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Saturday, June 28, 2003



THE GREAT RAID

Directed by John Dahl
Written by Hossein Amini and Carlo Bernard
Starring Joseph Fiennes, Benjamin Bratt, Connie Nielsen
Review by Mil Peliculas

Who is John Dahl?

If you did not get that reference please refer to Atlas Shrugged.

Buenas Tardes! Well, your pal Mil managed to get into a screening of the new John Dahl picture, the unfortunately titled The Great Raid. Frankly, the title is not the only unfortunate part of this one. John Dahl is really struggling these days. His latest effort is not going to help matters I’m afraid.

Benjamin Bratt and Joseph Fiennes star in this yawner based on a raid of a Japanese POW camp in the Philippines near the end of World War II, where 511 American prisoners were rescued from the clutches of the Japs. I’m sure the original raid was quite exciting, but you wouldn’t really know that from this film.

First off, I couldn’t tell you who the main character is. There is no clear-cut protagonist, always a problem for a movie. Bratt plays Colonel Mucci, a character whose only distinguishing feature is that he smokes a pipe. Joseph Fiennes plays a sickly POW with one foot in the grave. All he does is sit and wring his hands and limp around the camp. Connie Nielsen of Gladiator plays his sweetheart who works as a nurse for a Manila hospital. She’s working with the resistance, trying to get medicine to the camp because she knows Fiennes is sick. The romance never comes close to paying off, we never see any scenes of them being romantic together, not even in flashback, so that falls pretty flat.

The big showdown with the bad guy, the Japanese head of the POW camp, is a letdown too. The guy is killed by one of the supporting characters; I don’t even remember the guy’s name. Hey, the audience applauded, guess they were appreciative of a free movie.

The only thing the production should be applauded for is their casting of real Asian actors to portray the Japanese and Philippinos. You might have expected them to stick Lou Diamond Phillips or Mako in as the villain; thankfully they use a real Asian actor with a thick accent.

I’m not even sure this one will make it to the big screen, you might want to watch for it in your TV guide, it may turn up as an HBO movie. But if you watch it, don’t say I didn’t warn ya!