Thứ Năm, 2 tháng 4, 2015

Chúng ta đã chờ đợi 40 năm

cựu trung tá Lê Bá Bình

Westminster, California: Trên 1 ngàn khán giả đã đến rạp Regency ở thành phố Westminster trong hôm thứ bảy ngày 28 tháng 3, dự lễ ra mắt phim “Ride The Thunder, A Vietnam War Story of Victory and Betrayal”. Một câu chuyện thật vế cuộc chiến Việt Nam với những vinh quang và những phản bội (của người bạn đồng mình).
Cuốn phim dựa trên một tác phẩm cùng tên, viết để vinh danh quân lực VNCH , nhất là vinh danh binh chủng thủy quân lục chiến VN, do một cựu thiếu tá TQLC Hoa Kỳ, ông Richard Botkin viết lại.
Trong buổi lễ, ông Fred Koster, đạo diễn của cuốn phim cho biết là cuốn phim là những sự thật về cuộc chiến Việt Nam, trong đó các quân nhân Việt Mỹ đã can đảm chiến đấu bảo vệ sự tự do dân chủ.
Cuốn sách cũng như cuốn phim Ride The Thunder nói về những chi tiết của các trận đánh của tiểu đoàn Sói Biển TQLC Việt Nam trong thời của những năm Mùa Hè Đỏ Lửa 1972.
Hiện diện trong buổi lễ ra mắt phim còn có hai nhân chứng sống là cựu đại tá Gerry Turley, nguyên cố vấn cho tiểu đoàn Sói Biển và cựu trung tá Lê Bá Bình.
Không những chỉ có những người Việt cũng muốn xem phim này, nhưng cả những khán giả Mỹ. Theo tạp chí WND, cuốn phim Ride The Thunder đã là một trong những cuốn phim hàng đầu trong tuần lễ qua, ở các rạp hát ở Hoa Kỳ.
40 năm sau khi miền Nam Việt Nam bị mất vào tay cộng sản, những cựu chiến binh Thủy quân lục chiến Hoa Kỳ và VNCH đã có dịp nhìn lại những hình ảnh oai hùng, chiến đấu bên nhau cho tự do dân chủ của Việt Nam.
Theo cựu thiếu tá Richard Botkin, tác giả cuốn sách và cũng là giám đốc sản xuất điều hành cuốn phim đã cho biết cuốn sách và cuốn phim ghi lại những dữ kiện lịch sử về cuộc chiến Việt Nam cho những thế hệ mai sau.
Cũng theo ông Botkin thì những cuốn phim khác nói về cuộc chiến Việt Namm như the Deer Hunter, Platoon, Good Morning Việt Nam..v.v. là những cuốn phim hay trên lãnh vực giải trí, nhưng những cuốn phim này đã ghi lại những điều không thật, đã bóp méo sự thật về cuộc chiến anh hùng của các chiến sĩ Việt Mỹ, chống nạn cộng sản.

