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"THE GREAT RAID"
(2005) (Joseph Fiennes, James Franco) (R)

Alcohol/
Drugs
Blood/Gore Disrespectful/
Bad Attitude
Frightening/
Tense Scenes
Guns/
Weapons
*None Heavy Extreme Heavy Extreme
Imitative
Behavior
Jump
Scenes
Music
(Scary/Tense)
Music
(Inappropriate)
Profanity
Minor None Heavy None *Heavy
Sex/
Nudity
Smoking Tense Family
Scenes
Topics To
Talk About
Violence
Moderate Heavy Mild Heavy Extreme


QUICK TAKE:
Drama: U.S. and Filipino military forces plan a rescue mission of American POWs held in a Philippines based Japanese war camp where the inhabitants are facing extermination and have only been kept alive by an underground organization that smuggles needed medicine to them.
PLOT:
It's early 1945 and General MacArthur has returned to the Philippines to battle the Japanese forces and retake the country. Yet, in the path of the massive Allied forces are Japanese POW camps filled with survivors of the notorious Bataan Death March from three years earlier. The U.S. military doesn't want them to be collateral damage from the advance, and they're aware that the new Japanese edict is that all POWs be killed.

Accordingly, Lt. Colonel Henry Mucci (BENJAMIN BRATT) of the 6th Army is assigned to stage a rescue of 500 some men from the Cabanatuan POW camp that's located some thirty miles behind enemy lines. Mucci chooses Captain Bob Prince (JAMES FRANCO) to conceive and execute the raid, and their outnumbered but determined forces then set out for the camp, eventually joined by Filipino guerillas led by Capt. Juan Pajota (CESAR MONTANO).

Back at the camp, things briefly look up for POW leader Major Daniel Gibson (JOSEPH FIENNES) and others, such as Captain Redding (MARTON CSOKAS), when the Japanese guards suddenly leave them there alone. Gibson is sick with malaria, but thanks to supplies smuggled in from Manila by his friend and lost love Margaret Utinsky (CONNIE NIELSEN) and her local assistant Mina (NATALIE MENDOZA), he's been able to keep the illness at bay. Yet, crackdowns on such smuggling are increasing each day, led by secret policeman Yamada (GOTARO TSUNASHIMA).

Things get worse when a new contingent of Japanese soldiers and guards arrive to run the camp, led by the stern Major Nagai (MOTOKI KOBAYASHI) who informs the prisoners that for every one who escapes, ten will die in his place. As he awaits word to execute all of them, the POWs try to hold on, all while Mucci, Prince and their forces slowly make their way toward the camp for their upcoming rescue raid.

WILL KIDS WANT TO SEE IT?
If they're into WWII films or are fans of someone in the cast, they might, but it doesn't otherwise seem too likely.
WHY THE MPAA RATED IT: R
For strong war violence and brief language.
CAST AS ROLE MODELS:
  • BENJAMIN BRATT plays the confident military officer placed in charge of the raid who smokes pipes a few times.
  • JAMES FRANCO plays the captain that Mucci assigns to conceive and help execute the raid. He constantly worries about recon information and the safety of those they're about to rescue.
  • JOSEPH FIENNES plays the American leader of the POW camp who's slowly becoming more ill from the malaria he's contracted.
  • MARTON CSOKAS plays his subordinate and friend in the camp who tries to keep him going, and briefly makes a sexual metaphor about food.
  • CONNIE NIELSEN plays Gibson's lost love who risks her life smuggling medicine out of Manila and getting it to the POWs.
  • NATALIE MENDOZA plays the local Filipino woman who assists Margaret in smuggling medicine to the POWs.
  • MOTOKI KOBAYASHI plays the new and stern commandant of the POW camp who has various prisoners executed and tries to get Gibson to give up the name of whoever's smuggling medicine to them.
  • CESAR MONTANO plays the leader of the Filipino guerilla forces who wants and is finally granted permission to join in the American raid of the POW camp.
  • CAST, CREW, & TECHNICAL INFO

    HOW OTHERS RATED THIS MOVIE


    Curious if this title is entertaining, any good, and/or has any artistic merit?
    Then read OUR TAKE of this film.


    (Note: The "Our Take" review of this title examines the film's artistic merits and does not take into account any of the possibly objectionable material listed below).


