Brothers in Arms: The Making of Platoon

In DVD/Blu-ray by Samuel Love

Oliver Stone’s Platoon is one of the most iconic war movies ever made, and like Francis Ford Coppola’s Vietnam epic Apocalypse Now, had a rather troubled history. Director Paul Sanchez has tried to recreate the success of the acclaimed documentary on the latter film’s production with this tell-all doc on the making of Platoon – but the results are rather lacklustre.

Narrated by the 1986 classic’s leading man Charlie Sheen and directed by Paul Sanchez who also starred in the film (coincidentally, as a character named Doc), this doc is full of familiar faces from the cast of Platoon including Willem Dafoe, John C. McGinley and even Johnny Depp. But the film is a rather tedious slog through overlong and meandering anecdotes from the cast that offer little insight into the film’s production. That said, discussions of the bond and camaraderie between the cast during the gruelling boot camp training are occasionally touching.

While there are some juicy nuggets of trivia littered throughout – Stone, who neglects to make an appearance, had some questionable directing methods that rubbed a lot of the cast the wrong way. But there is little to be learned here that cannot be found with a quick scroll through the trivia page on the film’s IMDb listing, or a leaf through Stone’s recent memoir.

While the afore-mentioned documentary on the cursed production of Apocalypse Now is considered a classic in itself and was filmed alongside the shooting of the acclaimed masterpiece, this retrospective documentary feels like a rather desperate cash-grab. Cheaply made and poorly edited, Brothers in Arms would even leave viewers feeling short-changed if it were a special feature on a Platoon DVD – let alone a release in its own right. 

While there is no debating the classic status of Platoon itself, this amateur behind-the-scenes documentary offers little more than a rehash of the film’s Wikipedia page.