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  • While this film is not without it's flaws, it is definitely worth seeing. I found the dialogue hard to distinguish at times, and the plot line takes a little sorting out but the visuals work to stunning effect. It is a film that evokes a visceral (not to say gut-wrenching) response; one that brings the viewer much closer to understanding the nerve-jangling, terrifying experience of war, and the fortitude required to endure it.

    Grierson's starting point are the words of the Isurava Memorial. It was the 'courage, mateship, endurance and sacrifice' of the boys and men of the 39th, 2/14th and 2/16th battalions, that bound these ordinary individuals together into a force stronger than the combined effects of their circumstances and the Japanese army.

    The film is graphic in its depiction of the demands that that environment makes upon you physically. Though while watching it you might not feel the strength sapping jungle humidity or smell the stench of battle and its aftermath, you're left in no doubt about the challenges placed on human bodies by dysentery and malaria.

    This is no glorification of war, but its grim and gritty reality. Seeing the film will help you appreciate the efforts of those who were there.
  • In the mountainous terrain of New Guinea, is the Kokoda trail. A small band of improperly trained and ill equipped soldiers have to keep the advancing Japanese troops, threatening to over take Australia. The Japanese outnumber them one hundred to one; though this isn't their only threat; disease and injured soldiers are dropping like flies, holding out till the back up forces arrive.

    Kokoda is a vividly created film on Australia's last stand against the Japanese army. Not covering all of war in New Guinea, we are only shown a small part, focusing in the fight of this small band of soldiers. Director Alister Grierson draws out the gritty detail of the land; the mud and rain in the claustrophobic rain forest. The are scenes of great intensity that play out like a horror film, mixed with some beautiful cinematography by Jules O'Loughlin.

    Iconic part of Australian history aside, Kokoda isn't that great of a war film. Though struck with budget restraints, the problem lies within the script. The first acts seems omitted, plunging us right into action, there's not a lot of setup. The Characters aren't fleshed out, we don't know who these people are, making it hard to make an emotional connection; even though your placed right in the horror with them.

    In a great performance, Jack Finsterer is amazing as Jack, leader of the small band of soldiers. Equally great is Travis McMahon as the hot-headed Darko. The rest of the cast doesn't compare to Jack and Travis, with cameos from Shane Bourne and William McInnes.

    While Kokoda is not a epic war film, for which it should have been, Kokoda is a wonderful experience, paying homage to our war heroes.
  • Dash2216 April 2006
    There is a certain amount of trepidation in approaching a war film in the current climate of anti-war sentiment. Can you make it objective and avoid the over-sentimental patriotism of so many American entries in this genre?

    The makers of Kokoda seem to have thought long and hard about this.

    The moment in history depicted in this film is the invasion by the Japanese into New Guinea in World War 2. A situation that directly threatened Australia as most of the Allied forces were consumed with fighting their own battles many thousands of miles away.

    For Australia it was a matter of going to this hostile environment to repel the enemy advance or watch them invade the homeland. Many volunteer troups were enlisted (known as "chocco's") to supplement the regular army. They were under-trained and poorly equipped for this battlefront.

    We are shown that men may be drawn to war for the right reasons but when confronted with the prospect of death then the basic human instincts of survival take over. Would you just look after yourself or help your comrades?

    First time director Alister Grierson and co-writer John Lonie wisely decided to take a small incident to humanise the situation rather than try for an historical docu-drama. The result is a tense, superbly acted and directed 90 minutes that never loses its grip.

    Stunning cinematography highlights the beauty of the rainforest canopy against the human horrors unfolding below.

    This would be a great film in any year. The fact that is has been put together by a first time director on a low budget with a mainly unknown cast (all performances are riveting) makes this a major achievement.
  • After years of forgettable comedies, and unmeaning stories along comes something important - Kokoda. A daring, gritty, warts and all account of the harsh jungle environment our men were thrusts into as Australia's last line of defence against the Japanese Empire.

    Excellently filmed and presented Kokoda delivers on most levels and despite the budget restrictions, and some shaky dialogue it overcome's all obstacles telling a personal, in your face account of brotherhood and the adversity of war, rather then a historical portrait.

