Gung Ho (1986) Poster

(1986)

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8/10
Welcome Back to the Lost World of the 80's.
NJ_jimcat22 October 2002
Sherman, set the wayback machine for... 1986. The United States was just climbing out of its worst postwar recession, while Japan was enjoying an unprecedented industrial boom. Manufacturing industries were still a significant part of the US economy, and factory workers were a good example of the "average American". The word "downsizing" hadn't entered the general vocabulary yet, but everyone knew the phenomenon. Bruce could be heard on the radio singing, "Foreman says these jobs are going, boy, and they ain't coming back to your hometown." Chrysler had just been bailed out by Uncle Sam. Bumper stickers could be seen saying "Buy American -- the job you save may be your own."

"Gung Ho" does a better job of capturing the mood of the American industrial workforce than just about any other popular movie made during that period. Certainly the movie has its flaws -- some loose plot threads and mediocre acting jobs by everyone except Michael Keaton and Gedde Watanabe. But the story really is about the meeting of East and West: Keaton's Hunt Stevenson personifies America, brash and confident on the outside yet insecure underneath. Watanabe's Kazuhiro personifies Japan, on top of the heap with a successful system, but wondering if there is more to be learned from their Western rivals. The movie's plot, flawed as it is, simply provides a framework for the conflict, and eventually synthesis, of their two personalities.

Keaton's acting overshadows everyone else's, and practically makes the movie by itself. I've always admired Keaton for his ability to deliver lines that feel improvised, no matter what script he's following. His character, Hunt Stevenson, is a likable, affable everyman, a natural leader with a wise-ass streak. But he has a fatal flaw common to many of us: he doesn't want to disappoint anyone. He'll distract the crowd with inspirational anecdotes, and even lie, rather than point out the ugly truth.

Kazuhiro is the mirror image of Stevenson: shy and introspective, but also, because of his Japanese upbringing, reluctant to be the bearer of bad news. The scene in which Stevenson first comes to Kazuhiro with the employees' grievances captures perfectly the Japanese approach to workplace conflict. Kazuhiro replies to Stevenson's complaints with "I understand what you are saying," but won't refuse his requests out loud. Stevenson misinterprets this as agreement, and goes away saying, "Okay, we've got that settled." (This is still a problem in Japanese-American business relations in the 21st century!)

Ultimately, Kazuhiro and Stevenson have the same problem: get the factory working smoothly, meet production goals, and fulfill their responsibility to the workers under them. In working towards this goal, they each have to take a page from the others' book. Kazuhiro's family becoming more "Americanized" is an obvious example. Also note that Stevenson thinks it's odd when Kazuhiro explains how he had to make a public apology to his workers for failing them -- and yet, later in the movie, Stevenson does exactly that himself.

The plot and its resolution are a little cornball, but hey, this is a comedy. If you can overlook the movie's flaws, there is a great story about self-realization and open-mindedness here.
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7/10
Not edgy, but funny
FunnyMann17 November 2001
Surprised to see the rather low score for this movie. Just saw this film for the first time in 10 years, and was reminded why I like it.

Come back with me, children, to a time when Michael Keaton was a straight-up comedy guy, and you might find some joy in this film. It's a gentle comedy -- the kind Ron Howard specializes in -- but if that's your thing, you should check this out. Keaton's low-key charm is just right for this project.

"Gung Ho" is a bit dated, because it takes places in the last stage of the pre-global economy world, when it still mattered what country a business was based in. That said, it delivers laughs as well as a lesson on how people can learn from each other, to great benefit.

You could watch this film and enjoy it without remembering one scene in particular you really liked, but that's because the whole movie provides a slow but constant stream of laughs. It's like an I.V. drip. And I mean that in a good way.
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7/10
What a time capsule! ...
AlsExGal2 February 2019
... and I'll get to how it is a time capsule in a moment.