    OUR WORD TO PARENTS:
    Here's a quick look at the content found in this war drama that's been rated R. Profanity consists of two possible "f" words (said during action so they're not clearly heard), while a handful of other expletives and colorful phrases are uttered. Some sexually related talk is also present (the most graphic as a metaphor for eating food). Violence consists of war-related deaths (from gunfire, explosions, close physical contact and others being executed by various means in several scenes) and some beating of prisoners. Some of that has bloody results, and those scenes, other moments of potential peril and some visuals may be unsettling or suspenseful to some viewers.

    Various characters have varying degrees of bad attitudes (mostly the Japanese soldiers and guards toward the Americans and others). Some characters smoke, some may be grieving over dead family members and one soldier is very sick from malaria. Should you still be concerned about the film's appropriateness for yourself or anyone else in your home, you may want to look more closely at our detailed listings for more specific information regarding the film's content.

    For those concerned with bright flashes of light on the screen, there's some of that in one scene.


    ALCOHOL OR DRUG USE
  • None, but about a fantasy of freedom the latter is explaining, Gibson jokingly tells Redding to "have a drink for me."
  • BLOOD/GORE
  • We see various black and white shots of dead bodies, some piled in trucks.
  • We see various black and white shots of dead military men, some with bloody wounds on them.
  • We briefly see a bloody bullet hole in a person's shirt after they've just been shot.
  • We see some bad looking blisters on Prince's foot (what's called jungle rot).
  • We see villagers crying over their dead that we then see in piles of bodies in a funeral pyre (we then see one charred, burning skull).
  • Margaret sees that her assistant and others have been shot dead in an alley (their bodies are bloody and slumped over, with some of their eyes still open).
  • We see blood squirt out from the front of a man's neck when he's shot from behind. We also see the bloody bullet hole wound in the front of the neck on the body on the ground.
  • We see some blood spurt out (but not a lot) as people are shot during the raid.
  • Many men on both sides are shot and wounded or killed, some with bloody results.
  • There's some blood on a man's shoulder where he was struck by a bayonet.
  • We see a guy in surgery and there's blood on his chest.
  • DISRESPECTFUL/BAD ATTITUDE
  • The Japanese responsible for killing POWs and those trying to help them obviously have extreme cases of bad attitudes.
  • All of the Japanese soldiers/guards have bad attitudes toward their POWs.
  • Various Allied soldiers/officers use the term "Jap" when referring to the Japanese.
  • Gibson bribes a guard to speak with a woman with connections in a market.
  • The POWs discover that their Japanese captors had been hording food especially earmarked for prisoners.
  • Soldiers arrive at a church where Margaret has been hiding. One punches a priest and another holds a gun to the chest of another.
  • A miscellaneous man will only transport women and children to safety for payment and refuses to take a woman and her child when they don't have enough (Margaret pays for them with her watch).
  • FRIGHTENING SCENES
  • Scenes listed under "Violence" and "Blood/Gore" may be unsettling or suspenseful to some viewers.
  • We see emaciated POWs.
  • We hear that the new Japanese policy for POWs is to annihilate all of them and leave no traces.
  • We see POWs being put into shallow bunkers where fuel barrels are then rolled up, emptied out and the men are set on fire. Some try to escape and are on fire, but are mowed down by machine gun fire. We later hear that 150 men were killed in this incident.
  • We see a heavily populated graveyard where men are preparing to bury a covered body on a wagon, while a dog digs/tugs at a fresh grave (but we don't see that body).
  • We see one POW being strung up on a pole by his captors and then being hit by a stick. Later, his body is still there and he's dead.
  • After their Japanese captors suddenly leave, Redding does so as well, much to Gibson's concern, but it's just to retrieve the body of a fellow POW that was strung up outside the camp's confines.
  • Just when the POWs think they're home free, Japanese military secret police suddenly show up in force at the camp and take control.
  • Nagai tells the prisoners that for everyone who escapes, ten will be killed in his place.
  • The rescue forces must hide under a bridge at night when a Japanese convoy arrives, including one soldier who walks down near them. He hears a sound and starts to approach those who are hiding, but one American soldier sneaks up behind him and kills him with a knife (we don't see the impact).
  • Margaret sneaks into a pharmacy to try to steal medicine to smuggle back to the camp.