    This film is not for the squeamish, it has its gore but only adds to the realism of the events. The story is well rounded and never loses its grip, the performances are good too providing a solid 90 minutes of consequential drama.

    Working with such a tight budget the cast and crew have done extremely well on this outing. This is the best Australian film I have seen in years, bar none. I wish we'd stop being so safe, I wish there were more Australian films like Kokoda.
  • It's funny that the ending of this film has been criticised here as unrealistic and melodramatic. One commenter even said it was of "Neighbours" (soap opera) quality.

    In fact the final scene is an exact reconstruction of a parade of members of the 39th battalion before their commander, Lieutenant Colonel Ralph Honner at the village of Menari. Every word spoken by William McInnes (playing Honner) in this scene is taken from the official record of the proceedings on that day.

    So much for "Neighbours".

    The film is good without being great. The budget supplies the reason. What it does convey is the hostile terrain over which the Australian soldiers had to lug all their supplies, including heavy artillery pieces... and then they had to fight the Japanese, who heavily outnumbered them, when they reached the top of the ranges.

    These were part-time soldiers, reservists with inferior training and green troops for the most part. Their job was to hold the line until the professional veterans (back from North Africa) arrived to take over. It was a war fought in platoon and section strength, with few pitched battles. Ever since the survivors of the two reserve battalions have been called "The Ragged Bloody Heroes", and deservedly so.

    Recently these has been some revisionism among politically biased historians, claiming that Kokoda was a waste of time and effort; that the Japanese had no intention of invading Australia. While they may not have been as serious about Kokoda as they were regarding the developing disaster at Gualalcanal, one thing is certain: if the Japanese had not been held back on the Kokoda Track, taking Port Moresby would have been a prize too easily won to refuse. Taking Moresby, and perhaps then Australia could have changed not only the war in the South West Pacific area, but perhaps the whole course of WW2.

    The men of the 39th battalion had no opportunity to speculate from afar, and safety, on the political potential of Kokoda as relevant to 2006 politics. They had to fight and die where they stood. That is why their story is worth telling, a story of small groups of men fighting shadows in a jungle nightmare scenario, without the option of surrender.
  • This truly Australian film focusing on the emotions and experiences of the soldiers who fought on the Kokoda Trail was really well made.

    I knew little about the Kokoda Trail and although the film didn't go into depth about the military tactics, the experiences of the soldiers were well-captured and must have been quite a moving flash-back for those who survived.

    Generally Australian films are incredibly low-budget, therefore the film relies on the actors and the director to make an effective film. Regardless of budget, the film was incredibly well-made and had quite an impact upon me.

    When the credits began to roll and the lights came back on, I couldn't help but notice a veteran behind me in tears.

    Great film.
  • Saw this today and I was quite impressed. It wasn't perfect, but I'm sure they had a very limited budget so it's hard to nit pick too much. It's good to see such an important part of Australian history as the mammoth effort to stop the Japanese advance through Papua New Guinea put on film. At the time the bulk of the Australian forces were in North Africa fighting the Germans and Italians, and the desperate defence of PNG was first handled by the very in-experienced militia troops, as featured in the film.

    I think the majority of it was filmed near Canungra, which is still used as the Australian army's jungle warfare centre. The makers obviously wanted to showcase the terrible jungle conditions that the soldiers fought in. It was good also to see the famous "fuzzy wuzzy angels" as the soldiers called the native stretcher-bearers prominently featured.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    There have been a number of relatively realistic movies about war that have been released over the past twenty-five years or so -- "Platoon," "Saving Private Ryan," "Blackhawk Down" -- but this one has to be among the most brutal of them.

    For one thing, combat in a rain forest is about as awful as it gets. The opening images tell us what to expect. First, there are some arty shots of leaves and war materials, all dripping with water, and a few shots of animal life -- borrowed, maybe, from the poetic "The Thin Red Line" -- while a solemn voice describes the situation facing an untrained and ill-equipped group of Australian engineers hastily conscripted into a military unit designed to stop the Japanese advance across the mountains of New Guinea, save Port Moresby, and thus Australia. The Americans are in no position to help and the "chocos" are outnumbered ten to one by the enemy.

