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Men Behind the Sun (1988)
"Hei tai yang 731" (original title)

Not Rated  |   |  Drama, History, Horror  |  March 1989 (USA)
6.1
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Ratings: 6.1/10 from 4,100 users  
Reviews: 79 user | 27 critic

Japanese troops round up Chinese and Russian prisoners of war and take them to a place called Squadron 731, where they are grotesquely tortured and experimented on to test new biological weapons.

Director:

(as T.F. Mous)

Writers:

(as Mei Fei Liu) , , 1 more credit »
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Title: Men Behind the Sun (1988)

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Cast

Credited cast:
Jianxin Chen
Hsu Gou
Linjie Hao
Haizhe Jin
Tie Long Jin
Yuanrong Jin
Bolin Li
Pengyu Liu
Xuhui Liu
Zhaohua Mei ...
(as Zhao Hua Mei)
Zhe Quan
Jiefu Tian
Gang Wang ...
Runsheng Wang ...
(as Run Shen Wang)
Shennin Wang
Edit

Storyline

Story of a Japanese terror camp in the end of WW2, where the Japanese are using the Chinese as guinea pigs in terrible experiments to develop deadly bacterial-plagues. Written by Tobias Broljung <larry@algonet.se>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | History | Horror | War

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

|

Language:

Release Date:

March 1989 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Squadron 731  »

Box Office

Gross:

HKD 11,092,186 (Hong Kong) (23 December 1988)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (cut) | (World Video release) | (Dead Alive Productions release)

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

There was no special effects industry in China when this film was made so many of the special effects in the film were done with real cadavers which director Tun Fei Mou was able to obtain through connections of his. The frostbite experiment victim's arms were real corpse arms and the child's body was a real cadaver. Mou waited for a whole month to find a body the same size as the child playing the role. He was almost ready to give up when the local police called him telling him that a child had been killed in an accident. He got permission from the parents and filmed the child's autopsy, dressing the coroners up like WWII-era Japanese doctors. The close ups of the child's organs being removed were done by dissecting a pig. See more »

Goofs

When the leader of the soldier boys patrol command them to drop and crawl through the snow, one soldier can be seen already dropped before he is even told to do so. See more »

Quotes

Dr. Shiro Ishii: A small rat can beat a cat. Fleas and germs can defeat bombers and guns. This is... the basic theory behind Squadron 731. It is also my philosophy.
See more »

Connections

Featured in The Cinema Snob: Hercules (2014) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
Think you've seen it all? Try this one for size!
7 October 2007 | by (Hampshire, England) – See all my reviews

Watch Man Behind the Sun expecting something along the lines of a Chinese Ilsa movie and you might be in for a surprise: this film has none of the camp qualities to be found in most POW exploitation—it's pure cinematic harshness from start to finish with not a buxom leather-booted commandant in sight.

Set at the end of WWII, director T. F. Mous' harrowing tale centres on Camp 731, a medical centre where the Japanese attempt to perfect bacterial weapons, using Chinese prisoners as guinea pigs in their nasty experiments. Mous' objective is to reveal to the world how his people suffered at the hands of their enemy, and in this he totally succeeds; the atrocities that are depicted in Man Behind The Sun are completely sickening and disgustingly convincing.

From the moment that a woman's baby is smothered in snow by a soldier, to the depressing, downbeat finalé in which the camp is razed to the ground by a retreating Japanese army (after shooting and burning all prisoners), this unflinching portrayal of man's inhumanity to man is a total gut-wrencher and certainly not recommended viewing for the easily offended.

In this film, people are treated worse than animals and the 'experiments' they have to endure are shown in every nauseatingly graphic detail: a woman has her arms frozen and then dunked in hot water, allowing the flesh to be easily ripped from her bones; a prisoner is placed in a decompression chamber resulting in his intestines erupting from his body (a scene rumoured to use a real body, but which, according to the director, was actually achieved using special effects); a boy is tricked into being the subject of a live 'autopsy' (cast-iron stomach necessary for this bit—real autopsy footage was shot for this scene!!); and a group of prisoners are 'crucified' in a field and used for target practice by Japanese bombers.

On top of all this there are also two moments of animal cruelty that will have pet-lovers up in arms: a cat is thrown to hungry rats and is eaten alive (not sure if this was done with FX or not, but the cat doesn't look too thrilled), and a load of rats are also set on fire (now this is definitely real!!).

As you have probably gathered, Man Behind The Sun is hard going and should be watched with caution. However, it is a well made film that does what it set out do do—educate viewers about the horrors of war. It's a hard one to rate, because it is such a gruelling movie and can't really be described as entertaining, but I'll give it 8/10 for being so genuinely disturbing.


17 of 21 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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