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|Index||177 reviews in total|
I read the book "Ghost Soldiers" awhile back. It was great. This movie, now out on DVD, was a good translation from print to screen. It did not do weell in release; maybe few are left that want to see a great WWII flick. In the spirit of John Wayne and others, this is a perfect WWII movie. This is a real story of how US POWs suffered under the Japanese Army. The plan, on the part of the Japanese, was to eliminate any evidence of war crimes and then slip away to Japan. The plan on the part of the US was to rescue the POWs. It shows how much the US Military progressed, in tatics and equipment, as the war evolved. Also, we get a good view of the Phillipine Resistance who took on the Japanese for 3 years. I found the scenes very moving at times and at times I got angry about the treatment of POWs and humanitarian workers. I recommend that you rent this movie,and sit back and enjoy it.
Prior to seeing the movie, my son and I were lucky enough to catch 2
events on TV; a special on the historical accuracy of the movie (we
believe it was the History Channel), and the director on Fox (Fri night
with Oliver North).
The movie was even more powerful knowing that everything in the movie (with the exception of the love theme) was accurate - timing, casualties, key participants, everything. Knowing that there was no Hollywood enhancement to the overall event made it even more compelling.
If you're a history buff or just like movies that "get it right", I would strongly recommend seeing this movie.
Seems this may have been on the shelf for a little while. I'm glad they decided to bring it out. Good stuff!!
I like a good war story but this is not one. The film has a Disney look and the characters all look like they're acting. It feels like it has all been done before and a lot better, especially by David Lean. With a feel of a Hollywood set,combined with a make-shift love story, I never became involved, except when the shooting starts in the last 20 minutes. Up until then, I had my finger on the fast forward button a great deal. The actual war footage, and the fact that the raid was based on a true story is all that keeps this film from being ignored. Such an event deserves to have been given a better director. I did enjoy the bonus materials much more as they had interesting interviews with the real POW's, and the time-line of the pacific war was a good synopsis of what occurred. Too bad the film was not as captivating.
After the American evacuation of the Philippines following the Japanese
attack on Pearl Harbour, thousands of American servicemen were
abandoned to the Japanese enemy, finding themselves facing brutal
conditions in Japanese POW camps, and feeling forgotten by their
country. "The Great Raid" is the portrayal of a rescue mission to save
five hundred of those POWs at the Cabanatuan camp before they're killed
by their captors, as the Americans begin to close in during the closing
days of the war.
As far as I can recall there haven't been very many movies depicting conditions in Japanese POW camps. "Bridge On The River Kwai" springs to mind, but this is the only other one I think I've come across. It's always hard to judge the accuracy of how the enemy is portrayed in a movie like this. In this case, though, we do know that the Japanese were in fact brutal captors. Surrender was the ultimate dishonour, and prisoners, therefore, were seen as deserving of neither honour nor respect. The conditions portrayed in the camp, therefore, were believable and probably historically accurate.
The portrayal of camp conditions is one of the highlights of the movie. The other is the actual raid carried out. It was portrayed in great detail and, again, in a very believable way. The basic problem with this movie, though, is that it repeatedly seems to get bogged down. Frankly, when the movie strays from those two subjects it just isn't that interesting, and all the various sidebars end up making this longer than it needed to be. The character of Margaret Utinski (played by Connie Nielsen) was especially problematic. Utinski was a real person - and a winner of the Medal of Honour - but there are historical questions about her life, and there was certainly no romance involved in her actions, as is suggested throughout the movie.
Aside from Nielsen, the cast were fine, but in all honesty no one stood out to me as outstanding. As I've suggested, there are certainly aspects of this movie that make it worthwhile viewing, but it certainly can't be mistaken for a masterpiece. (6/10)
"The Great Raid" followed on the heels of other popular war films like
"Saving Private Ryan", "The Thin Red Line", and "Pearl Harbor" that hit
cinemas around the turn of the century. Its aim is more educational: it
takes fewer creative liberties, and revels in detail -- not only is
there a narrator, but helpful captions pop up on screen to inform you
of the location of every scene, as you might expect from a documentary.
The writers expended so much effort on getting the details right that
they forgot about the characters of their story.
The first two thirds of the movie tell three interconnected stories. There are the American prisoners of war in the Philippines prison camp, suffering and starving at the hands of their brutal Japanese captors. There's the attractive blonde nurse (Connie Nielsen) smuggling quinine into the prison and trying to avoid Japanese soldiers in Manila. Finally there's James Franco and his unit of US Army rangers planning a raid to liberate the POWs. The historical veracity of these scenes has been lauded by the type of people interested in that sort of thing.