Directed by Ron Howard, the film is about a Japanese car company that decides to buy up a shuttered American car factory in a town where it was the major source of employment. There is friction because of the numerous cultural/work culture differences between the Japanese management and the American workers. The main work problem is that the Japanese think "team" and the American workers on the line are individualists. Michael Keaton stars as Hunt Stevenson, who is promoted to liason between the American workers and the Japanese management. His problem is that he doesn't want to tell the unvarnished truth to the workers, and this gets him into trouble when he tells a lie he just can't take back that could mean the end of the plant. Gedde Watanabe plays the Japanese manager of the plant who is trying to go against his nature of caring about the home life of the workers and be "tough" so that the factory will be considered a success by the CEO back in Japan. Eventually he and Hunt form a friendship of sorts.

George Wendt of "Cheers" fame plays a worker who gets demoted to janitor. John Turturro is practically unrecognizable as another factory worker in a small part before the Coen brothers discovered him. If Ron Howard is directing then Clint Howard is not far away, usually playing a bit part, and that is true here too. Oh, if you are expecting the Michael Keaton of Birdman and Spotlight, then you are in for a surprise. This is the rather smart mouth character Keaton started out playing in the early 80s. Think of Bill Blazejowski of 1982's "Night Shift" (also directed by Ron Howard) but with a much bigger I.Q.

Why is this a time capsule and will probably be hard for you to find? When the American workers get angry they refer to their Japanese bosses with terms such as "rice a roni". Also, when Michael Keaton goes up to see the boss he refers to his Japanese secretary as "sugar puss". He isn't flirting, but that still would never make the grade in an American film today. George Wendt's character gets drunk and basically bullies and harasses the big boss' wife in a supermarket one day. Everybody just writes the episode off as the guy being angry about his demotion, as though that is acceptable behavior! It's just funny to have seen this in the theater back in 1986 and realize how much times have changed.

I'd recommend it as a great look back and as a comedic take on some of the economic issues confronting Americans in the 1980s. That decade was not as prosperous and carefree as you might have been led to believe.
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9/10
Michael Keaton At His Best! A Great Comedy!
gitrich20 September 1999
Gung Ho is one of those movies that you will want to see over and over again. Michael Keaton is put in charge of wooing a Japanese car company to come to his town thus creating jobs for the residents of Hadleyville. What happens after that is one hilarious moment after another. The two cultures clash and it is up to Keaton to hold things together. Look for great performances from Keaton, Gedde Watanabe, George Wendt, Mimi Rogers, John Turturro, Soh Yamamura and Sab Shimomo. All are perfectly cast. Don't be fooled by the low number rating. This is a 7.5 in my book. It is interesting to note that the town name of Hadleyville was also used in High Noon. Yes, there is a real Hadleyville but in Oregon.
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8/10
WOW! I can't believe this movie is so poorly rated.
BennyTheGreat16 July 2002
I think it great example of the differences between two cultures. It would be a great movie to show in a sociology class. I thought it was pretty funny and I must say that i am a sucker for that "lets band together and get the job done" plot device. It seems most people don't realize that this movie is not just a comedy. It has a few dramatic elements in it as well and I think they blend in nicely. Overall, I give it a solid 8.
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9/10
terrific, underrated movie
melrod4329 November 2004
This is a wonderful movie with a fun, clever story and the dynamics of culture differences and the running theme of what's important in life make this a very under-appreciated movie. Don't let the cynics of the world deter you from seeing this. Keaton has wonderful moments and I wonder at the fact that comedy is never appreciated, because actors like Keaton make going from humor to serious bits look tremendously easy. Great movie all around!
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8/10
Drive home with an Assan
paul_johnr13 March 2006
Way, way back in the 1980s, long before NAFTA was drafted and corporations began to shed their national identities, the United States and Japan were at each other's throat in the world manufacturing race. Remember sayings like 'Union Yes!,' 'the Japanese are taking this country over,' and 'Americans are lazy?'

As the Reagan era winded down and corporations edged towards a global marketplace, director Ron Howard made one of several trips into the comedy genre with his 1986 smash 'Gung Ho,' which drew over $36 million in U.S. box office receipts. While in many ways dated, Howard's tongue-in-cheek story of colliding cultures in the workplace still offers hard truth for industrial life today.

