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Genre: War/Drama
Starring: Christian Bale, Steve Zahn, Jeremy Davis
Director: Werner Herzog
Rating: NC-16 (Some Coarse Language)
Year Made: 2007




- Commentary by Director Werner Herzog and Interviewer Norman Hill
- The Making of a True Story Featurette
- Deleted Scenes
- Still Photo Gallery



Languages: English/Thai/Spanish
Subtitles: English/Spanish/ Chinese/Korean/Thai
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Widescreen
Sound: Dolby Digital 5.1
Running Time: 2 hrs 6 mins
Region Code: 3
Distributor: Origin Entertainment
Official Website:




In 1965, an American pilot on a top secret bombing mission was shot down over Laos and taken to a hellish prison camp deep in the impenetrable jungle of Vietnam. What followed was one of the most remarkable and harrowing experiences of the entire Vietnam War. Inspired by the true story of Dieter Dengler and written and directed by internationally acclaimed filmmaker Werner Herzog, Rescue Dawn is an uncanny tale of camaraderie and betrayal, courage in the face of despair and triumph over tragedy. It stands a true testament to the impossible boundaries of the human condition and the invincibility of the American spirit.


One of the many mysteries of 2007 include why this Wener Herzog film never got a theatrical release in Singapore. The leading man is a certain Christian Bale (he’s The Dark Knight, for god’s sake). The war movie features a generous share of action (cue bombs, fights, explosions). The German director is a critically acclaimed filmmaker who has his loyal fan base already. Enough gripes already, we hear you say. As the saying goes, it’s better late than never.

The exhilarating film is based on the true life account of Dieter Dengler, an American pilot whose plane was hit and crashed into the jungle during a secret mission to bomb Laos in 1965. He got captured and tortured as a prisoner of war by the local peasants. He then met other prisoners and became close to them. One day, he planned an escape with a fellow prisoner and the picture follows their trials and tribulations as they ventured through the unforgiving jungle.

The first thing you’d notice about the film is how frighteningly realistic the actors look like they have been tortured as prisoners of war. Their scrawny bodies and skinny physiques make them look like they have been suffering under the menacing enemies. Besides Bale who delivers an engaging performance (he whispers a lot in this movie, if you must really point out), the supporting cast does a fine job too. Who knew Steve Zahn (Chicken Little, Sahara) could deliver so well as a serious actor? You believe his intensities and fears as he trudges through the thick jungles for survival. And Jeremy Davies (if you find him vaguely familiar, he’s Daniel from the TV series “Lost”) is almost disturbing as the mentally unstable prisoner of war who plans to foil the escape. These three men helm the stage to make your eyes glued to the screen for the entire 126 minute runtime of the film.

Director Herzog makes a movie that is so compelling and powerful, you’d feel for the men who are trapped in the jungle. The harsh conditions and environment are so well played out, you’d begin to wonder how you’d react if it was you stuck in the situation. The scary thing is, this actually happened in 1965 during the Vietnam war, and men have been subject to these conditions. If there’s one thing movie like that can tell us, it’s how man can do anything under the most unkind and unforgiving situations, just to survive.

Yes, this may look like your big budget Hollywood movie with big cast and loud explosions, but at its heart is a movie about mankind’s toughest moments.


There is quite a substantial amount of special features on this Code 3 DVD. In the Commentary by Director Werner Herzog and Interviewer Norman Hill, we get a no nonsense question and answer commentary where Hill asks and Herzog replies. It starts off with Herzog talking about how the historical footage makes the film look un-Hollywood, and following that is how movie making need not be a fact by fact account of what really happened in history.

Unfinished Business: Telling Dieter’s Story
is a four minute segment where Herzog narrates Dieter’s personality and how the film is about optimism, courage and survival.

Strength of Character
is a nine minute segment where Bale talks about how tough the filming was under the harsh and, note this, real (bring on the snakes, swamps and mud) jungle conditions. Together with Herzog, they talk about how the real Dieter has a personality which we should look upon.

The 24 minute War Stories is a gritty and rough featurette which brings you behind the scenes of the movie where no digital effects were used to achieve the conditions. You’d see how Herzog is a hands on director who gets his own hands dirty when it comes to trudging through rivers and mud.

What Would Dieter Do?
is a seven minute which talks about the conflict and tension between the prisoners of war. This showcases the great performances of the cast members.

There are 3 Deleted Scenes with a total runtime of six minutes with optional commentary where you hear about how they made the movie seem too long.

There is also a Photo Gallery and Trailers of other Sony releases like Hancock, Redbelt and Standard Operating Procedure included on the disc.


The visual transfer complements the grittiness of the movie, while language options include English, Spanish and Thai Digital Dolby 5.1.



Review by John Li


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. Hellboy Animated: Blood & Iron

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. The Jane Austen Book Club

. Across The Universe

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. Walking Tall: Lone Justice

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. Are We Done Yet?

. Android Apocalypse

. Elizabeth I

. The Proposition

. 3 Needles

. Ghost Rider

. The Pursuit of Happyness

. The Illusionist

. Catch & Release


This review is made possible with the kind support from Origin Entertainment


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