The odd thing about this film, is that it could've taken place with any background. War, college campus, neighborhood gang. The real plot is about the affects of rape and murder on the good guy and the bad guys. The Vietnam war just happens to be where it really took place, so we are entered into that gritty world of sudden violence, if not sudden death. Fox is a rookie soldier joining Penn's squad. Penn sort of casually mentions that they're gonna find themselves a girl to "keep up morale" while they are on their journey. This involves abducting a young farm girl from her villiage in the middle of the night, not affected in the least by the girl's hysterical mother. Each man (it's a group of 5) has his different reaction, Riley as the dumb "go along with anything" soldier does exactly that, Harvey, in a terrific wacko performance, loves the idea, with Leguizamo and Fox opposed. But Leguizamo, feeling the equivalent of teen peer pressure, does not back Fox when the two want to approach Penn about his antics. So Fox is left in an awkward position the rest of his stay in the field with his squad. There is of course, a confrontation, in a drawn out scene, where toughies Penn and Harvey accuse him of being gay and not doing to the enemy what they deserve. This is the core of the film's impact, as they quarrel, the girl is raped, and then Penn demands that Fox kill her! When she becomes ill, Penn fears her coughing may give away their posistion, so he berates Fox to stab her. He refuses, and in an ensuing arguement, the girl tries to get away, which ends up leading to a chaotic scene in which she reaches a slow, painful demise. The rest of the film deals with Fox trying to bring attention about what happened to his mostly deaf and incompotent superiors. That brief summary, though, barely scratches the surface of the emotionally charged scenes you will experience in the movie. There are many sad moments even before the girl is introduced. And then audience anguish when we think that maybe these men will get away with what they did. The key to the impact is, of course, the performances. Penn is his usual out of control self, who you may feel bad for, seeing how he's such a dedicated soldier and even decent guy before the kidnapping. An underrated and hardly known Don Harvey, I think somewhat outshines Penn with his always angry, scary corporal whose dark eyes and contant scowl give him a great intimidation factor. Riley makes you roll your eyes with his convincing moron, a guy who baffles as to why he'd get into the army, with his I.Q. seeming to be below 40. Leguizamo you try to forgive because of how he's afraid of being attacked verbally, or even physically, by his partners. You can understand his dilemma. Le, as the girl, as expected has little to say, but in her facial expressions, shows us the fright and terror that's enough to jar us. And as far as Fox is concerned, a PERFECT performance and choice for him to show us his dramatic side. He did so sometimes on "Family Ties" and in a couple of cinematic bombs (i.e. "Light of Day", "Bright Lights, Big City") but those works did not nearly approach the powerful scope that this film exhibits. And he puts his dramatic talent on full blast, displaying the mental exhaustion so well, from the disturbing events he went through. It was a very big key to his career when he decided to take this. Some might say how can you make entertainment out of rape, but the one scene of it is only 2 minutes long, with the real story here of how people handle themselves in crisis. The only mis-steps were the sometimes overly violin-ey score, getting a little too weepy here and there. And also the fact that even though Fox is the one good guy of the film, we never find out his first name! But there are too many hard hitting moments of realism to sink this, with the best highlight being the strong acting.