Action, English Movies

The Great Raid directed by John Dahl

great_raid If all you like is great action visuals, watch only the last 45 minutes of this movie or go watch Saving Private Ryan. If you like a complete movie which concentrates on historical accuracy and goes caringly into depth of an issue that is viewed differently by different affected parties; If you don’t mind sub-plots that gives a holistic understanding of the situation and if you like to understand the build-up to a mission, you will enjoy this movie immensely…

Other than the fact that movie is well-balanced and does not hurry you to the final firefight, what I liked best about the movie was the accuracy and the highlighting of the contribution made by an often overlooked part of the war – local resistance. The war would not have been won if not for the local intelligence provided by the resistance militia. With the overt focus of Hollywood on D-day landing (it provides for great visuals), most people would think that wars are won by heavily loadedphoto_06_hires landing parties (US would have been winning in Iraq that way isn’t it?). Of course, this movie is all true and painstaking detailing has been done to replicate this, right down to the last bit of strategy.

Also, this is a theatre of war (The Pacific) that has received little attention from movie makers over the years. Only recently has the Soviet theatre started to receive attention (possibly because they had done the western theatre to death and needed newer visuals). The Philippines, Indonesia etc are places where the fiercest battles were fought, yet few directors have ventured there…

photo_10_hires This is about the ‘Raid at Cabanatuan’, a mission to save POWs captured by the Japanese. As the war was drawing to close, the Japanese gave a directive to kill the POWs. After this practise became known, this mission was conceived. The Americans were helped in planning and execution of the mission by the Filipino guerrillas.

The film rotates between the Americans, the POWs, Margaret Utinsky (a nurse who helped the resistance), the urban resistance and the guerrillas. Care is taken to ensure that that each side’s viewpoint, motivation and courage is shown. This part is what I respect immensely about the movie. No one side completely dominated the movie. More emphasis was not laid on the Americans. Everyone was taken on as an equal partner, something that an overwhelming majority of movies of this genre tend to do. Sure, this makes this a little longer than usual but who said that good things always had to come in small packages…

The final mission is executed with great care and this makes for one ofphoto_09_hires the best action sequences in a long time. You understand the strategy completely and you are a part of the nerve-wracking moments when the knife-edge strategy is on the point of collapse. Its a great visual treat to watch how the coordinated action on three fronts led to one of the biggest POW rescues in history…The final actual footage is a nice add-on.

Overall, a movie that gives you complete satisfaction – on the characterization front, on the action front, on the story and accuracy part.

Great watch!!!



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