Purple Hearts: Sidney Fury’s Tale of Love during Vietnam, Starring Cheryl Ladd

The Vietnam War provides the background for Sidney J. Furie’s familiar love story between a navy surgeon and a nurse.

In the predictable tale, based on a script by Rick Natkin and Furie, a cynical battlefield doctor (Ken Wahl) meets a pretty nurse (Cheryl Ladd) while performing a critical operation. A war widow reluctant to have her heart broken a second time by the loss of a serviceman, she at first rejects him but later succumbs to his charms.

Trying to humanize the Vietnam War by giving it recognizable characters the audience can relate to, the film is well-intentioned but ultimately disappointing.

Sharply uneven, the film contains some gritty action sequences (Furie’s specialty), such as Viet Cong troops attacking U.S. machine-gun positions. The saga then turns into a conventional escape story, when the doctor is shot down behind enemy lines and dangerously runs for his life while helping a wounded buddy.

At 115 minutes, “Purple Hearts” extends its welcome by at least 20 minutes.