Dead Presidents was an excellent film that discusses a young black man’s desire to enlist in the Marine Corps so that he could serve his country during the Vietnam War. Actor Larenz Tate’s character Anthony Curtis taught it would benefit him personally and professionally.
However, he did not realize that this decision would have a negative impact on his life. Like many soldiers in the military, they are trained to kill. Unfortunately, many soldiers lost their lives fighting an unjust war. One scene in the film that stood out for me was when Anthony Curtis (Larenz Tate) opens a piece of paper that read “Black Man, Go Home This Isn’t Your War” next to a dead soldiers body in the jungles of Vietnam. I agree with this quote because black people were never Vietnam’s enemy.
The real enemy of Vietnam was the U.S. government. It was one major reason that boxing great Muhammed Ali refuse to fight against the Vietnamese people. He believed that they had nothing to do with racial discrimination and oppression that continues plaguing black people in America today.
Getting back to the film, seeing his comrades getting killed and hooked on drugs caused him to become paranoid about his experiences in Vietnam. After returning home, he encountered great difficulties adjusting back to civilian life. For example, he came back home and found his friend Skip (Chris Tucker) hooked on heroine. Eventually, Skip would end up dead from a drug overdose in his apartment.
The war brainwashed him into believing that the government had his best interests at heart, but neglected the needs of soldiers. As a result, he gets laid off from his job at a butchery and turns to a life of crime to provide for his family. Anthony and his friends plan a bank heist that goes all wrong and gets sent to jail. The moral of the story is that soldiers, especially of color, should not put their trust in their government to take care of them because it will not happen.
During the Vietnam War, soldiers were denied the benefits they deserved while serving. It just shows people that serving your country does not always earn you respect in the long run. Instead, it creates enemies among those you never imagined. War causes chaos and destruction between nations and turns allies into bitter enemies.
Dead Presidents gives an accurate portrayal about the traumatic effects that war can have on a person’s ability to function in this society.