A returning Vietnam Vet approaches mental collapse as he tries to readjust to a jobless post-war America. He is faced with haunting memories, squalid living conditions, a nagging wife, and extreme poverty before he is finally unable to cope any farther. Like Bob Clark's DEATHDREAM, COMBAT SHOCK is a biting critical response to the way America discarded its Veterans following the withdrawal from Vietnam. While the production values and acting may not be as polished or professional as Clark's film, the dark tone and disturbing realism have an immediate impact on the viewer. Giovinazzo's gritty filming and dilapidated cityscape are both reflective of Frankie's debilitating mental state, creating an external mirror to his inner anguish. It is impossible to avoid making comparisons to THE DEER HUNTER or TAXI DRIVER, since the film draws heavy influence from both, but it still manages to establish its own unique voice through Frankie's depressing performance. The horrors depicted in COMBAT SHOCK are inescapable. It is a brutal portrayal of one of America's darkest moments in history, and it is as shocking as the title entails.
If you liked COMBAT SHOCK, check out:
DEATHDREAM, CANNIBAL APOCALYPSE, TAXI DRIVER.