'Gung Ho' focuses on Hunt Stevenson (Michael Keaton), the automakers union rep from Hadleyville, a small, depressed town in the foothills of Pennsylvania. Stevenson has been asked to visit the Assan Motor Company in Tokyo (similar to real-life Toyota), which is considering a U.S. operation at the town's empty plant. With hundreds of residents out of work and the town verging on collapse, Assan decides to move in and Stevenson is hired as a liaison between company officials and workers on the assembly line.

The 112 minutes of 'Gung Ho' is a humorous look at these two sides, with their strengths and weaknesses equally considered: on one hand, an American workforce that values its traditions but is often caught in the frenzy of pride and trade unionism; on the other hand, Japanese workers who are extremely devoted to their job yet lacking in personal satisfaction and feelings of self-worth. In Stevenson, we find an American working class figure of average intelligence with the skills to chat people through misunderstandings. With the survival of his workers' jobs and most of Hadleyville on the line, Stevenson proves a likable guy who wants nothing more than a fair chance, although his cleverness will sink him into a great deal of trouble. Besides answering to the heads of Assan, we witness a delicate balancing act between Stevenson and his fellow union members, many of whom he grew up with. This includes Buster (George Wendt), Willie (John Turturro), and Paul (Clint Howard, Ron's brother).

The Japanese cast is headed by Gedde Watanabe, also known for 'Sixteen Candles' and 'Volunteers.' Watanabe plays Kazihiro, the plant manager who is down on his luck and begins to feel a sympathy for American life. He is constantly shadowed by Saito (Sab Shimono), the nephew of Assan's CEO who is desperate to take his spot in the pecking order. While given a light touch, these characters fare very well in conveying ideas of the Japanese working culture.

With Hunt Stevenson dominating the script, Michael Keaton has to give a solid performance for this film to work. 'Gung Ho' is indeed a slam-dunk success for Keaton, who also teamed with Ron Howard in 1994's 'The Paper.' He made this film during a string of lighter roles that included 'Mr. Mom,' 'Beetle Juice,' and 'The Dream Team' before venturing into 'Batman,' 'One Good Cop,' and 'My Life.' It's also hard not to like Gedde Watanabe's performance as the odd man out, who first wears Japanese ribbons of shame before teaming up with Stevenson to make the auto plant a cohesive unit.

The supporting cast is top-notch, including Wendt, Turturro, Shimono, and Soh Yamamura as Assan CEO Sakamoto. Mimi Rogers supplies a romantic interest as Audrey, Hunt's girlfriend. Edwin Blum, Lowell Ganz, and Babaloo Mandel teamed up for Gung Ho's solid writing. The incidental music, which received a BMI Film Music Award, was composed by Thomas Newman. Gung Ho's soundtrack songs are wall-to-wall 80s, including 'Don't Get Me Wrong,' 'Tuff Enuff,' and 'Working Class Man.'

The success of 'Gung Ho' actually led to a short-lived TV series on ABC. While more impressive as a social commentary twenty years ago, Ron Howard's film still has its comic value. It is available on DVD as part of the Paramount Widescreen Collection and is a tad short-changed. Audio options are provided in English 5.1 surround, English Dolby surround, and French 'dubbing,' but subtitles are in English only. There are no extras, not even the theatrical trailer. On the plus side, Paramount's digital transfer is quite good, with little grain after the opening credits and high quality sound. While a few extras would have been helpful - especially that 'Gung Ho' was a box office success - there's little to complain about the film presentation itself.

