I was incredibly surprised at the extremely favorable reviews after viewing this film. It doesn't help that the recent Burns/Novik film was released several months ago, eclipsing the efforts of this film. The story is epic, some of us are very familiar with the history of Vietnam from early colonial times to the present. I'm one of those people, and have spent considerable time in Vietnam, speak basic Viet, and understand the culture - so that's the caveat. The story told in this film was nothing new to me, and I mean nothing. The Burns/Novick film was refreshing, and there was new material I'd never seen, including some compelling footage gleaned from the archives in Hanoi. VC and NVA vets gave emotional interviews.... and in Vietnamese. And US vets also told their incredible stories. Ride the Thunder made some attempts at this, with a couple of interviews with US vets. Nothing from VC/NVA, or S Vietnamese. In the end, these portrayals created an awkward mix of low quality drama, and documentary lacking any real substance. It's kind of shocking, really.
This film had terrible acting. I'm sorry to have to relay this, but it was on par with a hastily made lower budget TV program, featuring extras. It took me three separate attempts to finish this movie. There were some Viet Kieu (foreign Vietnamese) actors, but I'm not sure there was a single Viet word spoken in this movie. Besides Dien Bien Phu, or Saigon, etc, lol.
If you're not up to speed on post war Vietnam following the fall of Saigon, or issues US soldiers faced back home after this terribly unpopular and foolish war, you might find this film worth your time. If you are somewhat informed, then you may find this film exceptionally cheesy and factually anemic. I'd have given it a lower score, but out of respect for the filmmakers, and their efforts to portray various perspectives, I'm not doing that. In all candor, it was a real let down.