(Chris Stuckmann Movie Reviews intro is shown)
Chris Stuckmann: Hacksaw Ridge is directed by Mel Gibson and stars Andrew Garfield...
(An image of Andrew Garfield as Desmond Doss is shown. *Note: Chris mispronounces his name as Ross)
Chris (vo): ...and is the true story of Desmond Ross*, a man who served during World War II in the Battle of Okinawa...
Chris: ...and he had the unique requirement of not being able to touch a gun. He didn't want to take a life, he wanted to operate as a medic. He wanted to save lives on the battlefield rather than take them. And this is the true story of how he met the love of his life, how he tried to convince people that he wasn't a coward, and all the struggles that come with joining the army and then saying, "I don't want to touch a weapon." I had an opportunity to see an early press screening of this movie, and I can tell you I left the theatre stunned. I drove home in almost complete silence, just thinking about the film. That's how great this film is.
(An image of Mel Gibson directing a movie is shown)
Chris (vo): I am so glad to see Mel Gibson back directing movies, because ever since The Man Without a Face...
Chris: ...I think he's made a lot of really good movies. Braveheart being incredible, and Apocalypto being almost just as good. I love Apocalypto, it's so underrated. And with Hacksaw Ridge, I can say that he has come very close to topping Braveheart. I will say Braveheart is maybe just ever so slightly on top, but, damn, it's close. What pleased me so much about this film was how old-fashioned the filmmaking is.
(An image of a line of soldiers standing is shown)
Chris (vo): This movie feels like you're watching a film that maybe was made in the 60s or the 70s, just with better budget and better equipment.
Chris: The way Gibson moves the camera in this movie, the way he allows entire scenes to play out just with actors emoting, without speaking, the way he allows their emotion to seep through that frame.
(Another image of Doss is shown)
Chris (vo): Andrew Garfield as Desmond Ross, I feel gives the best performance of his entire career. His accent, to me, worked very well.
Chris: I thought he was very, very good in the war scenes, which I will talk about in a minute, but even better in the scenes...
(An image of Doss with his girlfriend Dorothy is shown)
Chris (vo): ...with Teresa Palmer, who also gives the performance of her entire career so far as a nurse that Desmond meets, and they get to know each other.
Chris: And their relationship was so sweet and so charming. It was like Emma Stone and Andrew Garfield in The Amazing Spider-Man, except not...a shitty movie. (Chuckles)
(Images of Captain Jack Glover and Smitty are shown)
Chris (vo): Also, this movie has performances by Sam Worthington and Luke Bracey that are really great.
Chris: Not since Jai Courtney being good in Suicide Squad has something been so shocking.
(An image of Sgt. Howell is shown)
Chris (vo): Vince Vaughn is in this film as a drill sergeant, and is really good. I really bought his performance. He has a lot of really great comedic one-liners...
Chris: ...and a lot of good serious moments, too. He's not just always tearing soldiers down and saying really insulting things to their faces. A lot of people forget that he started in more serious movies like The Lost World. He still has those chops, and he shows it here. But out of all the supporting cast, I gotta say, the stand out, and I am so happy to say this...
(An image of Tom Doss, Desmond's father, is shown)
Chris (vo): ...Hugo Weaving gives one of the best performances in this film. I haven't seen him in a movie in a long time.
Chris: I mean, he's really great as all these characters we love him for, like Agent Smith or V or Elrond or Red Skull. All these characters in big fan favorite-type movies, he's a lot of fun. But in this film, he gives such a hardened, emotionally powerful performance as Desmond's father, who deals with alcoholism, who was in a war himself, who's very confused about why both of his sons want to join the war after he's seen all of his friends die. He was so great in this film, and I was so blown away by his work. So let's talk about those battle sequences, 'cause when they hit...they hit. I have not seen battle sequences this disturbing since Saving Private Ryan. Now I read a critic's review, who said that this film conflicted itself in regards to its theme, that it has a hero who is against violence, and yet, the film is glorifying violence.
(An image of Doss trying to help a wounded soldier in battle is shown)
Chris (vo): I personally don't feel that way. I think this film depicted the war scenes almost like a horror movie. They are terrifying.
Chris: At the press screening, there was a woman sitting in front of me, and there is a moment in the movie where a character thinks he has some cover, because there's a lot of smoke, and he comes out of the hole that he's hiding in, and then the smoke starts to dissipate, and he goes, "Oh, shit. My cover's going away." And you see some of the enemy coming through the smoke, and the girl sitting in front of me went like this. (Covers his face in fright) Oh, no! The battle scenes in this movie are frightening and brutally realistic, nothing has been held back. They're gory, and very well done, and nothing about it seemed Hollywood-ized or glamorous. It was...this happened. This sucked. Here's one guy who tried to do something good. And that's what was so inspiring about this movie, because around all of the gunfire, around all of the explosions, you have this one slender, thin man running through these lines, trying to save as many people as he could. And this is true, this happened, this is a real guy, and it's so great. I'm so used to seeing these "based on a true story" movies that are like these tragic things, where some idiot did something dumb, and here's a great "true story" movie about a real hero, who did something really awesome. Now there's something that some people were concerned about was this movie was going to push Christianity, that it was going to be like, you know, "Read the Bible" and everything. It's really not like that. This is moreso about one man...
(An image of a scene where the soldiers try to get Doss to hold a gun is shown)
Chris (vo): ...who had such strong beliefs, and it depicts his struggle of maintaining them.
Chris: It doesn't tell you that you should have those same beliefs. It shows a man who has those beliefs, and then shows us how hard it was for him to maintain them, and I think that was the focus of the movie. And the whole Christianity aspect kind of falls by the wayside, which...it doesn't necessarily become a focus, and that was something I appreciated, too. Guys, in the end, Hacksaw Ridge affected me very deeply. It's one of the best films of the years, one of the best war films, I think, ever made, and Mel Gibson has proven once again that he is a master behind the camera. But I have but one issue with the movie, and it's almost a nitpick. There are certain character arcs I was wanting to experience a little bit more from onscreen, and instead, we get text that sort of tells you what happened. I wanted to see certain things happen in the end, and I didn't get to see. It's kind of a nitpick, but it's my only real issue with this movie. Definitely don't miss this one, guys.
(A close-up of the movie's poster is shown)
Chris (vo): It is damn great. I'm gonna give Hacksaw Ridge an A.
Chris: Guys, thank you so much as always for watching. Please do check out my fourth annual Halloween special my wife and I made. We worked very hard on it to do a cool short film involved with our reviews of Cabin in the Woods, horror movies. It's on my channel right now, and you're gonna see a link for that in a second. Guys, thank you once again. You're the best. If you like this, you can click right here and get Stuckmannized.