• Siege Of Firebase Gloria, The

    Released By: Kino Lorber
    Released On: December 08, 2015
    Director: Brian Trenchard-Smith
    Cast: Wings Hauser, R. Lee Ermey, Mark Neely
    Year: 1989
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    The Movie:

    With powerhouse cast members R. Lee Ermey and Wings Hauser, 1989's The Siege Of Firebase Gloria bursts onto Kino Lorber blu-ray with a Cannon films-like quality that can not be ignored!

    It's Vietnam in 1968, and the Tet holiday promises a three-day ceasefire between the Viet Cong and United States Military forces; practically a vacation for the soldiers fighting in-country. The rest and relaxation takes an ugly turn, however, when a unit led by Sergeant Major Bill Hafner (Ermey) and recently-busted-down-to-Corporal Joseph Di Nardo pay a visit to a village of American-friendly civilians, who have been punished for fraternizing with lethal violence. Torching the village and the pile of corpses, the soldiers move on where they end up in a fierce firefight with a nasty bunch of VC disguised as fishermen. This is clearly not the ceasefire Charlie promised, and Hafner warns ominously that something big is coming down.

    That big something is discovered when the chopper evac that they're traveling on catches some heavy machine gun fire and puts the Marines on the ground near Firebase Gloria, a lone outpost with a less-than-enthusiastic crew. The officer in charge seems to be concerned only with maintaining his high-as-balls mental state and parading around naked, and the most valued member of the platoon is a newly-crowned combat photographer with the best weed on this side of Hanoi. Realizing that a change of command is in order to deal with the slowly mounting VC force gathering near the outpost, Hafner and Di Nardo fake an enemy attack and relieve the commanding officers of their responsibility...and just in time.

    What follows is a nasty game of one-upmanship, with the Viet Cong attacking Gloria with a personal vendetta, determined to eliminate every last US soldier and prove that the war can not be won by the American Interlopers. For every loss that the Marines suffer, Hafner orders a retaliation, sending the troops under cover of darkness into the enemy camp, and each side attempts to outdo the other in corpse count and heads on sticks. But as the war rages outside of Gloria, so does the struggle inside; as Di Nardo questions his loyalty to the cause, Hafner questions his loyalty to the soldier he loves like a son, and the other occupants experience the real horrors of war for the first time.

    The Siege of Firebase Gloria, while plenty entertaining, is most definitely a product of its time; one of the last gasps of Vietnam films made in the 1980's. And while films like Stanley Kubrick's Full Metal Jacket and Brian DePalma's Casualties of War took more of an...intellectual...road in examining the horrors of combat, Gloria follows more of the formula set out by films like Missing In Action and First Blood Part II. This isn't a bad thing at all, if that's what you're looking for; the action is fierce and intense, the violence is gruesome and plentiful, and R. Lee Ermey barks his way through every scene like a pro. Hauser plays the disenchanted bad ass to perfection, searching for meaning as he bloodies up the battlefield, and the surprisingly cast Gary Hershberger leads the charge as the witty captain of the Air Cavalry, backing up Hafner and Co. with air support and toiletries.

    If you're looking for a thought-provoking, artistic look at war, there are plenty of films out there to choose from; if you want entertaining performances and shit blowing up for 100 minutes, The Siege of Firebase Gloria is just the ticket.


    Kino Lorber brings The Siege of Firebase Gloria to Blu-ray in a 1.85:1 AVC encoded transfer that is absolutely par for the course when it comes to KL. Detail is crisp, colours are decent, and dirt, debris and damage occasionally pop up, but nothing so chaotic that it takes away from the viewing experience. Truth be told, when watching a film like this that heralds back to the days of 80's action, a little ugliness adds to the authenticity. Black levels are good but not great, and the film occasionally displays a slight strobing effect during the darker scenes...again, nothing drastic.

    The DTS-HD MA 2.0 track is adequate, and doesn't suffer from any noticeable issues. Dialogue is clear and consistent, and well-balanced with the effects. A surround track would've been welcome, given the amount of opportunity exploding all over the screen, but the stereo track does a decent job.

    There are no subtitles included, and a Trailer for the film is the lone extra.

    The Final Word:

    Essentially a barebones release, The Siege of Firebase Gloria nonetheless receives an adequate presentation from Kino Lorber, and most definitely a step up for those who have only seen it on youtube.

    Click on the images below for full sized Blu-ray screen caps!

    Comments 4 Comments
    1. Barry M's Avatar
      Barry M -
      I will buy this. It is one of the better M*A*S*H episodes.
    1. Mark Tolch's Avatar
      Mark Tolch -
      Hahahahaha. True story.
    1. Scyther's Avatar
      Scyther -
      I've always wanted to see this; hear a lot of good things...and it stars Wings!
    1. Mark Tolch's Avatar
      Mark Tolch -
      You can't go wrong....Tarantino likes it!