    Then we see a mountain of yellow mud from which a half-clothed man emerges as in an animated cartoon. The man is coated from head to foot with dripping mud and carries a rifle that can barely be distinguished for what it is. He slips and slides down a mountain trail, past a long line of stretcher bearers hauling the wounded uphill. He finds the mate he was looking for. But when he shakily unbuttons the man's shirt, the intestines spill out, and out of them slides a living snake. It's a combination of a bad dream and a flash forward but it tell us this isn't going to be lighthearted fare.

    It's a riveting story of a patrol, half a dozen or so men, sent forward as an "early warning line" to warn of the approach of the Japanese. Half of them die. And when they die, they don't just stop a bullet, grasp their chests and slump wide-eyed into the sludge either. They are riddled by machine guns; they have a bayonet thrust through their orbital socket into their brain; they're tied to a tree and used as bayonet practice. Squibs? They're so yesterday.

    There was hardly a moment when I could look away from the screen, although at times, what with the raggedy uniforms and the coats of blood and ooze, it was hard to tell one character from another. There were also moments when the dialect was a bit confusing. "Chocos and sinkers in the same bloody hole." (At least that's what I think they said.) I also wondered exactly how graphic a violent film had to be to achieve its end. The horrors of living in a tropical rainforest are bad enough -- the ants, the mosquitoes, the constant filth. All the men are sick with one disease or another. Do we need to see one or two taking a particularly urgent dump because of dysentery? Do we really need to see a helpless man shiver and scream while a bayonet is thrust through his eye? I'm not arguing that explicit brutality makes for a poor movie. I'm just raising the question of how far we ought to go.

    It's an exhausting tale. Men haul themselves up mountains and slide back down again through the dripping shrubbery, carrying packs full of equipment. And at times I was as lost as they were. By the end, you're likely to feel as spent as the survivors. And when a colonel addresses the men and gives them the expectable pep talk, it seems like a necessary catharsis. He almost chokes up when he tells them that they've been made to witness some things no one should ever have to see, and he is so right.

    The performances are fine, with no one standing out in any of the few principal roles. The direction is professional and the sparse musical score apt. The camera does wobble once in a while but only functionally, when it adds to the tension of a scene. The technique isn't used indiscriminately as it is in so many current action movies like the "Bourne" franchise. The few scenes of combat are well handled. It always adds a touch of verisimilitude when a man under fire has to stop to reload and we see his hands trembling as he inserts another clip.

    A nice job by cast and crew, covering a part of the war that was almost completely lacking in glamor but necessary nonetheless.
  • Kurt0829 April 2006
    This movie is a real eye-opener. It gives a good 1st person perspective of what it would have been like to struggle with disease, not much food, hard ground to move forward on and a strong enemy. (outnumber Aussies 10-1) Throughout the film there are great camera angles and cinematography. Even though most of the actors are basically unknown, they do a superb job of acting. Some scenes are quite graphic, so people who are not used to seeing blood spurting, probably shouldn't see this. In Australia this movie in M15+, but for Americans who are wondering what rating it will be, R is probably a good estimate. All in All a good movie, 7.3 out of ten.
  • ojfosterbrown, the only hyperbole here is yours. The statements you take such a dislike to accurately reflect history. The 39th were poorly trained and ill-equipped and Australians did think the Japanese were about to invade.

    Ralph Honnor and his immediate superiors were screwed by Australian High Command (Blamey) and the "boys" of the 39th were later directly insulted to their faces by Blamey.

    Ifra, if you think Private Ryan is an ideal to strive for, then you'd better develop a taste for that Chardonnay.

    Pacific400, I'm no right-winger, but the fact is Japan has consistently refused to acknowledge its heinous crimes in WW2, why shouldn't audiences be shown what went on? Do you object to films showing Nazi crimes? Did you object to the NKVD machine-gunning Soviet grunts in Enemy at the Gates? Yes, let's not forget the great job the US did, they certainly never have, and they have no problem taking credit for others' work (U571), but how many of them know this story? How many of us know this story? Technical quibbles correct. Old .303s were standard, as were new Brens, militia definitely didn't have Thompsons and may not have had Owens, the thing only went into production in 1941 and the militia may not have had first pick of the weapons...

