6 November 2019 | topitimo-829-270459
Spies and guerrilla warfare. Nasty villains, too.
This wartime film from Toho studios seems to have been made with a big budget, since it includes scenes shot in multiple Asian countries. This is a spy narrative, that has some basis in real life, but most realism has to make way for the usual national policy propaganda. The lead character's (Nakata Koji) family faces tragedy in the hands of evil Chinese, which propels the protagonist to become a spy for the Japanese armed forces. He travels to Malaya, where he becomes one of the local guerrilla fighters, who are fighting the British.
The film is a tale of heroism, that also strives to relay to other Asian countries, that the Japanese are coming as liberators, and the British and the Chinese are the actual villains. This film is so over the top that it's amusing. Especially the ways in which the Japanese filmmakers portray different nationalities are super ridiculous. Early on, the gangsters who literally murder a child, are dressed up like Chicago mobsters with white suits and black sunglasses. One of them is throwing a coin in the air, a la George Raft. The fight scenes were pretty okay, though you can't side with the lead characters' cause.