*** out of 4
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9/10
An eighties classic. Very funny.
littlegimp6 March 2002
A very funny east-meets-west film influenced by the closure of GM's Flint, Michigan plant in the eighties and the rise and integration of Japanese automakers in the US. Set in western Pennsylvania, it features great performances by Michael Keaton, Gedde Watanabe, and George Wendt. Music by blues legend Stevie Ray Vaughan.
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7/10
This is a typical Keaton comedy...excellent!
honesty20 December 1998
This comedy is bound to be good from the get-go. East meets west and east doesn't want to lose...west doesn't know what losing is like. It starts a little slow but it grabs you very soon and it doesn't let go. This is definitely worth seeing.
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6/10
A Clash of Cultures
Uriah4313 March 2020
This film begins in the town of Hadleyville, Pennsylvania nine months after its auto plant has closed and resulted in severe economic problems for most of the residents residing there. So in a long-shot bid to persuade another auto company to take its place a former foreman by the name of "Hunt Stevenson" (Michael Keaton) flies to Japan to make the best sales pitch that he can. At first, he doesn't think he was very successful with his presentation but after a week or so he learns that the Japanese car manufacturer has indeed listened and agrees to set up shop in Hadleyville after all. What nobody expects, however, is for the clash of cultures that begins almost immediately after operations begin. Now rather than reveal any more I will just say that this was an okay comedy helped to some degree by the performance of Michael Keaton and to a lesser extent by Gedde Watanabe (as the Japanese executive, "Oishi Kazihiro"). Admittedly, there were times when the stereotypes were a bit overplayed but all things considered I enjoyed this film for the most part and for that reason I have rated it accordingly. Slightly above average.
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7/10
Not many laughs but a good story
view_and_review22 June 2008
Warning: Spoilers
Wow, it's been years since I last saw this movie. Watching it in 2008 is certainly different than watching it in 1986. Initially I didn't' think I would make it through the movie. Hunt Stevenson (Michael Keaton) was so obnoxious, arrogant and disrespectful that I found it hard to watch him. He embodied every negative stereotype of Americans. If that wasn't bad enough, once the small American town's finest workers were shown the image only got worse. On the opposite spectrum the Japanese were presented as emotionless, robotic workaholics. The movie wasn't even all that funny, I only hung in there because of the nostalgic value of it. And I'm glad I continued the watch.

Just like boxing, judges are swayed by how you finish the round. This movie went from about a three up to the seven I rated it because of the ending. The end was excellent. You always want a harmonious ending and this was just that. It was great that the town got to keep there jobs and keep the factory, but what was most special was the marriage between the Japanese customs and values and the American customs and values. It was a mediocre movie that ended on a high note.
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4/10
Funny but kind of senseless
lovintennis6 August 2017
Why go out of your way for the Japanese' help if you're going to complain about it the whole time? One of the Americans asks why they can't just leave them alone and let them do things the way they know how to. Uhh, maybe because you've just sought their help, they're here now, and both of you have committed to it?
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Feet of Clay
tieman6417 December 2014
Warning: Spoilers
"Thus did a handful of rapacious citizens come to control all that was worth controlling. Honest, industrious citizens were classed as bloodsuckers if they asked to be paid a living wage, and praise was reserved henceforth for those who devised means of getting paid enormously for committing crimes against which no laws had been passed." - Kurt Vonnegut

Ron Howard's "Gung Ho" stars Michael Keaton as Hunt Stevenson, a factory worker at an auto plant in Hadleyville, Pennsylvania. When the plant is purchased by Assan Motors, a Japanese company, Hunt becomes a liaison between Japanese bosses and American workers.

For most of its running time, "Gung Ho" is a slick, well-shot and funny feature. Here, Japanese capitalism is shown to be dangerously obsessed with production, exploitation and servitude. In contrast, American workers and bosses are shown to be slovenly, lackadaisical and overly individualistic, traits which hamper corporate profits.

By the film's end, however, Howard reveals "Gung Ho's" quite sinister message: the worker of tomorrow is better off if he adopts a mixture of Eastern and Western values. Work hard, increase production and put your job first, and mega-corporations won't fire you, abandon you and go seeking cheaper labour elsewhere. But don't work too hard; after-all, an alive worker is a good worker.

That this is not only a form of social blackmail, and a false binary – the worker forced to choose between two types of the same exploitation – doesn't occur to Howard. That capitalism's many contradictions means that it must, in aggregate, lead to bankruptcy, debt, unemployment, downsizing, lowered wages and unemployment regardless of "efficiency" or "the behaviour of the worker", doesn't occur to him either. Co-starring Mimi Rogers, the film quite cleverly positions its audience to sympathise with what would otherwise be deemed racial stereotypes.

