Hated, loved, feared - Dr. Uwe Boll: On his hard way away from his many and partially very badly made video game adaptions (although it has to be said that they mostly have some kind of entertaining aspect to them), Tunnel Rats is one of his first movies with an original script. Unfortunately, this can be seen throughout the movie.
It is torn apart by its inability to decide whether it wants to be a anti-war movie like Platoon, a common war action flick á la Rambo (sequels) or a hardcore exploitation movie like The Last Hunter. There are nonetheless some nicely shot scenes with an apt and well chosen musical score, which are unfortunately ruined by the terrible screenplay including 30 minutes boring introduction, horrible dialogues, conventional action scenes and the glorious revelation that war is nothing nice to be in, especially because no one of the participating soldiers can or will win.
This "revelation" is being shown to the viewer not by subtlety but by the sledgehammer method. And yet this movie has to be seen as one of the first steps of a director who recently made many surprising movies like the reality-based Siegburg, Rampage (which could be called sociocritical) up to a real> anti-war movie, Darfur, which astonished the critics and even led to some comparisons to director legends like CLint Eastwood (although that "may" still be a bit far-fetched.
The movie was shown in US theaters in a cut R-Rated version and is partially sold as such on DVD there as well. More popular, however, is the "Unrated Director's Cut" called original version. The cuts that were made do not resemble the typical MPAA-like adjustments with single frames removed but have been made rather brutal, resulting in jumps in both video and audio of the movie. However, only the probably most famous killing scene and the "inevitable corpse desecration".
4 altered scenes = 3 min 16 sec
Crude cut: Vo Mai kills Johnson when he is leaving the tunnel by stabbing his neck with a bamboo pole. She has to look away whhile he is dying slowly and in agony. She then throws a hand grenade into the tunnel. Porterson, still in there, tries to get himself to safety but is affected by the explosion's blast wave and subsequently buried under debris.
Shot of the dead Johnson at the tunnel entrance, the rest of the group is entering from the background. The camera slowly pans upwards. The R-Rated starts as soon as Johnson cannot be seen anymore.
Additional cut to the killed soldier.
The scene starts a lot earlier in the "Director's Cut": Green is unable to pass the previously killed soldier in the tunnel and starts to cut off his arm and then his leg. The R-Rated version starts after Green rolled the severed aside and while he is trying to regain his breath.