The Protégé [AKA The Asset] (2021, dir. Martin Campbell)

An assassin tracks those who killed her mentor. While the script gets bogged down in backstory and complications, there’s a sense of unfussy confidence in the direction, action choreography, editing, and stuntwork that makes this a worthwhile watch. A decent – if to-type – cast helps. Some corners cut in production design don’t help.

Here’s the trailer.

Da 5 Bloods (2020, dir. Spike Lee)

Four black Vietnam veterans return to find their fallen comrade, and to retrieve a cache of gold. Smart, incendiary mix of military action and state of the nation drama. Playful and serious in equal measure, and cine-literate as hell. Oh, and the Best Actor Oscar? The statuette’s got Delroy Lindo’s name on it already.

Here’s the trailer.

Platoon (1986, dir. Oliver Stone)

An idealistic volunteer learns the brutality of war the hard way. Simplistic but undeniably effective Vietnam War morality play, with a soldier’s-eye perspective throughout; an excellent ensemble cast supports the drama.

Kong: Skull Island (2017, dir. Jordan Vogt-Roberts)

Or, Heart of Kongness. 1973-set mash-up of Conrad, every Vietnam flick ever, and Conan Doyle-ish Lost World stuff, with a bit of Treasure Island thrown in. B-movie fun while it’s on.

Want a different opinion from a member of the 255Review crew? Here’s MA Randall’s take.