Movie Review: The Great Raid (2005)

Synopsis: As America edges closer to victory in its war with Japan, a group of Army Rangers embark on a dangerous mission to liberate 500 soldiers that have been held as prisoners of war for the past three years. Not only are they outnumbered, one wrong move could result in the prisoners being executed before they can be saved.

Who's in it? The movie stars Benjamin Bratt, James Franco, Robert Mammone, Max Martini and Connie Nielsen.

Review: I intended on watching this movie over the course of a few days, while I was walking on the treadmill a lunch. However, my wife was busy with a sewing project last night and, since she wasn't in the room with me, I figured I would finish it. Overall, I enjoyed this film.

While I did feel some of the characters (especially from the Japanese side) were a bit one dimensional and did question just how historically accurate the film was, I thought it wound up being an entertaining movie. The film did a great job describing the obstacles the Rangers faced in their rescue attempt and did just enough character development to have me wondering if one or more of the heroes would do something that would jeopardize things.

I also liked how the movie gave a glimpse into life inside a Japanese POW camp and the hardships those soldiers faced, whether it was starvation, exposure to malaria and other diseases or just low overall morale. This, combined with the way the movie built up the rescue attempt, led to a pretty intense fight scene at the end.

I think my only real complaint about the film, other than the one-dimensional Japanese characters, was the side story involving Margaret Utinsky (Nielsen) and the Filipino underground that, among other things, was smuggling medicine and other necessities into the prison camp. I thought that part of the movie was actually more interesting than the raid itself and felt the film, because of time constraints, never had a chance to fully do it justice.

Final Opinion: Truthfully, there's really nothing about this film that would make me say it is significantly better than any other war film. But, I did find the movie entertaining and enjoyed watching it so I would recommend it.

My Grade: B


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