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Gung Ho (1986)

 -  Comedy | Drama  -  14 March 1986 (USA)
6.1
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Ratings: 6.1/10 from 8,255 users   Metascore: 48/100
Reviews: 40 user | 11 critic | 9 from Metacritic.com

When a Japanese car company buys an American plant, the American liason must mediate the clash of work attitudes between the foreign management and native labor.

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Title: Gung Ho (1986)

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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...
...
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Willie
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Mr. Sakamoto (as Soh Yamamura)
...
Saito
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...
Paul
Jihmi Kennedy ...
Junior
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Heather DiStefano
Rodney Kageyama ...
Ito
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Mayor Conrad Zwart
...
Umeki Kazihiro (as Patti Yasuiake)
Jerry Tondo ...
Kazuo
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Storyline

Hunt Stevenson works for a large car manufacturer that has just been bought out by a Japanese firm. Suddenly finding himself having to justify his own job, he's forced to choose between redundancy or the seemingly inhuman Japanese work ethic that the new owners have brought with them. Written by Murray Chapman <muzzle@cs.uq.oz.au>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

When East meets West, the laughs shift into high gear!

Genres:

Comedy | Drama

Certificate:

PG-13 | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

14 March 1986 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A Fábrica das Loucuras  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Gross:

$36,611,610 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Director Ron Howard, lead actor Michael Keaton and writers Lowell Ganz and Babaloo Mandel previously collaborated on the film Night Shift (1982). This movie was their next collaboration together and ironically, as it features factory workers working in a car plant during the day, the film is about workers' "Day Shift". See more »

Goofs

When Hunt and his girlfriend are driving home from the airport they pass the same parked school bus at least twice without having ever made a turn. See more »

Quotes

Hunt Stevenson: Now on these last few we might need to cut a few corners. Little things, like... Engines.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Brad Tries...: Brad Tries Japanese Pepsi (2010) See more »

Soundtracks

BREAKIN' THE ICE
By Ken Thomas, Matthew Wells, Patrick Klein and Michael Anderson
Performed by Martha Wash
Courtesy of The Entertainment Music Co. / CBS Records
Produced by Tony Bongiovi
See more »

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User Reviews

 
A victory worth compromising over
23 January 2012 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Gung Ho works more efficiently as a social commentary than it does a comedy. The comedy it provides us is lightweight, and most of the humor is derived from the Japanese stereotypes, sometimes funny, sometimes not. But the social commentary the film gives us is strong and meaningful. It's actually one of the most presentable and worthwhile morals in a comedy I've seen in a while.

The story centers around a closed car plant in Hadleyville, Pennsylvania. Before the plant was closed, most of the town's jobs were supplied by the factory and the town's economy nearly depends on it alone. Former head of the factory Hunt Stevenson (portrayed effectively by Michael Keaton), travels all the way to Tokyo to try and strike a deal with Assan Motors Corporation to purchase the plant so it can reopen under new management.

Takahara Kazuhiro (Watanabe) is the head of Assan, and has been branded a failure because of his leniency on his workers. The Japanese are taught to be strong, faithful employees who work as a team. When the company fails, they should feel like they've failed. They don't work for the money. They work for the company.

Hunt and Takahara strike a deal and the plant reopens under the Japanese management, but the company must adapt to the brand new set of rules. No newspapers in the bathrooms, little to no breaks, etc. This is where the social commentary part of the film comes in. The American workers have more freedom, yet still, most of the time, they work efficiently. The Japanese workers are more faithful to the company, but at the same time are scared to request freedom, luxuries, and independence. Once they agree to a job, they are that job. No excuses.

The moral of the story here is that both ways are successful, but both have their own perks. Sometimes, we Americans don't think how lucky we are. Some of the most arbitrary jobs nowadays (IE: an experienced radio personality) get paid six figure salaries. They don't work a full day, yet they make more money than teachers, nurses, etc. Same thing goes with professional athletes. Their average salary could rank in the millions if they're lucky. Granted many of them suffer hard labor, but really, should someone like a baseball player demand a higher salary if he's been benched for a good portion of the season? Going back to the comedy portion, many jokes are directed at the Japanese's expense. The problem here is we are expected to laugh at the Japanese because they are Japanese. There's one part in the film where we are expected to laugh at the Japanese head because he said "looney tunes." Certain things like that almost make the film spiral to a level of immaturity that it should be trying to avoid. There's one central character, a chubby American worker (played by George Wendt) who starts fist fights or threatens them whenever he gets the chance. He is not too charming of a character. He almost reminds me of the character Chris Farley played in Tommy Boy. The difference there was Farley played a likable louse who you couldn't help but side with because of his cheery nature. Here, Wendt's character is so preoccupied with "starting something" he comes off as an unlikable caricature.

On a side note, the film's two central leads, Keaton and Watanabe, do a fine job at working past the formula and going an extra mile to make successful characters. Gung Ho isn't perfect, but it does what many comedies don't bother toying with. The eighties were a decade of fun parties and coming of age films. It's nice to see one film dared to voice an opinion on the American/Japanese cultures working out deals and striking fond relationships with one another without mudslinging one side filthy.

Starring: Michael Keaton, Gedde Watanabe, George Wendt, Mimi Rogers, John Turturro, Clint Howard, and Michelle Johnson. Directed by: Ron Howard.


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