Robin Williams steals the show here in what otherwise could have been a much more interesting film surrounding how an individual can create a fervent following due to his subversive and irreverent comedy. The anti war elements with William's opposition over his superiors are the most interesting parts, and although William's comedy improv is great it could have been toned down a little.
One of those celebrity-driven cut-and-paste film, which seems to build entirely on Robin Williams' frenetic bombardment of lines and songs; the contrast to the actual bombings is plain enough, and Levinson finds here a good excuse to engage in his favourite dialogue-centered cinema. To be sure, the cast is good but everything else here succumbs to mainstream cinema canon. Thus, even the dj set has moderate appeal.
Why four stars? Welllll, according to the internets' lore, Williams adapted his own comedy routine/improvised (brilliantly) on the script, flexed (once again, but, alas, no longer) his dramedic chops, and managed to make a comedy about a controversial, divisive, and traumatic war (redundant, I suppose, that) into a tasteful classic for all ages...(re)watch it and see if you don't agree....
It has a lot of great character building and tell a lot about the mistakes that the American government did when they invaded Vietnam without lecturing anyone. Excellent use of rock'n roll music with Louis Armstrong's mood piece "What a Wonderful World" played in it's entirety add to the fun. A few dumb moments when Vietnamese locals that are educated in "American humor" drag down the movie.