    As for those saying the movie is missing the Big Picture, this isn't A Bridge Too Far, it shows the Kokoda campaign exactly as experienced by the 39th Bn, a series of small engagements where some cracked and some were heroes and the enemy were "faceless", "mysterious", utterly unknown by Australians, capable of astonishing cruelty and eventually forced into cannibalism.

    As to those saying we don't make WW2 movies (or TV), try The Last Bullet, The Heroes, The Cowra Breakout, Attack Force Z (with Mel and Sam), Blood Oath, The Rats of Tobruk, Piece of Cake, Kokoda Front Line (academy award-winning documentary filmed where this film is set in the period immediately after - cameraman Damien Parrer died in combat on his return to New Guinea) and Death of a Soldier (even Paradise Road and Map of the Human Heart). What we don't do is make VN or Korean War movies.

    This movie had its flaws, all movies do, but instead of castigating a first-time director for his lack of budget, castigate the studios for never having told this story before.

    A war movie that finally showed what it's really like, "green" reservists climbing jungle-covered mountains while suffering from dysentery, malaria, not knowing where the enemy is and being in desperate need of a crap.
  • Kokoda was inspired by events on the Kokoda track during WW2 when Australian militia slowed and ultimately stopped a push by 10,000 Japanese soldiers to move overland and capture Port Moresby. What they really mean is that the movie is set in this time period but is fiction and everything that happens is just a jumble of standard scenes from other war films. The first hour is just one cliché after another. Some of the scenes are simply there to be able to draw us into a feeling that this conflict was horrific beyond compare, when there appears to be little evidence of this. Both sides fought hard to control the track and no mercy was shown by either side. Both sides suffered from logistic shortages and the terrain was a great leveler in this conflict. As the Japanese got closer to Port Moresby their supply line grew and this ultimately led to their downfall. On the other hand as the Australians retreated closer to Port Moresby their supply line decreased. Some of the scenes appear to be straight out of the handbook on standard scenes to include in any war film. The film was misguided and highlighted the youth of the production team. At a time when Australia could have done with a great film about one of Australia's best moments the film Kokoda is a shallow disappointment.
  • ifra161617 September 2006
    A totally pathetic attempt at movie about sacrifices of Australian Soldiers during the New Guinea Campaign. Total waste of money even if you only see it on DVD. Thankfully the video store provided a free weekly hire with the DVD else it would have been a complete waste of money. Probably made by arty types and full of the symbolism that today's Chardonay socialists seem so into. Frankly this movie is an insult to the memory of the brave chaps that never came back. Somebody please provide the funding to make a decent movie at least the equal of Saving Private Ryan. Hopefully the RSL will put as much distance between itself and this movie as possible. The story needs to be told from all sides the Australians, the locals & the Japanese - Although getting the latter to tell the truth about anything that happened during the second world war is highly unlikely. Basically its rubbish, don't see it, don't buy it. Walk away
  • bill-89419 December 2006
    I've had this DVD for two months but was put off watching it because of the reviews I'd read on IMDb.

    I should have known better. Always trust your gut instinct.

    This is a great movie; not because it is technically good; not because the acting is great but because it tries and succeeds to tell the story of one of those rare occasions where a handful of men, against all odds, genuinely change the course of history and in doing so save their nation and their culture.

    Just because most people outside Australia know nothing about the Kokoda Track, doesn't diminish what those young Australians of 39th Infantry Battalion did in 1942 and it doesn't lessen the debt Australia and the allies in general owes them.

    These men saved our nation regardless of what the "arm chair" generals say in hindsight.

    I thought the film did an excellent job in showing not only the physical conditions faced by these young diggers but also how perfectly normal people rise to the challenge (and sometimes don't) when faced with abnormal circumstances.

    I think the cast did a great job depicting how our grandfathers faced these unimaginable horrors.

    For those who are looking for a Hollywood epic; watch something else.

    For those who want a glimpse of what truly makes people achieve greatness for no better reason than they are in the wrong place at the right time, please give it a go.