7.5/10 - Worth one viewing.
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5/10
Funny and fun Michael Keaton vehicle
chvylvr8025 September 2003
Michael Keaton used to be a great comedy actor and before he pretty much left comedy he made some great comedies in the eighties like Mr. Mom, Beetlejuice, and Gung Ho. Gung Ho is a bit dated as far as the "Japanese stealing American jobs" idea is concerned. Still, it's a fun, light hearted family comedy of the type that Ron Howard excels in making. The supporting cast bring up the rear quite well with the likes of George Wendt, Gedde Wanatabe, and John Turturro. Ron Howard manages to fit his brother Clint into the movie like he always does and thank God that Ron became a director or Clint would be wandering the streets somewhere. The story itself contains a continuous series of laughs and also has the moral of "we can learn from each other" at the end. Bottom Line: A serviceable 80's comedy from Michael Keaton's glory days.
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7/10
Cultural Clashes
Rodrigo_Amaro9 April 2013
With no laughs but with important messages, "Gung Ho" manages to be a reflexive entertainment about the cultural and economical clashes of two nations when they join forces to rise from the ashes an automobile factory that can be the only hope of saving a town. Michael Keaton plays an American executive who gets the job of rescuing such factory with a new leadership coming from Japan with a desperate executive (Gedde Watanabe) trying to save his career from potential failure. The latter's task is to command the American plant and their workers, accustomed to work in a particular way, trying impose the Oriental methods of working for long hours for the benefit of the company and such clashes with the interests of Keaton who's trying to look good before his friends who aren't used to such working journey.

But let's face it: the movie isn't funny. Babaloo Mandel and Lowell Ganz are terrific writers ("Splash", "Parenthood") but they didn't create much moments we could say they were funny, most of the time is just using of caricatures to make some amusing moments, they barely work, maybe two or three scenes. Their concentration to the more engaging aspects was what made "Gung Ho" something really worth seeing. It pokes fun on the culture comparisons between U.S., specially when it comes to both nations traditions but it also establishes a greater sense of supporting each other, one might be better than the other but only together they come up with something bigger, better and stronger. Having a movie like this made on a decade where American superiority was presented in every single movie and also in politics is something of a miracle. It basically says: "We're no longer the strongest nation in the world, neither the most efficient but we can aspire to be if we follow some other examples around the world". Sure, it doesn't paint a fair picture for both sides (Japanese as workaholics who can't contest their bosses and Americans as lazy and incompetent), often recurring to stereotypes but presents something good out of those.

Although a little sloppy, clichéd and never serious enough, "Gung Ho" can be used as a source of inspiration, at least for those who have a company and doesn't know how to bring out the best with their employs, it's always there to bring out of the best of a team, push them to the limits and show them the advantages of following new directives. I know this movie is something of a classic between Administration students in here, and most of them enjoy it. Out of this department, it might be a disappointment for Keaton and Ron Howard fans, they're not at their best. The supporting cast formed with the likes of Mimi Rogers, George Wendt, John Turturro, Rance and Clint Howard save this for a bit, but the most interesting in scene is Watanabe, the funniest in the show.

In the end, it reaches its purpose of presenting a parallel between cultures, but never takes our fully enjoyment, neither much of our laughs. Easy to watch and quite motivational though. 7/10
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5/10
Keaton is a stud
djfrost-4678627 June 2018
Keaton is one of my favorite actors. I grew up with this movie. Good American movie but it's just an average movie.
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5/10
Only in America, only in the '80s, only in the movies.
punishmentpark3 May 2015
Warning: Spoilers
Hunt Stevenson would have been tarred and feathered for all the scamming he does in 'Gung ho', but here (for instance) his angry girlfriend is turned on when it comes out he lied to the whole village and played with their jobs... Sure, I get it, it's supposed to deal with various issues between America and Japan, and at its core there are only good intentions, but this movie really takes the cake when it comes to suspending disbelief.

I must admit that the film has its charms, and even if Michael Keaton hams it up to the max, he still gets away with it - most of the time. The Japanese were über-stereotypical to the point of being very annoying, and some of the Americans, too. Oh, well...

