The Great Raid (2005)

R   |    |  Action, Drama, War


The Great Raid (2005) Poster

Taking place towards the end of WWII, 500 American Soldiers have been entrapped in a camp for 3 years. Beginning to give up hope they will ever be rescued, a group of Rangers goes on a dangerous mission to try and save them.


6.7/10
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  • Joseph Fiennes in The Great Raid (2005)
  • Cesar Montano in The Great Raid (2005)
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  • The Great Raid (2005)
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2 December 2013 | sddavis63
6
| A Rare Movie Look At A Japanese POW Camp
After the American evacuation of the Philippines following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour, thousands of American servicemen were abandoned to the Japanese enemy, finding themselves facing brutal conditions in Japanese POW camps, and feeling forgotten by their country. "The Great Raid" is the portrayal of a rescue mission to save five hundred of those POWs at the Cabanatuan camp before they're killed by their captors, as the Americans begin to close in during the closing days of the war.

As far as I can recall there haven't been very many movies depicting conditions in Japanese POW camps. "Bridge On The River Kwai" springs to mind, but this is the only other one I think I've come across. It's always hard to judge the accuracy of how the enemy is portrayed in a movie like this. In this case, though, we do know that the Japanese were in fact brutal captors. Surrender was the ultimate dishonour, and prisoners, therefore, were seen as deserving of neither honour nor respect. The conditions portrayed in the camp, therefore, were believable and probably historically accurate.

The portrayal of camp conditions is one of the highlights of the movie. The other is the actual raid carried out. It was portrayed in great detail and, again, in a very believable way. The basic problem with this movie, though, is that it repeatedly seems to get bogged down. Frankly, when the movie strays from those two subjects it just isn't that interesting, and all the various sidebars end up making this longer than it needed to be. The character of Margaret Utinski (played by Connie Nielsen) was especially problematic. Utinski was a real person - and a winner of the Medal of Honour - but there are historical questions about her life, and there was certainly no romance involved in her actions, as is suggested throughout the movie.

Aside from Nielsen, the cast were fine, but in all honesty no one stood out to me as outstanding. As I've suggested, there are certainly aspects of this movie that make it worthwhile viewing, but it certainly can't be mistaken for a masterpiece. (6/10)

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Did You Know?

Trivia

In late 2004, many months before this film was released to the public in August 2005, US Ambassador to the Philippines Frank Ricciardone contacted Miramax producers Harvey and Bob Weinstein, with whom he was acquainted, to request a personal favor. Ambassador Ricciardone asked if the Weinsteins would consent to allow the U.S. Embassy in Manila to hold special screenings of this film during the Embassy's celebration of the 60th anniversary of the Cabanatuan raid. Remarkably, the Weinsteins gave their blessing for the U.S. Embassy to make limited use of the film, an act that had no precedent. Thus, during February 2005, seven months before its public release, the film was screened for a limited audience of both American and Filipino employees of the U.S. Embassy, plus some family members, as well as a select group of people involved in the movie's production (Director John Dahl was present), the Hampton Sides novel that provided some of the film's material (Mr. Sides was present), and the 60th anniversary ceremonies at Cabanatuan. The film was screened at a theater in the Greenbelt 3 Mall at Ayala Center in Makati - the main financial and entertainment district of Manila.


Quotes

1st Sgt. Sid "Top" Wojo: Sir, it's your shot.


Goofs

Colonel Mucci states "The plane will buzz the camp at 1800, Lt. Reilly will fire the first shot at 1930 and Capt Pajota will blow the bridge at 1945..." The Filipino setting the explosives under the bridge at 1800, when the plane flies over, sets the timer for 2 hours.


Crazy Credits

The first part of the end credits are superimposed over actual footage of the American prisoners following their liberation.


Soundtracks

You Go To My Head
Written by
Haven Gillespie and J. Fred Coots
Performed by Victoria Hamilton
Published by Toy Town Tunes, Inc. (ASCAP) and Gillespie Haven Music (ASCAP)
Produced by Sourcerer

Storyline

Plot Summary


Synopsis (WARNING: Spoilers)


Genres

Action | Drama | War

Details

Release Date:

12 August 2005

Language

Filipino, English, Tagalog, Japanese


Country of Origin

USA, Australia

Filming Locations

Australia

Box Office

Budget:

$80,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$3,376,009 14 August 2005

Gross USA:

$10,167,373

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$10,777,375

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