    And finally for those who view it simply as Australian propaganda, you are probably right so don't watch it.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    There is no doubt that the Kokoda Trail depicts a truly great event in Australian Military history the brave defence of Australia against the cruel barbaric Japanese Army.Howver this film fails to take into account the story of the "Fuzzy Wuzzy's" or the New Guinea natives that The Australians used to help them carry out there military operations. The film also fails to give a credible account of the Australian soldier and his behaviour in this event. It is more like an uninformed contemporary view of what is was like.

    Again the Australian film industry has failed to give this important chapter in Australia';s history the film it deserved. This is film making at its worst with arbitrary cinematography , bad scripting and dialogue , no character development and cliché jungle warfare scenes.

    It fails to imbue the audience in any meaningful perspective other than the Japanese Army were ruthless and cruel murderers of an ill-equipped and badly trained group of Australians fighting in a jungle.

    The film failed as most Australian films do to attract a significant Australian audience in fact they stayed away in droves.

    I am not going to join the usual parochial garbage of saying its great because its an Australian film. I say either do a great job or just leave it to some one who knows how. This government funded film is just another failure by Australia's wealthy and spoilt rich kids.

    I am giving it zero stars because its an insult to the descendants of these truly great Australians and their enormous sacrifice. What a shameful waste and disrespect and I know this review will provoke more negativity from the Movie Show crew and most reviewers but I have a right to my opinion and that's what Australians fought for OUR FREEDOM and that includes freedom of speech and the right to express an opinion.
  • While The Mud, The Sickness and the Unsettling Horrors, Of fighting a war in the Papuan Rainforest, Against the seemingly unstopable (Albeit Mis-Represented!) Japanese foe are well captured..The soldiers "Chocos" personalities however?, Are not!

    The viewer is just not given a lot of background information on these men...Where they came from?, Why they were fighting?..Etc!.., Leaving the viewer not really caring, As to who survives the ordeal.

    On top of that, The movie is affected by a slightly heavyhanded bit of Australian Nationalism, Not that's an overly bad thing?, It's just that it's feels 'shoehorned' in, For the occasion of the movie release..ANZAC Day!
  • Excellent stuff though it stops a bit short in telling the whole story...

    I won't ruin the story... the acting is excellent, cinematography as well, storyline is complete, for what it tells. My only let down is it doesn't go into more of the history... IE:- after where the movie finishes...

    Movie is a bit gory; though that is the only way to tell a war movie these days. Recommend anyone see this... over the age of 16

    This is another movie to help you feel proud to be an Australian. Remind us of what we have; Why we remember the fallen, those who returned and those who are no longer with us.

    (honestly) Lest we forget!

    Saw on 21st April 2006.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    KOKODA 2006

    This Australian war film is about a small group of Australian soldiers during the Kokoda Track campaign of 1942. The men, part of the Australian 39th Battalion are sent deep into the mountains of New Guinea to try and stop the Japanese from reaching Port Moresby. The Japanese had landed a large force on the far side of the island, and are crossing over the Owen Stanley Range to take Port Moresby.

    Most of the Australian Army was fighting in North Africa, or had been lost in the fight for Singapore and the Dutch East Indies. The 39th was one of the few units available. It consisted mostly of untrained militia and soldiers considered unfit for combat.

    The film starts with a section of men assigned to a forward post on the Kokoda Track. Their job is to warn the main body of the troops if the Japanese show. The Japanese do show, and quickly flank the group. The survivors hot foot it into the jungle to escape. The half dozen men left now need to attempt to reach their own lines.

    The men quickly run out of food and fresh water. Most have malaria and are suffering from dysentery. They move on the best they can trying to avoid Japanese patrols. One by one the group is reduced from clashes with the opposing forces. One man is wounded and wanders off into the jungle to die. Another is shot up and left in an old native hut.

    Several days later, two of the men, starving and exhausted, manage to hook up with some Regular Australian Army units. The Regulars have just reached the area, and are having their own problems with the Japanese. Fighting in the open North African desert, is not the same as the dense humid jungle.

    The militiamen soon find themselves back in the fight as the Japanese launch a big attack. The attack fails, but the undermanned Aussies still need to fall back. Another of the men is killed, but the man left at the native hut has been brought in by several natives.