  • Japanese soldiers raid a Manila hospital and force one woman to point out the medicine smuggling conspirators. She points out several, but then surprisingly passes by Margaret who's relieved not to have been identified, but she's horrified when those singled out are forced to kneel and are then executed by gunshots. There's no blood, but we see their bodies react to the shot and then slump over to the street.
  • A man slowly follows Margaret's assistant through the city streets, with Margaret trying to run interference. The man appears to have cornered the woman on a bus, but we see that she got away.
  • Margaret sees that her assistant and others have been shot dead in an alley (their bodies are bloody and slumped over, with some of their eyes still open).
  • We see that the POW camp is being reinforced by additional Japanese forces (as we know the Allied forces are approaching for their rescue mission).
  • We see barrels of fuel brought into the POW camp (reminding us of how they were used earlier -- above). We also hear that the Japanese are awaiting orders to liquidate the prisoners.
  • Gibson gets a case of bad shakes from being sick with malaria.
  • The men learn that one of their own has escaped from the POW camp and they realize that will mean retribution. He's then captured and returned to the camp where he and others are forced to watch as ten POWs are singled out from the group, lined up in a kneeling position and then shot one by one in the back of the neck (mostly blood-free, although one briefly shows blood squirting out and we see a bloody hole in the man's neck). At first, we only hear the shots and then see the actual act (although the impact is not shown) of the shooting with the bodies then slumping over. The escapee is executed as well.
  • We hear that the Allied forces in the raid will be severely outnumbered by the enemy.
  • We see the rescue forces slowly crawling through an open field during the day toward the POW camp, with only bits of scrub brush hiding their approach.
  • We see a man rigging a bomb on a bridge's supports and having to remain silent when a guard is above him.
  • The actual raid and its various moments may be suspenseful to viewers.
  • Japanese men fire mortars at the escaping POWs and the rescuers. Most miss (although everyone must duck when they explode), but we then see that one person was hit.
  • Nagai is after two Allied soldiers and fires shots at them, while his accomplice is shot dead. Some cat and mouse moments ensue, with an American finding Nagai and trying to shoot him, but his gun jams. Nagai then gets him in the shoulder with a bayonet strike, and the two then struggle and fight, with the American punching his enemy in the face. Nagai strikes the American on the head with an ammo clip and then tries to stab the American with a knife, but the latter manages to pull out a handgun and shoot the man off him. He then repeatedly shoots him (we don't see the impact).
  • One of the main characters is dead at the end.
  • GUNS/WEAPONS
  • Machine guns/Rifles/Various Explosives/Tanks/Warplanes: Seen, carried and/or used to threaten, wound or kill others and/or cause property damage. See "Violence" for details.
  • IMITATIVE BEHAVIOR
  • Phrases: "It feels like I'm sucking Rita Hayworth's t*ts," "For crying out loud," "Jap," "Hell of a plan," "Poor dumb bastard," "Didn't give a damn," "A rough son of a bitch," "Shut up," "A hell of a lot more," "Poor son of a bitch," "Bastards," "Pain in the ass," "Give a damn about," "Damn sure," "What in the hell is Riley doing?" and "Where the hell you been?"
  • JUMP SCENES
  • None.
  • MUSIC (SCARY/TENSE)
  • A heavy amount of action-based, dramatic, ominous and suspenseful music plays in the film.
  • MUSIC (INAPPROPRIATE)
  • None.
  • PROFANITY
  • At least 2 possible "f" words (said during action scenes, so they could have been something else), 1 "s" word, 1 slang term for breasts ("t*ts"), 9 damns, 7 S.O.B.s, 5 hells, 1 ass, 3 uses of "G-damn" and 1 use of "Jesus."
  • SEX/NUDITY
  • While starving and gulping down some unexpected food, Redding states that it "feels like I'm sucking Rita Hayworth's t*ts," prompting Gibson to say he was thinking more of Mae West.
  • A woman shows some cleavage.
  • Trying to keep Gibson's spirits up, Redding tells him to think of Margaret in some see-thru thing, walking on his back.
  • We see that the Japanese police have Margaret in custody and one punches her in the face. One then has his hands on her (she's clothed) and runs them up her arms in an intimidating, sexual fashion.
  • Margaret is shown a photo of a man while being interrogated and is asked if it's her husband or lover.
  • SMOKING
  • Mucci smokes a pipe at least 3 times, Nagai smokes once, and a host of miscellaneous characters (fictional and in real archival footage) smoke in numerous other scenes.
  • TENSE FAMILY SCENES
  • We hear that Margaret's husband died of malaria.
  • We see villagers crying over their dead that we then see in piles of bodies in a funeral pyre (it's presumed some are family members, but that's never clarified and the scene is very brief).
  • TOPICS TO TALK ABOUT