Điện Ảnh Cuối Tuần - Ride The Thunder

PV khán giả xem phim Ride the Thunder

Media's vicious lies on Vietnam finally exploded
On June 11, 1963, a Vietnamese Mahayana Buddhist monk burned himself to death at a busy Saigon intersection
On June 11, 1963, a Vietnamese Mahayana Buddhist monk burned himself to death at a busy Saigon intersection
South Vietnamese police chief Nguyen Ngoc Loan executes a Viet Cong guerrilla on Feb. 1, 1968
South Vietnamese Brig. Gen. Nguyen Ngoc Loan, chief of the Republic of Vietnam National Police, executes a Viet Cong guerrilla on Feb. 1, 1968
The startling images were forever seared into the minds of Americans in the 1960s.
A monk doused in gasoline and burning to death on a busy Saigon street.
A South Vietnamese police chief about to pull the trigger of a pistol pointed at a prisoner’s head.
A naked little girl crying and running from an American napalm strike that left her badly burned.
It was the Vietnam War as depicted through the skewed lens of America’s media.
U.S. soldiers were seen as crazed, drug-addicted “baby-killers” and “murderers.” America’s Vietnamese allies didn’t fare much better; they were often portrayed as corrupt, cowardly and unworthy of U.S. troops’ sacrifice.
Plain Dealer front page reports mass killing of between 347 and 504 South Vietnamese civilians by U.S. Army soldiers on March 16, 1968
Plain Dealer front page reports mass killing of South Vietnamese civilians by U.S. Army soldiers on March 16, 1968
But did these images and portrayals – splashed across Americans’ TV screens and newspapers – really represent the true story of Vietnam and the mission to halt the spread of communism?
Executive Producer Richard Botkin and Producer Fred Koster take a provocative look at the Vietnam War and the troops who fought it in the new documentary film, “Ride the Thunder: A Vietnam War Story of Victory and Betrayal,” set to be released on March 27 in Westminster, California. The movie portrays the inspirational story the media neglected – one of friendship, bravery, patriotism and sacrifice.
Botkin said, quite frankly, Americans have been duped.
“The men who served in Vietnam are every bit as great as their dads and uncles who served in World War II,” he told WND, adding that “there were several hundred thousand junior officers who served in the Marine Corps and Army, and yet the only name that is ever recalled is Lt. William Calley,” a former U.S. Army officer found guilty of murdering 22 unarmed South Vietnamese civilians in the My Lai Massacre on March 16, 1968.
“We’ve got to change that,” Botkin said.
After the war had been over for several years, former President Richard Nixon lamented, “No event in American history is more misunderstood than the Vietnam War. It was misreported then. It is misremembered now.”

"Ride the Thunder" scene
“Ride the Thunder”: Marines in Vietnam
Many popular films dealing with Vietnam – such as “Apocalypse Now,” “The Deer Hunter,” “Good Morning, Vietnam,” “Rambo” and “Full Metal Jacket” – serve as great entertainment, Botkin said, but they often grossly distort the reality of the warriors who fought courageously to stop the spread of communism.
Richard Botkin
Richard Botkin
“They portray the American fighting man as doped, duped, a victim, in it for the wrong reason. And, when he comes home, he’s definitely marginalized and at the mercy of the military industrial complex,” Botkin said. “And our Vietnamese allies are portrayed even more negatively. They’re portrayed as corrupt, effete, not wanting to fight, not worth fighting for.”
But Botkin – who also authored the WND book that inspired the movie, “Ride the Thunder,” and has toured former battlefields in Vietnam and chronicled accounts of the Vietnamese Marines and their American Marine advisers – is adamant in his assertion that “those representations are just simply wrong.”
“The film is our effort to try and right the historical wrongs, to leave a more positive record of the American fighting man and also our Vietnamese allies,” he said. “Communism is evil. We were right to oppose it.”
In the early 1970s, under President Richard Nixon’s “Vietnamization” program, the war was being turned over to South Vietnam. Botkin’s film tells the little-known story of a few courageous American and Vietnamese Marines who fought valiantly to thwart the Communist invasion – nearly saving South Vietnam – during North Vietnam’s all-out attack on South Vietnam from the DMZ known as the 1972 Easter Offensive.
In a true-life story, the film shows how, when the unrelenting North Viet­namese Army of 20,000 soldiers and 200 tanks reached the bridge at Dong Ha, their offensive was stopped in its tracks by a small force of just over 700 Vietnamese Marines and U.S. military advisers.
Even though the South Vietnamese Marines had nearly won on the battlefield, they would suffer terribly, starving and spending long years at hard labor after the war as part of the communists’ re-education process.

Actor Joseph Hieu plays Vietnamese Marine Maj. Le Ba Binh (second from left), who is held in a communist re-education camp in this scene from the film, “Ride the Thunder”
Lt. Col. Le Ba Binh stands in Quang Tri prior to being wounded for the 9th time, 1972
Lt. Col. Le Ba Binh stands in Quang Tri prior to being wounded for the 9th time, 1972
The film follows Vietnamese Marine Maj. Le Ba Binh, the main character played by Joseph Hieu, during his time at the communist camp in Nam Ha in 1979.
“We start with him in a re-education camp and having all these flashbacks,” Botkin explained. “During the flashbacks, we go to Vietnam, post-World War II, with him as a boy. We go to all the American people and Vietnamese people who were interviewed and appropriately tell the story through Binh’s life experience.”
Binh, a man with few equals in the war-fighting profession, served 13 years in heavy combat and another 11 years in prison camps. Despite numerous battle wounds and lost comrades, he showed unwavering courage in the face of extreme hardship. He was wounded nine times and awarded the American Silver Star.
“When the Americans went to Vietnam, they typically would go for 12 or 13 months,” Botkin explained. “But Binh was there for the whole thing. It’s through him that we tell the story, hoping to make the Americans see that their sacrifice was justified.”

