Heores Without a Cause | Chicago Reader

Heores Without a Cause

Fighting the Vietcong in 1968, two Puerto Rican GIs stranded in enemy territory while away their time debating issues of war, family, and honor. Raul (Jimmy Navarro) is a patriotic hothead who's quick on the trigger, whereas Carlos (Jorge Castillo) is more skeptical about the war; meanwhile, their loved ones worry about them back home. The material, with its echoes of Platoon and The Deer Hunter, is potentially thought provoking, but this 1998 feature never comes alive: the screenplay, by director Ivan Dariel Ortiz, substitutes stilted dialogue for dramatic tension, and the jungles of Southeast Asia look suspiciously like a national park. But Ortiz manages to honor the Puerto Ricans who fought in Vietnam without masking his antiwar stance.

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