So far the movie is largely about suffering: prisoners are executed in several horrible ways, and suspected members of the Filipino underground are rounded up and shot. (Many of them get killed trying to save Connie Nielsen, who, being tall and blonde, is more important to the film than they are). Meanwhile the whole thing is photographed in a dull, sepia-toned style well-suited to a Fourth of July weekend broadcast on The History Channel or Lifetime. The music, in what has become the standard for modern war movies, consists largely of a brass band playing somber variations on "Taps" and Aaron Copeland.
Once our heroes reach the POW camp the movie's documentary approach remains unchanged, though its focus shifts: now we get to watch the Rangers shoot the Japanese prison guards, which they do for about twenty minutes while the music tries to trick you into feeling excited. There's nothing exciting about this at all. All you're doing is watching people get shot and killed. I don't feel like I've learned anything about the war or the Philippines or the raid itself -- at least, nothing more than I could have read about on Wikipedia. The movie tells you "These things happened", but it doesn't get you involved in the story or the people. Maybe a few creative liberties would have gone a long way -- or perhaps just a writer and a director not so committed to saluting their subjects.
One last note: the events depicted occurred almost sixty years before the movie was made. Do the scenes of torture and violence serve an educational purpose, or do they just keep alive the poisonous feelings of nationalism and hatred that led to those events in the first place?
Sometimes the truth is better than any made-for-Hollywood script. This
movie is about an untested Ranger Battalion who volunteered to go miles
behind enemy lines on Luzon and rescue the remnants of starved American
It left a small part of the book out - how an advanced scout group was able to sneak in right under the Japanese to give an intel report.
But a few hundred Rangers were able to go 30 miles behind enemy lines - come in under night cover - sneak across 800 yards of cleared area around 10,000 Japanese to rescue these men.
This movie certainly honors those soldiers - about a battle that was hardly known to the country before the book was published.
It also honored an American nurse who stayed in Manila - worked with the Philippine underground and smuggled in medicine saving 100s of lives in the concentration camp.
And it is a all true history - the closing credits show films of the actual characters.
Yes, I agree with your comments. It must have been really special when
all those people showed up in San Francisco. Those soldiers felt as if
they had been forgotten and left for dead.
Well, this is a story that needed to be told. I couldn't remember if it was factual, but the stats at the end confirmed that it was.
There was another raid on a civilian camp in the Phillipines. It was on a lake. It was attacked simultaneously from the air, land , and water. There was a movie or a recreation on The History Channel about that one.
Whenever I get a little tired, hot, cold, hungry, I think about those guys in the jungles of Viet Nam, the freezing cold of Korea, or a multitude of discomforts of WWII and I say I can go on. I can do this. Just think about what those guys went through.
I really enjoyed this movie because I felt that I had a personal
connection with the characters. I am half Filipino and understand
On my dad's side of the family, I have relatives that fought that war in the Philippies. On my mother's side, I have relatives who fought in the underground resistance. Many of them were beheaded for helping the Americans.
In addition, this film shows a very personal side to war. It shows the heart and the real reason for war, not the political or military benefits. This is a war movie, yes, but it is also a very touching story of friendship, love, and sacrifice.
This was a Phenomenal movie! I'm a huge fan of WWII and have read Hampton Sides' book "Ghost Soldiers." The movie remained highly accurate to history (except for love story) while being entertaining and also honoring our country's deserving veterans. Most historical movies fudge the plot line in order to make an entertaining film. This film did a wonderful job of keeping with the integrity of the actual story without losing any part of its entertainment value. Those men who participated in this raid and those being rescued are all heroes to the last man. My hat's off to all World War II veterans and all of our Veterans of the Armed Services.
The Great Raid is a unique film. It is set during a time of war, but the focus is not on some great battle (ficticious or real), but about a mission carried out by a group of marines that served the war effort in only a minimal capacity. Viewers see three different sides of the mission. The films takes the audience inside the prison camp to see the wretched conditions the POWs had to endure, also seen is the marines preparing to embark on the great raid, which is being embarked upon so that the POWs may be rescued. Finally, the film shows the Phillipino rebels who were involved with the mission. It is based on actual events and gives a side of the second world war that is usually not portrayed in film.
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