just focus on all of the violence, and less on what it is actually like for the soldiers in a war zone.
Chickie (Zac Efron) was not required to travel to a war zone, but he chose to because he wanted to deliver beers to his friends that were fighting for his country. Yes, you read that right. Everything was a bit confusing in Chickie’s life at the time, he wanted to help his country but wasn’t sure how to best do that. However, everything got even more confusing for him when he arrived on ground in Vietnam. His opinions on the war gradually changed as he saw the landscape for himself. His perspectives were challenged as he learns of the lies the public was being fed. And to make this film even more impactful, it is based on a true story.
I do not want to give away the full movie, but watching it felt like more of an experience than a 2D screen. I think most people can relate to having an opinion and then encountering something that completely changes that strong, long-held opinion. This movie is perfect for today’s life when people read things online and believe them without looking for evidence, or maybe even look too hard for evidence rather than believing what is right in front of them.
The film has a great soundtrack, exhibits great storytelling, great acting, has a great pace, and an impeccable tone. It’s a fun war movie, or at least a more upbeat one. There is violence but the film is also comedic. I think this duality tells the story well because it shows the camaraderie of the soldiers, but also the brutal reality they are facing. The juxtaposition is powerfully emotional.
Should you watch it?
Yes. It is definitely worth the watch. Zac Efron brings his acting chops and showcases his comedic timing. (Now, I want to see him in Righteous Gemstones beside his buddy, Adam DeVine.) It was nice seeing Efron play a humble, goofy guy, which is not typically the role he is cast in. He isn’t the hero in this film, more of a side kick trying to help those he sees as heroes a.k.a. his friends.
This kind of movie will not be for everyone, but I especially recommend it to people who do not typically like war movies. Give this movie a try. There are times I teared up and times I laughed. It takes you on a journey that is worth going on.
For some, this could be a buddy war movie, a beer comedy, or a based-on-a-true-story movie with a deep philosophical meaning. To each their own–
When Chickie feels guilty for not doing enough for his country, he decides to find a way to bring beer to his friends that are fighting in Vietnam.