James “Bo” Gritz was one of the most decorated US soldiers during the Vietnam War. According to his own conservative reckoning, he is responsible for the deaths of 400 people. He was also the inspiration for the Hollywood soldiers John Rambo, Colonel Kurtz in Apocalypse Now and “Hannibal” Smith in The A-Team. The two strands—of fact and fiction—entwine in this portrait of a man and a nation in crisis, exposing the interlocking dynamics of Hollywood’s fictional battlefields and America's secret wars.
Director Andrea Luka Zimmerman followed Gritz for ten years, and in this film she interweaves conversations and reportage footage from his lonely-seeming life with interviews with others involved such as the director of Rambo Ted Kotcheff, as well as archive material from Gritz’s secret missions and many appearances in the media. “I am going to be a champion for America until my last breath is drawn,” says Gritz, early on in the film. He means it, and nothing in the film gives any reason to doubt him. The growing question, however, is this: Which America is he fighting for?