"The Great Raid" Review *spoilers*


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Rebar
August 13, 2005, 01:13 AM
I just got back from seeing "The Great Raid".

It's more like a "classic" war movie from the 40's and 50's, then the hyper-realistic movies like Saving Private Ryan or Band of Brothers. If you're expecting more like the latter, then you're going to be pretty disappointed.

It dragged in places, they developed the prisoner and nurse characters a lot more then the Ranger ones. They touched on the officers, but hardly anything on the enlisted men or the Philippino soldiers. A lot of time was spent on the day-to-day of surviving in the camp, which really didn't add much to the movie. For all the time they spent on the "romance", it fell kind of flat in the end. The relationship between Colonel Mucci and Captain Prince felt forced and artificial.

They really spotlighted the brutality of the Japanese on both prisoners and civilians, that was hard to watch. One thing, you'll wish they dropped 20 atomic bombs on Japan after watching this movie, especially after what they did in Palawan.

Special effects wise, not much, a few big explosions is all. The actual raid scene went by quickly, mostly the suprised and hapless Japanese guards getting mowed down. Plenty of Garand and BAR action, with the Filippino's Browning .30 cals getting their share. The Japanese get a few licks in, but it's mostly a one sided slaughter, as it was historically. The best part was the guy blowing stuff up with the bazooka.

Once the raid was over, the movie quickly glossed over the actual evacuation to American lines. The closing credits showed the real film footage of that, which was worth staying for.

All in all, a good, not great movie. The director made a big mistake concentrating on the prisoners instead of the Rangers and Filippinos. I liked that the Filippino's got a good share of the glory, as they deserved. An amazing historical feat of arms like this deserves a better movie, but it is what it is. I'd recommend waiting for the DVD, the big screen doesn't add all that much to it.

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Morgan
August 13, 2005, 02:36 AM
I've yet to see the movie, but it sounds like it pretty much follows the style of "Ghost Soldiers", a fantastic book. It shows how it likely was - boring, dangerous, and the fighting was over in a few short minutes. The book splits chapters between the prisoners/resistance and the Rangers planning and executing the raid.

Unfortunately, there is little record of the day to day details of the enlisted men (apart from their bravery and the brutality they endured) or the Filipino resistance. The Officers kept records and wrote what happened - so the record shows more of their point of view. I'd rather the movie keep this so, rather than invent storylines.

Sounds like the movie should be pretty good - I'll post back after I've seen it.

Sharps Shooter
August 13, 2005, 02:55 AM
I'll probably go see the movie tomorrow. I really enjoyed the book "Ghost Soldiers." I'm surprised to hear Hollywood didn't just sort of skip over the parts telling about the brutality of the Japanese.

Drizzt
August 13, 2005, 03:54 AM
Army lent technical support to `The Great Raid’
By Maj. F. Lee Reynolds

August 12, 2005

LOS ANGELES, Calif. (Army News Service, Aug. 12, 2005) - Hollywood and the Army continued their cooperative association with the making of the film "The Great Raid."

Set in the Philippines near the end World War II, “The Great Raid” tells the true story of the rescue of 500 Prisoners of War by the 6th Ranger Battalion and Filipino guerillas.

Infiltrating 30 miles behind Japanese lines, the Rangers risked everything to save men imprisoned for almost three years at the infamous Cabanatuan Japanese POW camp.

To provide an accurate portrayal of events, the film makers reached out to the Army for technical assistance.

"We reviewed the script for accuracy and gave advice on things unique to Army language," said to Maj. Todd Breasseale, Army Public Affairs office in Los Angeles.

However, the Army support went well beyond advice on language. David Cole of the U.S. Army Center for Military History worked as the historical and technical advisor for the film. "My reviews covered historical accuracy in the storyline, appropriate military action and in some cases for continuity," said Cole.

According to Cole, some of the in-depth technical information included the types of U.S. and Japanese weapons and equipment, uniforms and the specific color of paint used on equipment. Even the actual 6th Ranger stationary letterhead and maps carried during the raid were duplicated.

Cole also helped locate the four surviving P-61 aircraft from World War II and provided specifications on U.S. Army Branch and rank insignia used in the southwest Pacific Area in World War II.

There were also several procedural points that took persuasion.

"It was difficult to get across the concept that privates don't hang around with officers," Cole said. "I still had to convince people that first sergeants do not 'take the point' during the march."

Hollywood can’t be expected to know every detail about the Army, officials said. They pointed out that’s why the Army Public Affairs office in Los Angeles and the Center of Military History contribute an essential element to the accuracy of Army-based projects. It adds credibility to the film and provides an accurate and positive image of the Army to the American public, officials said.

The film makers can use the information or choose to ignore it. But, as seen with "The Great Raid," they reached out to the Army from the beginning to make the movie as accurate as possible.

"Fortunately, the crew that I worked with on this production were very professional and had a desire to 'do it right' for which I am very grateful," Cole said.

http://www4.army.mil/news/article.php?story=7728

another okie
August 13, 2005, 12:22 PM
Is this the raid where some Rangers went through the jungles, some dropped in by parachute, and the rescue vehicles were amphibious and crossed a big lake to get there, or is that another raid? The History Channel did a two hour special some time back on the raid I'm thinking of. That camp had women, children, and American civilians in it. After the raid the Japansese killed a bunch of Filipino civilians in retaliation for the help they gave.

It sounds like this is another raid on a camp with just soldiers in it, but near a town.

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