THE LAST FULL MEASURE
(Amazon Prime on demand)
Based on a true story about Airman William H. Pitsenbarger (Jeremy Irvine), a para-rescueman in Vietnam who sacrificed his life saving others, writer and director Todd Robinson’s feature serves as a tribute to Pitsenbarger and the men who were impacted by the war.
Christopher Plummer and Diane Ladd portray Pitsenbarger’s parents, Frank and Alice. Sebastian Stan is Scott Huffman, a Pentagon civilian tasked with finding out why Pitsenbarger did not receive the Congressional Medal of Honor as had been recommended.
At first, Huffman blows off the investigation, knowing that he would be leaving his job soon and, of course, it takes years to investigate these matters. His coworker Carlton Stanton (Bradley Whitfield) advises Stan “to leave it for the next guy.” But as Huffman contacts the men who know about what happened during combat in Vietnam decades earlier, he begins to change his perspective.
A crew of outstanding actors portray older men who were young soldiers at that bloody battle. William Hurt, Peter Fonda, John Savage, Ed Harris and Samuel L. Jackson play Vietnam veterans who still feel the pain of their war experiences. (Also in the cast is gifted actress Amy Madigan, who is married to Harris, but who plays Peter Fonda’s wife in the film.) Dale Dye, a former Marine who serves as a consultant and trains actors for realistic battle sequences in war films, portrays Senator Holt in the film.
Flashbacks take viewers back to the jungle firefight when Pitsenbarger appeared like “an angel” to care for and then transport the wounded to a hovering helicopter.
Although not as compelling as the somewhat similar “Hacksaw Ridge” about World War II Medal of Honor winner Desmond Dross (Andrew Garfield), “The Last Full Measure” still remains a meaningful and emotional narrative about a bureaucratic and maybe even purposeful wrong which was eventually made right.
DIE IN A GUNFIGHT
(In theaters and VOD)
Beginning with violent animated sequences that morph into live action, director Collin Schiffli’s “Die in a Gunfight” erupts into a stylized feature with an edgy graphic novel ambience.
Another take on the star-crossed lovers tale, the modern story follows a young couple whose families, the powerful and wealthy Rathcarts and the equally powerful and wealthy Gibbons, have been feuding for generations.
In order to separate the lovers, Mary Rathcart’s (Alexandra Daddario) parents send her to boarding school in Europe. Back home, Ben Gibbon (Diego Boneta) attempts suicide but is “saved” by Mukul (Wade Allain Marcus), who becomes his constant companion. Years after their separation, Mary and Ben reunite.
The tension-filled narrative includes hardened Aussie hit man Wayne (Travis Fimmel), who is heartbroken and filled with vengeance after his wife Barbie gets caught in the crossfire. Rathcart employee, scorned lover and stalker Terrence (Justin Chatwin) also seeks revenge.
Screenwriters Andrew Barrer and Gabriel Ferrari (Marvel’s “Ant-Man and the Wasp”) give this immortal saga some fresh (and extremely bloody) twists. Tragically, Mary and Ben suffer the bitter consequences of their families’ malice.
Alice Reese is a member of the Dallas Fort Worth Film Critics Association. She reviews movies, arts and entertainment for the Herald-Banner and for KETR.