Watch A Case of Honor
- 1 hr 28 min
A Case of Honor is a dramatic action-thriller released in 1989. Set in the backdrop of the Vietnam War, the film tells the story of Lieutenant Tom Swanson (played by Timothy Bottoms), a Navy pilot who gets captured by the Viet Cong after his plane gets shot down. Swanson is taken to a POW camp where he meets Captain Vincent Bracey (played by John Phillip Law), another American captive who has been there for a while. The two officers quickly develop camaraderie, and Bracey offers Swanson protection from the brutal camp commander, Colonel Minh (played by Soon-Tek Oh).
As Swanson acclimates to the harsh reality of camp life, he begins to formulate an escape plan. Bracey, who has given up hope of ever leaving the camp alive, is initially hesitant but eventually agrees to help. The plan involves stealing a Viet Cong helicopter from a nearby airfield. The duo's mission is complicated by the presence of a high-ranking North Vietnamese officer who is in charge of the base. Moreover, they must deal with the threat of betrayal from fellow prisoners and the ever-looming threat of torture if their plan fails.
The film is a poignant look at the horrors of war and the human spirit's resilience. Swanson and Bracey's relationship forms the emotional core of the film, and their reliable performances bring depth to their characters. The screenplay by Douglas Day Stewart (An Officer and a Gentleman) is a well-constructed blend of drama, suspense, and action, with moments of levity to offset the dark subject matter.
A Case of Honor also features solid supporting performances from Candy Raymond, who plays an anti-war activist working to bring attention to POWs still in Vietnam. The film's historical context is underscored by her character's advocacy work, highlighting America's fraught relationship with the war and the POW's treatment.
The film's direction by Eddie Romero (The Twilight People) is a bit uneven, and the pacing is slow in some parts. The action sequences are intense and well-staged, but they're not plentiful enough to satisfy audiences expecting a more action-packed film. The Vietnam War-era setting is realistic and offers ample opportunities for effective cinematography, with the jungle locale serving as an atmospheric backdrop.
Overall, A Case of Honor is a gripping war drama that offers both thought-provoking commentary on the Vietnam War's brutal realities and a thrilling escape adventure. Timothy Bottoms' poignant portrayal of Swanson and John Phillip Law's subdued and emotional turn as Bracey elevate the material, but the uneven pacing and lack of consistent action may detract from audiences looking for non-stop thrills. It's a film that will appeal primarily to fans of the war film genre or those interested in America's troubled history with Vietnam.