Monday, June 1, 2015

Ride The Thunder - A Must See Movie

Sheralyn and I braved the thunderstorms late Saturday afternoon to attend a great movie that is being shown at selected theaters around the nation, "Ride The Thunder."  This is a docu-drama, relating the story of the book with the same name written by author and Marine Richard Botkin, about the Vietnam War, or better said the untold story of the Vietnam War and it's aftermath.  I can say this is the best docu-drama I have ever seen.  I am not a huge fan of that genre because most docu-dramas tend to feel more like a documentary than a movie, but not Ride The Thunder.  

Executive producer, Rich Botkin, co-producer Kieu-Chinh, and director Fred Koster brilliantly incorporated the documentary scenes into the dramatic scenes to gave the overall feel of this being a dramatic movie with many riveting, hold your breath scenes.  



Scenes from Ride The Thunder
This movie centered on the too much untold story of the communists' brutal, inhumane "re-education" camps that the South Vietnamese people suffered.  Many of those scenes brought tears to your eyes.  

It also told of how some of the left in our country undermined the war effort and sickeningly even supported the enemy.  Those scenes brought some feelings of anger to a patriot's heart. 

Even with the left's efforts working for us to lose the war, this movie had a wonderful patriotic ending showing how the sacrifice of the American soldiers were not in vain because their effort did so much good and saved so many Vietnamese' lives.  That heart warming so often unsaid truth about the war and the heroism of our brave soldiers that this movie told, actually brought a smile through the tears and anger.  Well, I actually should say a smile with at the same time tears of admiration for our military and our country.

What I also loved about this movie, it was able to tell the story of the war without any gratuitous violence.  You don't have to worry about any bloody, gory scenes because there are none. That is why this movie is rated PG-13 and not R.  

The co-stars of the movie who did a wonderful job were Eric St. John and Joseph Hieu. 

From Tami Jackson, the movie's social media marketing director, on the Ride The Thunder web site"Protagonists in Ride the Thunder include Americans (the late) USMC Col. John Ripley, USMC Col (Ret) Gerry Turley, USMC Capt George Philip, and Vietnamese Marine LtCol Le Ba Binh ... and Vietnamese Marine Nguyen Luong.

Also, from Tami Jackson:  "Ride the Thunder, the book, is the culmination of 5 years of writing, 1 year of editing, 4 trips to Vietnam, thousands of hours interviewing American and South Vietnamese Marines. And the book made the prestigious USMC Commandant’s Reading List.

The movie, which is approximately 60% re-enactment and 40% interviews, has been 4 years in the works.

Botkin partnered with Fred Koster (screen writer and director), of Koster Films, and through private funding they have brought the essence of the book to the big screen."

Ride The Thunder cast and crew
Tami Jackson notes that the name of the book and the movie, Ride the Thunder comes from Teddy Roosevelt's "Man in the arena" speech he gave on April 23, 1910:  "There is little use for the being whose tepid soul knows nothing of the great and generous emotion, of the high pride, the stern belief, the lofty enthusiasm, of the men who quell the storm and ride the thunder."

I tweeted to Tami Jackson after Sheralyn and I saw the movie the following words that I felt while watching the movie:  "powerful, riveting, emotional, and educational."  I forgot to add one word I will do now, patriotic.

What is great about when Sheralyn and I went to the movie, even though we went at a non prime time [at 4:30 in the afternoon] and there had just started a big storm outside, the theater, while not 100%, still had a big crowd.  What was also heart warming to me was that at least 90% of the audience was Vietnamese-Americans, which meant that the word has gotten out to the Vietnamese community about this important movie.  It will be even better when all of America gets the word about this movie and attends it. 

Yes, Sheralyn and I literally rode through the thunderstorms to attend Ride The Thunder.  When the movie comes to your area, I hope you will ride the thunder, too, for this must see movie.  



12 comments:

bradley said...

Wow, if the movie is half as good as your riveting review, it will be amazing-- on my list for later this week
Thx for a review that Roger Ebert would be proud to read

Big Mike said...

😀😀

Dã Quỳ said...

It's nice to hear some review from some Americans viewers like you. We really need to show everyone this movie so they understand more about Vietnam War and all the sacrifices that our both American and Vietnamese soldiers had done.

My dad was put in "re-education" camps for 5 years, so this movie really bring all the memories back to us.

Thank you for watching and give us a great review.

Sincerely,
one of 2nd generation of American Vietnamese in Houston area.

Dã Quỳ said...

I read the book long ago before watching the movie last weekend here in Houston.

Big Mike said...

Wow, thank you so much for your comments Da Quy, and I am so sorry your Dad and your family had to experience that inhumanity. God Bless You!

Big Mike said...

Brad, in my comment to you... I don't know where those question marks come from I put smiley faces....maybe blogger didn't recognize it. I just started to put another smiley face but I'm afraid to now.

Greg Gillaspy said...

WHEN WE CAME HOME WE ALL A QUESTON " WAS IT WORTH IT"? THE ENDING OF THIS MOVIE BRINGS THE AWNSER. YES IT WAS WORTH IT! THANK YOU RIDE THE THUNDER.

Big Mike said...

Yes big Greg! Thank you "Ride the Thunder" and thank you Greg.

Dã Quỳ said...

Dear Mr. Mike and everyone:

My father’s position in the vanquished government made him and our family subjects of persecution by the communist regime. After hostilities officially ended between South and North Vietnam in 1975, my father was incarcerated for five years. After his release, he remained a political prisoner within the borders of his native land until the day he left VN to US. His suffering qualified us for War Refugee status in the eyes of the American government.

As Division chief of Ethnic Minority People Division in the Republic of Vietnam, my father made sure minorities were treated equally under the law. Now, I take great pride in fulfilling my role as it allows me to follow in my father’s footsteps. Like my father, I have enriched my family’s history of helping people and love to pay back to America and everyone had helped us out too.

Thank you for reading my comment.

Big Mike said...

What a great man your father was Da and what a great son he raised who followed in his footsteps. I know he is so proud of you! Thank you for sharing your amazing story and blessings to you and all of your family! You are a real patriot of Vietnam and America! God Bless!

Dã Quỳ said...

I am not my daddy's son. ;) :)
I'm his oldest daughter. ;) :) Sometimes, I wished that I'm his son so I can carry our family's name to the next generation. ;) j/k
Anyway, I'm still trying my best to made him, my family, and especially my children would be proud of me though.

Big Mike said...

Oh, I am so sorry. I feel bad calling you his son. I am sure you are making everyone in the family proud of you!! Thank you so much for responding. It is truly an honor for me for you to comment on my blog post! :-)