    The slow retreat continues almost to Port Moresby. The Japanese though have shot their bolt. They are now at the long end of a supply line. They are recalled back to the other side of the mountains. The long battle now continues back over the mountains in pursuit of the Japanese. The 39th though, what is left of them, are withdrawn.

    The cast is made up of, Ben Barrack, Simon Stone, Ewen Leslie, Christopher Baker, Travis McMahon, and Jack Finsterer, Luke Ford and Steve Le Marquand.

    First time feature film director, Alister Grierson, deserves full marks here. This is one nasty, brutal, war film.

    The cinematography by Jules O'Loughlin is simply fantastic, showing the viewer just how claustrophobic jungle warfare was. The Japanese are seldom shown except as shadows through the dense undergrowth. Most of the time they are right on top of the Aussies before they are seen. O'Loughlin was nominated for best cinematography by various Australian cinema award venues.

    All in all, this is a very good war film.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    I honestly cannot believe some of the reviews I have read here about this movie and most of them are by Australians! When it comes to downplaying our history and not giving thanks to the men and women whose sacrifices actually have allowed us the benefit of being able to give an opinion without being dragged from our beds and executed, I honestly used to think Canada held the distinction for being number one, but you guys take the cake.

    People wanting this to be more like "Saving Private Ryan" or calling it a Propagandist movie? REALLY? The person who said that we should not be bringing up some of the war atrocities by the Japanese really needs to buy a reality check. World War II was not pleasant, it was not what Hollywood made it out to be in the 50's and 60's and the most brutal examples of inhumanity happened in the Pacific Theater, including brutality to the Winnipeg Rifles (Canadians captured while defending Hong Kong) I knew nothing about this engagement before seeing this movie and all I can say is if something like this had happened between U.S. troops and the Japanese there would be hundreds of books and movies regaling us all with the magnificent heroics of the men involved.

    My hat is off to the first-time director who managed to pull this together and tell a story that REALLY needs to be told. Watching a movie like this or reading a book about it is in a way, an opportunity for the viewer or reader to say THANK YOU to the men that served.

    To those of you, especially those of you from Australia, who had your sensibilities hurt by it and gave it a low rating, SHAME on you! The movie is worthy of watching if for no other reason than learning about some of the history of World War II.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Just saw this today. An engrossing & polished film about a lost patrol during the Kokoda campaign. The action sequences were well constructed and beyond my expectations for a film of this limited budget. What impressed me was the attempt to make the conflict as realistic as possible.

    I've read about the 39th battalion and seen a documentary about the campaign, and it appeared to me that the film makers were sticking close to the actual history. What many people don't realise is that this campaign was of similar importance to such battles as Stalingrad and the D-Day invasion, although on a much smaller scale. As for the 39th, apparently only about 30 men remained from approximately 800 by the time the campaign was over.

    I agree with previous comments concerning the dialogue in so far as I sometimes had difficulty in understanding the conversations. I imagine this would be even more of a problem for non-Aussies. However, whilst it would have been great to see more of the large battles that took place, I don't think this really detracted from the film. We got a feeling for the overall conflict from the sounds of war and from the conversations amongst the patrol. Some others had criticised the ending, but I thought it was one of the highlights, particularly since this is where we get to see the most action.

    I think the director, actors & crew have done a fantastic job! 8/10
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Anyone who has rubbished this film has no real idea of either jungle warfare, the Kokoda retreat or the unit about whom the story is based. In fact, the only real criticism(and the reason why I only gave it 8) was due to the minimal depth of general detail because of the budgetary restrictions.

    I wont bother to point out individual ignorance here as most comments say more about the critic than they do about the movie. It is NOT a movie about Kokoda, but about a small part of the retreat of the 39th battalion from Kokoda to Isurava where the remnants were relieved by the 2/14th battalion AIF. The 39th was a MILITIA unit. Not regulars. It was made up of conscripts, was poorly trained(compared to AIF units) and was virtually shanghai'd to New Guinea. None of the troops had any military experience, let alone jungle warfare experience and most had never seen a jungle before. Yet this battalion held up the advance of between 3x and 9x their number(varied depending upon the place) of Japanese veteran troops who at that time were the undefeated and undisputed masters of jungle warfare(In fact it was the Australians at Milne Bay who gave the Japanese army its first defeat in WW2 about two weeks later, not the Americans at Guadalcanal).