Certainly not a good movie, but somehow it wasn't very hard to sit this one out. 5 out of 10.
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2/10
Wow! Americans sure are jerks!
Mr_Vai24 December 2004
There are laughs in this film, that is for sure. Michael Keaton is a talent and he used to be funny (before he decided he was a serious actor). However, what bothers me so much about this film, is how unlikable practically all of the characters are. Other than the main two leads, everybody is a jerk. I mean, these small town losers are about as uncouth as you can get. You just watch and think, man, these losers should be unemployed. Moreover, the American factory worker is portrayed as a lazy and ungrateful slob. It made me wonder if this film was made by Japanese nationalists. Oh sure, in the end they all come together as one, but I just did not enjoy the trip to get there.
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5/10
Now I remember why I didn't love the 80s
Stu-4218 June 2007
OK, we all like Michael Keaton and it's fun to sit back and watch a light silly 80s movie. The only thing is after Night Shift and Mr. Mom, they must have ran out of ideas because this one fell far short. It had some funny moments and some decent ideas, but it didn't really go anywhere. There was a strange awkwardness throughout the whole film as if there wasn't a clear vision of what was supposed to happen. Many scenes were almost funny or even almost dramatic, but very rarely hit the mark. Also, by the late 80s pop music hit an absolute low and here we get to sample some of the most awful tunes including one near the end in the factory that actually spoiled a scene that could have accomplished something. I must also point out the strange acting or was it bad casting or directing? Watanabe was great in Sixteen Candles, but was he a little young to play a top executive or was that just me? George Wendt was very odd, doing things that didn't quite make sense or feel right. I really wanted to like it and I guess it was pleasant enough, but I realize now why it's only rated a 5.7. It reminded me of The Dream Team- you wished it was good, but it just wasn't.
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1/10
Very bad movie, not well researched either
thebricks31 August 2018
Somebody older told me about this movie from the eighties so I decided to find it and watch. Wasn't a fan of it. Won't get into the details, but the movie totally ignores how the Japanese incorporate Kaizen into their factory operations, how free trade drove plants from America, etc. Also, you know it's an eighties movie based on how they make Michael Keaton's yuppie character the savior of the town. Grew up as a kid in the nineties around adults like him and can't say I'm a fan. I mean, this is the all the guy was good for back in the eighties, playing a company man for corporate propaganda movies. It's why his career went south for a few decades.

Since this movie has made, both the Japanese and Americans have lost respect and trust in the corporate world. You can work as hard as you want, be as loyal as you want, and you'll still get boned.

Can't recommend.
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5/10
Gung Ho Hum
jlacerra30 June 2001
Here is a Michael Keaton outing that starts off promising and then thoroughly falls apart! It's the type of movie that has you sitting there straining to control yourself, saying "Why on Earth did they go in that direction?" The factory finale is apparently based on those old B musicals that have Mickey Rooney saying to Judy Garland, "Hey, I know what we can do to save Aunt Mable's farm, we'll put on a show!"

If only Keaton, Wendt, and Rogers could have put on a show.
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7/10
Movie Needed A Better Script!
gab-1471227 July 2020
Ron Howard's Gung Ho sounded like a promising film. It is a movie about a culture and economical clash; about a Japanese firm taking over a small-town Pennsylvania auto factory. The man who directed Splash and Cocoon reteaming with Michael Keaton? Yeah, that really sounds promising. The only thing this movie needed...was a competent script. The script, which was written by Lowell Ganz and Babaloo Mandel, was horrendous. The portrayal of the Japanese was stereotypical and one-dimensional. In reality, the Japanese were insulted. Yes, they are extremely hard workers, but nothing to the extent depicted here. In fact, the Japanese use this film to show their workers how not to behave. Is that not ironic or what?

When Howard signed up to direct the film, maybe there should have been a clause where he needed to rewrite the screenplay. It really is not a good one. In addition to the portrayal of Japanese management, the American assembly line workers are one-note. George Wendt, who played an assembly line worker and got demoted to janitor, seems to do nothing but wave his mop in the air. The main protagonist, played by Michael Keaton, is given a girlfriend that holds no relevance to the story. So, the film is filled with pointless characters and plot movements. Even though the screenplay is not great, the film is not entirely awful. The performances are decent, and Howard managed to save the film from the deepest parts of the gutter. Too bad he could not save it from obscurity.

