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This word today about the JAPS sounds very cruel and offensive to the Japanese people, but during the War Years during WW II in the Pacific this word was used in most American Newspapers and spoken about during this horrible war with a nation that killed and raped many people in Nanking, China. In this film many of U.S. Service Men are trapped in a Japanese Concentration Camp who inflicted horrible tortures and slaughter hundreds of American Soldiers and women who are treated worse than animals. America makes every effort to find these lost prisoners of war and is horrified how the Japanese soldiers treated our people and make a great effort to free all these prisoners. However, it took many men and women lives in order to accomplish this mission. This is a great picture which still remembers all the men and women who gave their lives to fight back at the mistreatment of American soldiers. GREAT FILM.
While admittedly a good flick and from the point of the Rangers, there
was more to the story, and I think that is important, as well. The
Alamo Scouts were VERY involved in this action, as well as others, but
received little recognition in the movie.
from http://tinyurl.com/yqh8dt :
"Among the Alamo Scouts who earned medals for that successful rescue mission was PFC (later Command Sgt. Major) Galen Kittleson. He also participated in the Cabanatuan raid. Twentythree years later in Vietnam as a Special Forces NCO he led an unsuccessful attempt to rescue Green Beret LT Nick Rowe from his U Minh Forest prison. In 1970, Kittleson was on the team that penetrated North Vietnam for the Son Tay POW camp raid. CSM Kittleson is the only soldier to have been involved in four such missions in two different wars." The book "Raider," released in 2002, depicted Kittleson's life as a soldier and prisoner-of-war rescuer.
Galen Kittleson was a family friend and neighbor. Amazing guy. I hope people that are interested in this movie will do a little more reading and exploring to find out more of the story... Unfortunately, he passed away in 2006. (http://www.alamoscouts.org/raider/galen.htm)
I have seen this film twice. The second time I was more convinced of its beauty. The film is beautifully lit and filmed and the art direction is superb. The acting from Joseph Feinnes, Connie Neilson, and Marton Csokas is excellent. Benjamin Bratt's performance seemed a little thin, but he honestly doesn't have a huge part in the film. I almost wanted to scream the word enunciate at James Franco by the end of the film. His character's narration of the film is fine, but his dialogue is a little mushy. The film isn't really about the raiders, it's about the raid. This approach led to scant character development for the raiders and the audience being told what was about to happen way too many times. The character development for the POWs was excellent and this made the audience really want the raiders to be successful. It wasn't quite the kind of war movie I enjoy, but it is a great throw-back to the war films of the 50s and 60s.
Powerful war movie with a love story.
Photography is beautiful, and with a influence of The bridge on the river Kwai.
Acting is excellent and no weak spot in the movie there is on it's behalf. Benjamin Bratt surprisingly strong role and the rest of crew very good. Joseph Fiennes standardly above ordinary.
No too much American patriotism (like the flag or empty speeches) but the story is aiming for real feelings of ordinary people in war times. Japanes are pictured like cruel and merciless which is obviously (probably they were like that!) done for the reason of movie finale where no compassion is left for them.
More war movies like this should be done...
This is an excellent movie showing the daring rescue of POWs from the
brutality of the Japanese POW camp of Cabanatuan.
I have not read the book, Ghost Soldiers, so I cannot tell whether it is an accurate representation of the book. But I know what I like, and this is a great movie. The actual footage at beginning and end greatly enhance the emotion and realism. The story of the bravery of the soldiers and the resistance, and the spectacular battle scenes make this movie a gem in a sea of summer flops.
The characters, particularly the Japanese commander, were well-cast. You really feel for the prisoners and the brave Americans and Phillipinos.
The role of the Phillipinos was not underdone, and it was good they accurately showed how not only Americans suffered because of Axis cruelty. The battle scenes were well-done and intense.
Overall, the movie was THE best movie of the year.
I've seen hundreds of war movies. I've studied the history of World War
II since I was a small child. I knew the background going into the
theater, having read not only the two books the script was drawn from,
but also others containing the point of view of the guerrillas who were
instrumental in making the jailbreak possible.
Even given all that knowledge and knowing how it turned out, The Great Raid still mesmerized me. That's how good a war movie it is.
I believe part of the reason why is both of the authors (William Breuer and Hampton Sides) were technical advisers on the film. When you have two authors who between them have spent almost half a lifetime researching the material, you know they won't let the director get away with much! Not that he needed to; the story is compelling.
The plot is simple. 500 survivors of the Bataan Death March, most too sick to work and all too weak to walk very far, are being held at the main Japanese POW camp at Cabantuan. Intelligence from the guerrilla forces in the Phillipines has reached Sixth Army headquarters that the Japanese intend to execute all Allied prisoners before they pull out of the camp area. It is known that at least one prisoner massacre has already taken place.