    I have had quite a large amount of experience with terrain like this and was always grateful that no one was shooting at me at the time. You have to experience mud to your neck to believe it possible and you must also realise that along the Kokoda trail it was hot and wet during the day and freezing cold and wet during the night and virtually every soldier had malaria and dysentery. The individuals in the movie portrayed quite accurately how some of the 39th behaved as well as their fates. The comment that this was a "horror movie" was a total understatement as ALL Australians captured along the Kokoda trail by the Japanese were used for bayonet practice and the discovery of their mutilated corpses there as well as those left behind by the Japanese at Milne Bay made the taking of Japanese prisoners a very rare event. Naturally the (mostly unseen in the movie as it was in real jungle warfare) Japanese also had disease and climatic problems in their advance but having had a relative who died as a Japanese POW I find it hard to be sympathetic towards them. One detail which was poorly understood by many who saw the movie, was that upon reaching Isurava the 39th was relieved by the 2/14th and gave up all of the "tommy" guns and Bren guns to that battalion. As they were starting to return to Port Moresby along the track the remnants of the battalion (~140 out of >500), all ill and with up to 30% weight loss. heard the huge outpouring of fire behind them as the Japanese threw a whole regiment at the 2/14th. Without a murmur or an order, the whole 39th turned around and with rifles only rejoined the fray and arrived at a crucial period.

    I do hope that one day someone will do a large budget movie on the retreat of the whole 39th along the trail. They deserve it. this movie is accurate but shows only a small fragment of their story.
  • I planned to see KOKODA on Anzac Day and was amazed that it wasn't playing at the 2 cinemas nearest me (Great support for local product). I ended up seeing it today (27 April) and am still processing it. However, off the bat I'd say it was very good, but probably less than I expected. Although I generally try to avoid the "hype" surrounding films like this, it was hard to avoid this film's publicity considering the subject matter and the passion it stirs in a country that has now buried all of its World War One heroes. Comparisons to Peter Weir's 'Gallipoli' were probably unfair given that 'Kokoda' is Director Alister Griersons feature debut. You have to wonder how much better it would have been if it was Griersons third feature? Given that though, you have to take your hat off to him and his team for making a great film out of a low budget. The other thing that will probably be a sticking point with some people, and I dare say some veterans of Kokoda, is that the film is less of a definitive film about Kokoda, but a story about a section of soldiers, who happen to be a small part of a much larger picture. This isn't necessarily a criticism, just an observation. I have also heard some veterans express that the swearing was a bit "modern". So for those history buffs that will see it because it is another morsel of information on the subject; enjoy and don't judge too harshly. For those who have heard the name Kokoda, and wonder what it means to the 'ragged bloody heroes' who fought there, see it and judge for yourself. Then read about it. This is just one of many, many stories from the TRACK (Not the 'trail' - which is an American term, not used by the Aussies) For some real stories go to the Australian's At War Film Archive ( and read some actual transcripts from the soldiers themselves.
  • For all its wonderful images, for all of its good intentions, this just comes off as yet another disgustingly one-sided, over-glorified, self-promoting propaganda.

    The message is simple, "All Japanese fighting on the Kokoda Track were sadistic, malicious f*** sticks who enjoyed gutting every last Aussie troop, cutting their throats before beheading them." Not only does Kokoda pick up on "Gallipoli"'s only flaw (that the enemy are faceless, nameless, and apparently inhumane), but manages to prove quite the opposite to Weir's masterpiece. Instead of giving us a perfect film with one flaw, we have a horrible mess with one redeeming feature.

    Let's start off with this: we're, without any comfortable adapting to the characters, introduced to these apparently quite laid back, two-dimensional people who we never... EVER get to sympathize with. We're kept at such a distance that even when we could so easily relate to the characters, they find a way to keep us away. That alone is a sickening feature, as it drives us from the very plot, helps the horrible pacing to leave us with a lasting impression, and makes it so much easier to see the contrast between an overtly sentimental ending and an otherwise lackluster body of a film.