Scene from "Ride the Thunder"
“Ride the Thunder”: Communist re-education camp
As the war ended, millions of displaced Vietnamese citizens fled the communist invasion. Hopeless citizens faced imprisonment and execution. On the morning of April 30, 1975, the Vietnamese Marine Corps ceased to exist after 21 years of combat.
The film cast includes many Vietnamese refugees. In fact, the location of the film’s premiere, Southern California, is home to about 370,000 Vietnamese Americans, many of whom are first-generation immigrants, refugees or war veterans from the former South Vietnam. Nearly 200,000 Vietnamese Americans live in Orange County.
“For them, telling the story has become more than just a job. It really is something they passionately believe in,” Botkin said. “All of these people are strongly anti-communist. They’re passionate, because they’ve suffered at the hands of communists. Their families have been killed or brutally tortured. They risked a lot and paid a heavy price for their freedom. I have nothing but respect for them.”

"Ride the Thunder"
“Ride the Thunder”: Communist re-education camp
As for the U.S. mission in Vietnam, Botkin said the effort bought time for the rest of developing Asia to grow free of communist influence.
“When we went ashore in 1965, there were active communist insurgencies in the Philippines, in Malaysia, in Indonesia, Thailand,” he said. “The American effort – for all its flaws that people point out – stalled the communist expansion and allowed those economies time to grow. I just don’t think there’s any question that our effort was the right one.”
As for America’s reputation today, Botkin said, “We’re fighting a battle for our nation’s soul. People think America is a bad country. But America is the light of the world. We’re the good guys.
“We were the good guys in World War II. We were the good guys in the Korean War. And believe it or not, we were the good guys in Vietnam.”

"Ride the Thunder"
“Ride the Thunder”: Victory near the Dong Ha bridge

Vietnam heroes: ‘I’ve been waiting 40 years for this!’

WESTMINSTER, Calif. (WND) – “I’ve been waiting 40 years for this film!”
That was a common refrain among the Vietnam War veterans and the South Vietnamese Americans – most with tears streaming down their faces – who gathered here on March 27 and 28 to witness their powerful story finally making it onto the big screen at the wildly popular premiere of “Ride the Thunder: A Vietnam War Story of Victory and Betrayal,” a film that exploded at the box office and ranked as the top movie in the nation in per screen revenue this weekend.
Some South Vietnamese attendees recalled their own heart-wrenching memories of more than a decade of starvation and torture in prison camps after they fought to keep their country free of communism. Separated from their wives and children, they saw friends and loved ones brutally murdered by North Vietnamese guards during their communist “re-education.”
cuoi ns 2
And 40 years after the fall of Saigon and the end of the Vietnam War, U.S. Marine and Army veterans remembered harrowing fire fights alongside their South Vietnamese brothers in arms – and their return to a nation that turned its back on its own freedom fighters.
But this momentous event wasn’t about re-opening old wounds.
Instead, it was a heartfelt celebration of brotherhood, a long overdue welcome home and a chance to finally tell the incredible story of unparalleled sacrifice that most Americans have never heard.
“The film record of the Vietnam War is what will determine history 10, 20, 50 years from now when all the Vietnam veterans are gone,” Richard Botkin, executive producer of “Ride the Thunder,” told WND at the red-carpet event.

Many popular films dealing with Vietnam – such as “Apocalypse Now,” “The Deer Hunter,” “Platoon,” “Good Morning, Vietnam,” “Rambo” and “Full Metal Jacket” – serve as great entertainment, Botkin said, but they often grossly distort the reality of the warriors who fought courageously to stop the spread of communism.
cuoi ns 3
“Those films portray our troops as victims, as dupes,” he said. “It marginalizes them, shows them very unfavorably and the leadership unfavorably. It shows our Vietnamese allies as even worse. Our film is an effort to begin to turn the tide against that so that, in the future, people will realize that America was right to fight in Vietnam, to stop communism, and that our South Vietnamese allies were worthy of our sacrifice and that they fought well also.”

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