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A group of war prisoners has spilt blood, sweat and tears to construct a bridge over the river Kwai in Thailand. Just when the bridge is ready, an American bomber arrives and destroys it. Camp commander Tanaka wants to set an example and orders that some of the prisoners must be executed. Just in time major Harada arrives with orders that the healthiest prisoners must be transported to Japan by train and boat. A treacherous journey since the allied forces keep a close eye on railroads and practically own the seas. The prisoners are thinking of plans to escape. Meanwhile the American bomber has been shot down and it's pilot, Leyland Crawford, is being rescued by the indigenous people, the Meo. The Meo have formed a resistance group against the Japanese, led by the British colonel Grayson. Written by
Arnoud Tiele (email@example.com)
If the old guard and war purists thought the epic Guiness-Holden-Hawkins war film was unreal, they'd reconsider that film as being totally credible when compared to this.
One wouldn't think that a film made in 1989 would be devoid of realism in war. The seventies preached "realism", though refused to deliver it, instead trying to con audiences with tawdry, depressing scenes just to be under budget, then claim it was "realism". Nope, Then the eighties came, and producers couldn't get away from the heckling of the literate public, who saw through their con jobs.
However, "Reality" in war was still preached, only now not as contrived for bullets to find only likable characters.
Which makes this Mickey Mouse adventure a puzzle, and makes it even more embarrassing. By 1989, I guarantee you that three out of four people knew the POWs in Japanese camps were beyond malnutrition, and incapable of swinging an axe, let alone taking a knife and thrusting it into guard.
Overcoming Japanese soldiers is so rampant here, that it borders on comedy. True, in "Bataan" American soldiers led by Robert Taylor made a mockery of the enemy, but old timers form the era told me that it wasn't far off the truth, because American soldiers were nourished and strong, and of the Japanese, only the leading Samurai got more than a handful of rice a day. The Japanese soldier was weak from severe hunger.
However, while the soldier was weak from hunger, and mean from hunger, he wasn't in the horrid condition the POW was in.
This movie has POWs that make the POWs in Lean's epic look like skin and bones.
That said, a movie can still be "watchable". This one is slightly "watchable", but don't expect much. In the end, it's pretty much a waste of time, but it doesn't leave you depressed. Just look at it as Bugs Bunny outwitting Elmer Fudd again, or Mickey Mouse squeaking along at the river Kwai.
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