  • The historical accuracy and/or any artistic license taken with the real story.
  • WWII.
  • The Bataan Death March.
  • We hear that the new Japanese policy for POWs is to annihilate all of them and leave no traces.
  • Malaria.
  • A priest tells Margaret that she has to believe in something stronger than herself.
  • VIOLENCE
  • We see archival footage of explosions and resultant fires in Pearl Harbor and the Philippines.
  • We see more war footage, with flamethrowers blasted, machine gun fire and a plane being shot down.
  • We see POWs being put into shallow bunkers where fuel barrels are then rolled up, emptied out and the men are set on fire. Some try to escape and are on fire, but are mowed down by machine gun fire. We later hear that 150 men were killed in this incident.
  • We see one POW being strung up on a pole by his captors and then being hit by a stick. Later, his body is still there and he's dead.
  • A guard hits a POW with a stick.
  • As Margaret and a local woman attempt to get medicine for the POWs, men approach them, with Margaret's accomplice kicking one man. That's followed by a gun battle between various men where several people are shot and the women's supply truck backs out, crashing through a gate with more shooting at that truck.
  • A Japanese soldier shoots a POW dead (shooting him through the radio he's carrying).
  • The rescue forces must hide under a bridge at night when a Japanese convoy arrives, including one soldier who walks down near them. He hears a sound and starts to approach those who are hiding, but one American soldier sneaks up behind him and kills him with a knife (we don't see the impact).
  • Japanese soldiers raid a Manila hospital and force one woman to point out the medicine smuggling conspirators. She points out several, but then surprisingly passes by Margaret who's relieved not to have been identified, but she's horrified when those singled out are forced to kneel and are then executed by gunshots. There's no blood, but we see their bodies react to the shot and then slump over to the street.
  • We see that the Japanese police have Margaret in custody and one punches her in the face. One then has his hands on her (she's clothed) and runs them up her arms in an intimidating, sexual fashion.
  • A Japanese camp guard overturns Gibson in his cot and then grabs him.
  • We see that Japanese police have Margaret strung up with her arms over a pole and her feet barely touching the floor below her.
  • Margaret sees that her assistant and others have been shot dead in an alley (their bodies are bloody and slumped over, with some of their eyes still open).
  • Soldiers arrive at a church where Margaret has been hiding. One punches a priest and another holds a gun to the chest of another.
  • A guard whacks Gibson on the back while walking despite the latter being very sick.
  • The men learn that one of their own has escaped from the POW camp and they realize that will mean retribution. He's then captured and returned to the camp where he and others are forced to watch as ten POWs are singled out from the group, lined up in a kneeling position and then shot one by one in the back of the neck (mostly blood-free, although one briefly shows blood squirting out and we see a bloody hole in the man's neck). At first, we only hear the shots and then see the actual act (although the impact is not shown) of the shooting with the bodies then slumping over. The escapee is executed as well.
  • Just before those executions, a guard hits the prisoner who was supposed to be watching the escapee.
  • As the raid begins on two fronts, many enemy soldiers are shot and some are killed by explosions.
  • A rocket is fired into a building that explodes, followed by one into a truck that tries to get out of that, with burning men falling out of that.
  • As the raid continues, a tremendous amount of gunfire is exchanged.
  • A tank is hit and explodes.
  • Many men on both sides are shot and wounded or killed, some with bloody results.
  • A tank shoots at the Filipino guerillas, while others are also hit by gunfire.
  • Part of a bridge explodes and then a tank is hit, followed by many more soldiers being shot.
  • Japanese men fire mortars at the escaping POWs and the rescuers. Most miss (although everyone must duck when they explode), but we then see that one person was hit.
  • Nagai is after two Allied soldiers and fires shots at them, while his accomplice is shot dead. Some cat and mouse moments ensue, with an American finding Nagai and trying to shoot him, but his gun jams. Nagai then gets him in the shoulder with a bayonet strike, and the two then struggle and fight, with the American punching his enemy in the face. Nagai strikes the American on the head with an ammo clip and then tries to stab the American with a knife, but the latter manages to pull out a handgun and shoot the man off him. He then repeatedly shoots him (we don't see the impact).
  • A man is hit by a sniper shot.



  • Reviewed June 24, 2005 / Posted August 12, 2005

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