If you’ve seen all the popular war movies, it’s time to look for more underrated ones. And Danger Close: The Battle of Long Tan is one of the most underrated war movies out there. It’s based on a true story of the 1st Australian Task Force who ran into a trap and had to fend off attacks by a much larger enemy force. I will skip my usual rant about why the fuck they were there in the first place in favor of not boring the fuck out of you. Hell, the entire Vietnam war was such a colossal fuckup that there are numerous movies, documentaries, and novels about it.
The first thing you’re going to notice about this movie is the visual quality. Production values are excellent with a lot of explosions, slow-motion shots, and extras. The shootouts are brutal and unrelenting. Basically, Danger Close: The Battle of Long Tan is one long and intense fire fight with just a couple of brief moments of rest. I don’t know what type of cameras they used but the movie looks fantastic. Like a big-budget Hollywood blockbuster you never heard of. And the sound editing was also spot on.
When it comes to the cast, Travis Fimmel whom you might remember from Vikings led a relatively unknown crew of Australian actors into battle. All of them did a great job and we will also get the opportunity to see Richard Roxburgh (Cleaver from Rake). Danger Close: The Battle of Long Tan knows how to do one thing and that thing is fighting. Character development feels a bit off along with attempts at humor. However, once the bullets start flying you will forget about those elements completely. In that sense, it reminded me of one of the best war movies ever made, Black Hawk Down.
A devastating barrage of artillery fire keeps hitting the 1st Australian Task Force base at Nui Dat. The enemy knows where they are and they keep pounding them with force. However, a precise counterstrike destroys Viet Cong forces. Now, a recon team consisting of around 100 soldiers led by Major Harry Smith must investigate the site. They have no idea that they’re basically walking into a trap… A deadly trap.
Danger Close: The Battle of Long Tan is my second Australian war movie, the first one being Beneath Hill 60. Of course, the most famous one is Gallipoli starring young Mel Gibson. Man, I remember being terrified by that movie as a kid. And mind you that is a PG movie! If you’re looking for more, I suggest you check out Kokoda, taking place in New Guinea during World War II. But I digress, let’s get back to the movie at hand.
If you want to know more about the battle I suggest you check out the award-winning documentary simply titled Battle of Long Tan Documentary. As you can see it’s available on YouTube and you can watch it for free. I loved the attention to detail here especially when it comes to the guns. We will finally see the Australian Owen gun with its top-loading magazine in action along with a slew of other period-accurate weapons. The same goes for the helicopters, airplanes, and artillery showcasing the scope of this movie.
However, it would appear that everyone’s uniforms are just too clean for such brutal conditions. This is just a minor complaint but it stood out amidst other, more authentic elements of the movie. It doesn’t pull any punches or dwells on melodramatic scenes. Brutal and gripping, it’s a movie you should check out.
Director: Kriv Stenders
Writers: Stuart Beattie, James Nicholas, Karel Segers
Cast: Travis Fimmel, Toby Blome, Luke Bracey, Uli Latukefu, Richard Te Are, Richard Roxburgh
Fun Facts: More 150 Australians with combat experience in Iraq and Afghanistan served as extras.