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Attack Force Z (1981)

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A group of Australian commandos launch a secret mission against Japanese forces in World War II.

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
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...
...
...
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Chun Ku ...
Rice farmer
...
O Ti ...
Shaw Hu
...
Lin Chan-Lang (as Koo Chuan-Hsiung)
Lung Shuan ...
Watanabe
Yuan Yi ...
Imanaka (as Yi Yuan)
Wei Su ...
Wong Chong
Hsa Li-Wen ...
Lee Chang
Val Champion ...
Ed Ayres
Yu Wang ...
Oshiko Imoguchi
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Storyline

A group of Australian commandos launch a secret mission against Japanese forces in World War II.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Mel Gibson blasting his way to hell and back

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Action | Drama | History | War

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Release Date:

June 1982 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Die grünen Teufel vom Mekong  »

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1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Mel Gibson received first billing, John Phillip Law received second, Sam Neill received third. See more »

Goofs

When the dead Japanese soldiers are trucked back to their base, despite only being seen from the rear, the truck used is clearly a modern (to when the movie was made) truck as opposed to a World War Two era truck. See more »

Crazy Credits

The fishing boat heads out to sea while the end credits roll. See more »

Connections

Featured in Ozploitation Trailer Explosion (2014) See more »

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User Reviews

Enjoyable enough, but jarring to those familiar with the setting
9 October 2011 | by See all my reviews

"Attack Force Z" depicts a fictitious operation by a five-man team from Z Special Unit, a predominantly Australian special operations unit in World War II, who are assigned to infiltrate a Japanese-occupied island in (presumably) the Dutch East Indies to rescue the aircrew of a downed Allied aircraft. The team is plagued by recurring bad luck (which quickly alerts the Japanese to their presence) and by friction between the inexperienced team leader, Captain Paul Kelly (Gibson), and his more experienced but erratic subordinate, a Dutch lieutenant named Jan Veitch (Law), the team's most fluent Chinese speaker. When the team manages to enlist the aid of the local resistance, further friction develops between Kelly and the local cell leader, Lin Chan-Lang (Ko), who resents Kelly's holding back information about the plane's occupants. About halfway in, however, we do discover why Kelly is under strict orders to keep clam.

For a (relatively) low-budget war movie, "Attack Force Z" is pretty good. The costumes and weapons are about as historically accurate as feasible, and the filming location--Taiwan--is convincing enough as an island at the other end of the South China Sea. Particularly enjoyable is the fact that Asian characters speak their respective languages on screen, rather than accented English. This, however, does lead me to the film's main problem, at least to me, which is that it's a mess ethnographically and consequently linguistically. Because it was shot in Taiwan with a mostly Taiwanese (or otherwise ethnically Chinese) cast, the island's population appears to be entirely ethnically Chinese without a single speaker of Malay (as it was then called) in evidence, the occasional pitji cap-wearing extra notwithstanding. This also results in the somewhat unlikely situation of Veitch being fluent in Chinese rather than Malay.

Veitch is the most problematic character in the film. The original director, Phillip Noyce, left the project at least partly because he disagreed with the producers over the choice of John Phillip Law to play Veitch, and bluntly, he was right: Law simply doesn't pull off anything resembling a credible Dutchman. It's not entirely his fault, though, because the writer and producers don't seem to have ever so much as met a Dutch person, as is apparent from the fact that Veitch isn't even a Dutch name (insofar as I can make out, it's Scottish). Admittedly, I am myself Dutch and my paternal grandmother's family lived in the East Indies so this is a niggle that maybe affects me more than the typical viewer but it's emblematic of what's wrong with an otherwise perfectly enjoyable film. Enough so that I can almost overlook how all the team members manage to stay clean shaven despite not having time to shave.


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