The movie takes place a number of months after a small Pennsylvania town's auto factory was shut down. The town is going through some tough economic times. Hunt Stevenson (Michael Keaton) travels to Tokyo to see if a Japanese firm would be interested in taking over the assembly line. He thought his proposal failed because of their slack-jawed response. To his surprise, they accepted it and now the factory is back in business. The only problem here is that there is a culture clash between the Americans and Japanese and no one is happy. Hunt works with the Japanese plant manager Oishi Kazihiro (Gedde Watanabe) who is fed up with his bosses as well. Hunt is at a crossroad here. He is either loyal to the Americans or to the Japanese.

Thankfully, the performances are more than up to the task to save the movie from utter drivel. Michael Keaton previously worked with Ron Howard is the director's debut film, The Night Shift. He once again brings forth a manic energy. People seem to forget that Keaton was a fine comedian in the 1980's and this is one of those performances. He showed some excellent chemistry with Gedde Watanabe. If the name sounds familiar, you may recognize him from his thankless role in the teen comedy Sixteen Candles. Thankfully, his role here is better developed and not as insulting. Despite playing poorly-developed characters, the supporting cast did the best they can. George Wendt, John Turturro, and Mimi Rogers are faces to watch.

Overall, I did not connect well with Gung Ho. It is not a horrible film, but I am sure Ron Howard does not want to be remembered for this film. Luckily, most people do not know about it. I never even heard of it until I combed through Howard's filmography. The main issue is the dated, insulting, and one-dimensional screenplay. It takes a good idea and ruins it. Sadly, it is not the funny film I expected. Despite that, the film receives a passing grade because the performances save the film. Ain't Michael Keaton a hero? I still cannot get that they believe the Japanese workers are forced to do exercises like jumping jacks before their shifts. That really is crazy.

My Grade: C
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When studying Multi-Cultural or Inter-Cultural communications...
dibrager13 April 2004
Having watched this movie as part of a homework assignment, it is my opinion that this film is quite honest at a lot of viable levels. By studying the communication assumptions and mistakes that each party makes in reference to the other, based on the fact that symbolic communication is a receiver-based standard, this movie is ideal to show exactly how, when people do not understand the shared symbols, how chaotic and confusing such communications can become.

Therefore, before hucking it under the pile, never to be seen again, you might want to look upon it in a most serious light and see if it doesn't share some elements of truth that you've experienced when interfacing with other cultures in your life.

Just a thought.

David I. Brager
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5/10
Tonally confused comedy
Mr-Fusion25 February 2019
"When East meets West, the laughs shift into high gear!"

I think that's my problem with "Gung Ho": I'd expected something much more comedic.

There are funny elements, to be sure; a few out-loud laughs and the reliable presence of Michael Keaton, not to mention the assortment of oddball working grunts in the cast. But it spends far too much time on the competition between the Japanese work ethic and American hubris. It's often too serious to be funny. I didn't have a problem with the Japan stereotypes here because . . . well, it's indicative of the overall fearful climate of the time and pretty much everyone in this movie is an unrelatable jerk.

There's talent involved, but it's all in the service of a lackluster script.
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8/10
An entertaining culture clash comedy.
OllieSuave-00714 June 2017
This is quite an entertaining comedy starring Michael Keaton as car manufacturer Hunt Stevenson, whose car company was bought out by a Japanese firm. So, he tries to rally his American workers together to work at the plant for lesser pay and being subjected to harsher work conditions and schedules by the Japanese managers.

There is plenty of comedy relief in the film, from culture clashes to slapstick humor. There's also bits of heroism in the film, including Hunt's town's survival being contingent on the car company staying afloat and including Japanese company manager Oishi Kazihiro (Gedde Watanabe) showing honor to his boss, colleagues and family in getting the car making job done.

Overall, an entertaining film with touches of Americana and Japanese cultures.

Grade B+
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