Bittersweet Ending: Rhodes's son died of illness several years before in the very camp they found. He is too late to save his son, but finds Macgregor's son and three others for whom the war is now over. Also, one member of the team dies for every POW they rescue.
Xiang, the drug dealer who supplies the mission, and then comes along to man the recoilless rifle and be awesome.
Rhodes qualifies, both as a capable leader, and as an anti-personnel sniper.
Deadpan Snarker: During one of the exercises, the team must make it through the forest to the tower, without being tagged by Wilkes. Wilkes not only systematically takes them apart, using traps, positioning and tactics, but hangs a customised sign on each of them to make them look stupid. Can you be a snarker without speaking?
"You come in low under his line of sight. You leap... taking him down, placing your hand over his nose, pulling his face away from you. At the base of his skull, to the right of the spine, into what the Chinese call the Wind Gate. You insert, scramble the brains. What you have is instant rag doll."
Desolation Shot: The team travels through the remains of a village whose every inhabitant was killed by mustard gas.
Drill Sergeant Nasty: Scott tries to be this early in the veteran's re-training. It doesn't work, as the men see him as The Neidermeyer, when the situation is actually that his father was a pilot shot down in Vietnam, and this is Kevin's way of coming to terms with his loss.
Hellish Copter: Charts' helicopter gets shot down by a Laotian patrol boat, however he survived the crash.
Mad Bomber: Blaster. Oh my. At one point he even starts cackling insanely when it seems he'll surpass his record of a break or "series of planned explosions".
No Celebrities Were Harmed: Robert Stack's character, MacGregor, is a millionaire oil tycoon from Texas who bankrolls the operation to retrieve the POWs. He is based on Ross Perot, a real-life millionaire oil tycoon from Texas who in the early 1980s financed private investigations into possible American prisoners still being held in Vietnam.
Paper-Thin Disguise: Putting a hat and a poncho over Randall "Tex" Cobb doesn't disguise that it's Randall "Tex" Cobb travelling through Laos.
*after being thrown** Boy, usin' that Oriental martial bullshit on me is gonna get REAL expensive." *cue stomping*
Putting the Band Back Together: Rhodes' recruitment of the scattered veterans. Subverted slightly in that they initally all turn him down bar Blaster and Sailor (who they had to dig out of prison), but all show up when the plane is ready to leave.
Redemption Equals Death: Blaster, while a Mad Bomber in war, was a slacker in peacetime who never cared about anything, and spent his time racing BMXs and goofing around. When the bombs on the bridge failed to detonate, he sacrificed himself to make sure his part of the plan went through.
Sailor, who got to the helicopter that left Frank behind, and had to be physically restrained from going back for Frank, got to buy time for Rhodes to get back to the helicopter with a POW, thus bookending the film.
Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right: Rhodes is told by every member of the military he talks to that he should give up. He, at one point, declared that'd he'd go in there with a pocketknife if he had to.
MacGregor, even in his noncombatant role, is told that there were serious threats against his company if he went through with the mission, such as IRS audits. His response? "Fuck you."
Security Blanket: Sailor's grenade. "Well, Sailor figures if life gets too shitty, he'd just pull the pin, and see what's next."
played completely serious with one of the POWs: when Sailor breaks down the door to take him home, the POW, who's so weak he can barely lift his head to speak, refuses to leave because he can't leave "The garden". Sailor expediates matters by reassuring him "Don't worry. We'll take the garden with us."
Shell-Shocked Veteran: All of the main characters to some extent, but Wilkes is the best example of the trope, burnt out to the point where he spent days staring at the walls, making disturbing industrial art, and can't sleep through the night indoors. Admittedly, he was a tunnel rat and what madehim this way? Brr.