Rescue Dawn (2006) [DVD9] 
A Film by Werner Herzog
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Drama/War | 1.85:1 | Color | English, Spanish, French Dolby Digital 5.1 and Surround | English, Spanish Subtitles | 125 min
In the tradition of The Great Escape and The Deer Hunter, Rescue Dawn is Werner Herzog's take on the pulse-pounding POW genre. Unlike most such efforts, however, his isn't just based on a true story, it's a remake of his 1997 documentary Little Dieter Needs to Fly. German-born Dieter Dengler (Christian Bale, who first made his mark in Steven Spielberg’s prison camp drama Empire of the Sun) has longed to pilot a plane since he was a boy. When he joins the Navy during the Vietnam War, he gets his wish. Then he's shot down over Laos. Though he survives, Dengler is captured by the Pathet Lao. Through his internment, he meets Duane Martin (Steve Zahn in his finest performance), with whom he becomes fast friends. While Dengler is arrogant and resourceful, Martin is patient and humble. With Dengler's assistance, the prisoners escape, but the untamed wilderness turns out to be just as dangerous (cinematographer Peter Zeitlinger ably captures its cruel beauty). Those who've seen Little Dieter know how this tale ends. Suffice to say, Herzog's reenactment makes for rousing entertainment. If the film has a flaw, it's that the rah-rah finale plays like something from out of a mainstream sports movie. That quibble aside, the actors, including Jeremy Davies as a delusional campmate and Toby Huss as a fellow flyer, are aces. And Herzog, who's been concentrating on nonfiction, like Grizzly Man, proves he can direct a Hollywood-style action epic with the best of 'em.