Review - Danger Close: The Battle of Long Tan

At the movies: Vikings star Travis Fimmel leads a talented cast in Australian war drama Danger Close: The Battle of Long Tan, in cinemas now. The movie explores one of the most talked-about conflicts in Australia's military history. Photo: Supplied.
At the movies: Vikings star Travis Fimmel leads a talented cast in Australian war drama Danger Close: The Battle of Long Tan, in cinemas now. The movie explores one of the most talked-about conflicts in Australia's military history. Photo: Supplied.

On August 18, 1966, 105 Australian and New Zealand troops went up against 2000 North Vietnamese soldiers in Vietnam's Phuoc Tuy province.

Eighteen Australians/New Zealanders tragically lost their lives while defending a key base camp.

Danger Close: The Battle of Long Tan re-enacts the conflict and acknowledges all those involved.

We first meet Major Harry Smith (Travis Fimmel, Vikings), who has all but given up.

Annoyed by the younger, more irresponsible Privates around him, Smith seeks a transfer to a different post.

He and the others are soon forced to fight alongside one another in the titular battle.

War action-dramas like Apocalypse Now, Saving Private Ryan, Platoon, and Black Hawk Down have all stood the test of time.

Danger Close sadly pales in comparison to the best in the genre.

Director Kriv Stenders (the Red Dog movies, Kill Me Three Times) and the five credited screenwriters - Stuart Beattie, James Nicholas, Karel Segers, Paul Sullivan, and Jack Brislee - build their story and characters on a bed of cliches.

The characters are given only one or two dimensions each.

Smith - portrayed as a peculiar loner with little to no empathy - is intriguing in the first act.

However, as the story progresses and the action takes over, his development grinds to a halt.

Forced to share screen time, the multitude of other characters exist to either be killed or bark orders.

Working with a relatively small $35 million budget, Stenders dishes up many exciting action scenes throughout.

He and his team flawlessly re-create the military camps and Vietnamese Jungles, whilst keeping the CGI to a minimum.

With plenty of grisly deaths, the movie may be too much for some viewers.

Despite its good intentions and excellent production values, Danger Close ends up being a missed opportunity.