Combat! The Complete Fourth Season (DVD)

Image Entertainment releases season four of one of the most complex and interesting war time dramas I’ve ever seen. With a wonderful opening sequence reliant on heavy symbolism involving a soldier’s helmet, and a great cast, “Combat!” is a lot like “Saving Private Ryan.” But if their journey was five seasons long.

And we followed two separate platoons on the field. “Combat!” takes a more subtle approach to the war, with star Vic Morrow and Rick Jason leading their own platoons through the battlefield with episodes that varied between characters. Season four on DVD features all 31 episodes of the fourth season as well as bloopers, audio commentary, and behind the scenes.

The show has surprisingly held up very well over the decades, with a grit and dread filled series of episodes that picture the war life more a life altering and threatening experience rather than kowtowing to patriotism. “Combat!” has the advantage of being right down the middle of regards to its ideas about war, and what it does to our main characters over the course of the series.

Much of the show’s stories involved a conflict or mission Rick Jason’s character Hanley or Morrow’s character “Chip” Saunders were tasked with leading, most of which were confined to limited scenery and a small band of cast members. It’s very much a television war drama on a limited budget, but gladly one that’s a strong enough drama to offer entertainment for fans of war based dramas like “Tora! Tora! Tora” or “The Longest Day.” What would start out as a simple mission would soon turn in to an entirely new conflict altogether, and often induced some rather excellent foreshadowing that would lead in to the central story.

Much of Season Four is teeth grinding in tension, with Hanley and Saunders experiencing more and more violent confrontations on the battlefields. There are many interesting moments in the season including the guest role by John Cassevetes, Sal Mineo, and young Tom Skerritt, and Claude Akins respectively. Whether you prefer Hanley’s or Saunders’ view of the war and their action in the war, “Combat!” is still a very good series that taps in to the sixties era fascination with war and combat alike.

 

In Stores July 16th from Image Entertainment. Buy It Here!