    In other words, it drags us through a painful journey (not just for us, but apparently for them) and just as it should end, we're thrown into another eye-roller of a skirmish that ends faster than it began. So, for the as yet STILL uninformed: when it should end, it starts up again, only to end when we expect more. S***! It's just a confusing and agonizing pace!

    Which brings me to the ultimatum: this is meant to educate us on the events of the Kokoda track. It doesn't come close. Not only does it detail a very small, insignificant part of the campaign (sprinkling a little "mateship" on top in an attempt to make it relevant), but it succeeds in doing the one thing a film as important as this should be does, it makes us NOT care.

    Honestly, my eyes were constantly glued to my watch the entire time. The audience around me, all proudly Australian, bickering as they came in about how great the film is going to be, groaned, moaned, and whined in disappointment as every one of the painful ninety-five minutes droned on (for a short running time, it felt like Apocalypse Now: difference being that Apocalypse Now was a good film and deserved the three hours it got) and on to the point where suicide could wholeheartedly be an alternative should it be mandatory for this film to be watched.

    Though, considering how much the TV has been advertising this trash, I'd say it is mandatory, in a subliminal sense of the word.

    Watch if you like pretty images. Though you'd do better watching The Constant Gardener or Gallipoli anyway, since they have superior cinematography and ACTUAL plots.

    Overall: *
  • I hadn't heard of the Kokoda trail before seeing this movie, so did not know what to expect other than another war movie. But after the intro I was sucked in. It was interesting but beware it is not for the squeamish. I took my mum to see it as I won 2 tickets to the advance screening, she also quite enjoyed it but at times didn't like the 'brutal' scenes or profanity used. I believe it compares with Platoon, a great war film of its time and as should Kokoda become too. The characters were good, I believe it would be hard for them to act in such wet and muddy conditions. They did not but depth into characters but each was different which I was pleased to see, their was a self-confident man who I switched on and off with in liking. Direction was the main reason I wanted to see the film, Aussie films are being very well directed such as Wolf Creek, and I was pleased on how the camera effects and angles were used.

    Overall, anyone could enjoy such a great film even if you are not into war or looking for great direction, but the history and depiction of the event is brought forward very well. I tossed between a 7 and 8 of 10...but a 7.2 will resolves my decision lol.
  • "War is hell" quoted from Sherman

    first please forgive my English is poor :)

    As a Chinese ,I was surprised Australian's combat in new guinea,ago I often think Australian's battle effectiveness is poor in WWII(certainly Chinese too),but now the movie let me think Australian is honored !I think this movie is better than thin red line, and the movie equals Australia's Band of brothers,both are true and meaning ,it's great.

    the last give my regards to the movie and Autralian friends

    HISTORY: The Kokoda Track (also known as the Kokoda Trail) is one of the World's great treks. Linking the Southern and Northern coast of Papua New Guinea. The Kokoda, Kokoda Track and Sogeri areas have a World War II history of bitter fighting between Australian and Japanese Armies during the latter half of 1942.

    The Kokoda Track is a native footpath that traverses the rugged peaks of the Owen Stanley Ranges, and it was here that an in-experienced, ill-equipped, outnumbered Australian force faced the might of the Japanese army. As well as their opposition, both nations faced the problems of conducting a war in the extremely inhospitable Papua New Guinea jungle, an environment that inflicted casualties .

    The Australians, together with their Papuan "fuzzy angels" allies, after four months of bitter fighting, overcame these obstacles and inflicted on the Japanese army its first land defeat of the Second World War. In the process, they became immortalized and a source of inspiration for future generations of Australians.
  • I saw this movie today on the big screen and i can honestly not believe some of the comments made by people on here. I was really hoping to be touched by this film, but wasn't.

    I'm ex Australian Army and very patriotic towards this great country, but I feel this movie no way does justice for us and those soldier who fought at this battle.

    The movie is poorly filmed. I thought the acting was terrible, they were not believable and they didn't give me any reason for me to care about them. People are saying this movie was graphic, there were a couple of graphic scenes but I found most part very weak. The war scenes were very short and only last a couple of minutes.

    Overall a weak film that doesn't do these soldiers any justice.
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