Southern Comfort (1981)

Southern Comfort (1981), directed by Walter Hill.

Meet a unit of Louisiana National Guard on maneuvers. Through accident and stupidity they find themselves in a survival situation, battling unfriendly swamp Cajuns. None of the soldiers are suited to the task, lacking skill or temperament or both, and are picked off one by one.

The director didn't want to talk about it, but this is obviously "Vietnam in the bayou".

I hadn't seen this for a long time but it has always been a nostalgic favorite. Walter Hill tends to deliver entertainment value, but I see more of its flaws now.

We have a strong beginning with introductions, particularly noting the two clever "operators" in the unit: Keith Carradine -- relaxed and accepting the bad craziness, and Powers Boothe -- transplanted Texas tough guy, outraged at the insanity.

The ending is also very good, with serious tension, paranoia and excessive explosive violence in a swamplands party with it's great music, friendly locals and explicit hog slaughtering.

The long muddled middle is more of a problem:

Still, it's a great, gritty, rewatchable action picture.

Very cool dobro score by Ry Cooder. Many lovely long-focus shots of the bayou toward the beginning. Great 1980s cast.

Shout Factory Blu-ray. The color palette is a subdued army drab, probably matching the original film. I don't remember if I saw this in the theater.