Samuel Fuller's name may sound unfamiliar to many movie fans in America. This is a pity because Fuller, admired in Europe, made a lot of films that can still shock you. "Steel Helmet" is one of them.
It describes hard times experienced by the soldiers during the Korean War, and though the story sometimes is melodramatic, and the film is a low-budget one (obviously stock footage is used in the climax), "Steel Helmet" always has a ring of truth. The grim reality of war is presented with Fuller's original style, and he never gives us an easy solution to the conflicting relationships between the convincing characters.
To movie fans, however, the most surprising element is the character "Short Round." The idea of putting a young, innocent Korean kid and a veteran sergeant together in a dangerous battlefield, and making their relationship a touching one, is a thing that no one but Sam Fuller can achieve. And there is even an unexpected sense of humor in there (check out the scene in which something unusual is mistaken for shell dropping, and disturbs the soldiers' sleep). So, if you are moved by the films like "Saving Private Ryan" or "Platoon," this is a must for you.
Trivia: the boy's name "Short Round" is used by Steven Spielberg in his "Indiana Jones and The Temple of Doom," and director Samuel Fuller makes a cameo appearance in Spielberg's "1941." At least, Fuller is respected by him, this fact tells you.