The 6th US Army Ranger Battalion is handed the mission: Rescue the prisoners locked up 30 miles behind enemy lines before the Japanese can kill them and bring them home. Oh, yeah, one other thing. You've got at most 5 or 6 days to plan and stage the mission before the killing starts.
The camp is located on the main road the retreating Japanese are taking into the mountains. Whole regiments and divisions are retreating past it at night, the only time the Rangers can make the element of surprise work for them. There is a beaten fire zone 200 yards deep all around the camp, with no cover for the Rangers to hide in. There may be tanks in the POW stockade; there certainly are tanks present in a transit camp across a nearby river. There's a large concentration of Japanese troops in Cabantuan City, four miles away. And the Ranger force Colonel Henry Mucci selects for the strike is one reinforced company.
All things considered, this is a job even Jim Phelps of Mission: Impossible would turn down. Yet Colonel Mucci and Captain Prince, whose company has been selected for the job, must make it work. The lives of 500 Allied POWs depend upon it.
The movie builds tension beautifully right up to the moment the strike on the camp begins. The tension is superbly released as the Rangers get the job done. It's good movie-making.
I could have done without the grossly inaccurate portrayal of the Manila Underground; I'd love to know where they got, and why they used, that Lockheed Hudson, a type which had long since been retired from frontline service by 1945; and the platonic love story left much to be desired and borders on the irrelevant. However, the melding of the guerrilla force under Captain Pajota with Mucci's rangers was accurately shown, and the raid itself is almost 100% faithful to what really happened. I also approved of the US Army Combat Photographers' film being used over the end titles, including showing quick glimpses of the real Colonel Mucci and Captain Prince.
The performances aren't likely to win any Oscars; the material rather forbids it. But in terms of historical accuracy, attention to detail and special effects not involving a computer, this movie is the best thing you'll see this year. It stands as proof that before you can have a good movie, you have to have a good script. This script was a great one. You'll want to see it in the theater before you buy the DVD. It's that good.
"The Great Raid" has it all. Action, Adventure and Romance. The acting, direction and setting all are outstanding. The thing that struck me the most was the fact the movie did not cave into political correctness and try to water down what was happening to our Prisoners of War at the hands of the Japanese. These men and women gave so much all in the name of defeating an imperialistic and brutal regime. It was good to see this story told and hopefully will be seen by many who have no understanding of what was going at that time. The movie has an excellent plot so although it is based on a historical event it offers a source of entertainment while at the same time providing insight to an amazing feat. The violence at which the Japanese inflicted upon those they controlled and held as prisoners is shown in the movie so parents should be forewarned it may not be appropriate for younger children. A must for all military and history buffs...
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
The Great Raid has a beginning, a middle and an end. Tightly scripted and well acted by all concerned. A well turned look at a military action that was forgotten and only remembered by those who's lives were changed on that day. It's poor reception by critics is a puzzle and why it sat in the can for three years is an unknown. The rangers and the American POWs are the heroes in this movie. The action is stark and without pity although the "love" story was a slight distraction but the intent was to show that for many Filipinos, the American POWs were not forgotten and would be helped even though the Japanese response was normally brutal and without mercy. The audience that viewed the picture with my wife and I were mostly older military retirees and many cried at what was being showed. Most stayed until all the movie credits were completed, something one normally doesn't see. This is a must see movie because the raid was true and this movie depicts it well. The 500 US POWs freed by this raid had been forgotten by all except the 6th Ranger Bn. Howaa.
An excellent movie depicting a REAL event. A well portrayed war yarn
that is not over the top. This is the way movies should be made. John
Dahl did a great job as did the entire cast. If you are looking for
Spielberg, Hanks, Dsvid Lean, or big dollar CG this movie is not for
you. If you are interested in a SOLID film based on a overlooked war
even this movie will definitely satisfy.
Let's face it there are very few war films made these days and this one is TOPS. Henry Mucci's character as well as the 6th Rangers preparation for the raid could have been better developed but the overall depictation of this historic event is well done.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I watched this film yesterday (First Day) and all I could say is that it exceeded my expectations. The length of the movie did not bother me because the scenes were executed finely and according to some of the reviews I read, was at most historically accurate. With regard to the cast, a lot of character development came from James Franco (Spider-Man), and supporting roles from Benjamin Bratt (Catwoman) and Ralph Fiennes (Shakespeare in Love). Of course our very own Cesar Montano (Jose Rizál) who was very "brown" and symbolically represented the "guerilleros" at that time was always at his best. One of the strongest and breath-taking scenes were showing the City of Manila, with a street filled with streetcars (named Meralco), churches, business establishments and the Pasig River which was the gateway of commerce. It was mentioned at the movie how magnificent the city was and why it was called the "Pearl of the Orient" because it served as a link between Europe, The Americas and Asia. Signs of corruption were evident. There were some inconsistencies in the Tagalog dialect but overall the film justified what happened back then. :-)
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