No less troubling than the global helium shortage is the shortage of war film names: Hot on the heels of the second The Kill Team since 2013 comes the second Danger Close since 2017. In Kriv Stenders’ new Danger Close, Major Harry Smith (Travis Fimmel) is a battle-hardened vet who must lead a little over 100 wet-behind-the-ears Australian and New Zealand recruits against over 2,000 North Vietnamese troops in August 1966. Will they succeed against these incredible odds? Oh, they might. Some combat films try to be anti-war, some do not, and Danger Close falls into the latter category. It’s all very shiny, with gorgeous cinematography, sweaty muscular men, impossible CGI journeys of mortar shells from the muzzle to the kaboom, and a slo-mo prelude filled with bullets flying and napalm exploding. What makes this familiar vision of the apocalypse work now is composer Caitlin Yeo, whose burbling score gives Danger Close a sense of mid-70s Peter Weir-ish mysticism the film itself almost doesn’t deserve. But that heavy lifting is what a good score should do, particularly when one young Australian soldier with a dirty face is largely indistinguishable from another. And, um, no spoilers, but maybe don’t get too attached to the guy who says he can’t wait to get home and marry his fiancée.
Rated R. Opens Friday at the 4-Star Theater.