When Gene Hackman retired from acting in 2004, it was a bit of a shock. The two time Oscar winner had done so much on the screen so who would deny him the ability to not have to enjoy his time. But Hackman became more and more missed as his past performances grew in stature whether it be The French Connection, Bonnie and Clyde, The Conversation or The Royal Tenenbaums. So it was a thrill to see he’d be part of an IMAX documentary film. But Gene didn’t come back for the money or the glory. He narrates We, The Marines because he was a U.S. Marine and he will always be a part of the Corp.
Hackman talks about how this branch of the armed service was founded to have sharp shooters on boats in order to fight back against pirates. All these centuries later, the Marines are still going at it with certain traditions intact. For decades the recruits arriving on a bus at night on Paris Island, South Carolina. There’s a piece about combat dogs used to sniff out explosives. There’s vintage footage of Bob Hope entertaining the troops during the Vietnam War. But a lot of the screen time is showing the harsh training conditions from the Marines at their various bases around America. Those training before being stationed in Korea have to learn to ski in combat mode and jump into freezing water to see if they can endure. There’s parachuting exercises. There’s a submerged escape that’s rather treacherous. Hackman does point out that people can get hurt during the training lessons.
Hearing Hackman’s voice once more coming from the screen is so nice. He narrates from experience and not just the page. There’s a sense that Gene misses his days of active duty more than acting. Gene doesn’t get to point out that he so badly wanted to be a Marine that he lied about his age and enlisted at 16. I’m grateful that Hackman came back to lend his voice to the Corp one more time for We, The Marines.
The video is 1.78:1 anamorphic. One of the versions of the film is 4K HDR10+ that will push your 4K system to the ideal. The resolution brings out the detail in the various training exercises. The audio is Dolby ATMOS and Dolby Digital 5.1. Hackman comes through clearly in his narration. The movie is subtitled.
Blu-ray and Digital versions of the film and bonus features.
We, The Marines – Addendum (21:44) is Behind the Scenes Footage. This includes the recruits calling home upon arrival at Paris Island under orders of the drill Sargent. Sadly there’s not bonus footage of Gene Hackman recording his narration.
Trailer (2:07) has the big action moments.
Shout! Factory presents We, The Marines. Directed by Greg MacGillivray. Starring: Gene Hackman. Rated: Unrated. Running Time: 38 minutes. Released: December 11, 2018.
Tags: Gene Hackman, IMAX, We The Marines