Saturday, May 15, 2021

Review of "The Great Raid," DVD

 Review of

The Great Raid, DVD

Five out of five stars

Based on a true story with little embellishment

 On April 9, 1942, somewhere between 60 and 80 thousand American and Filipino soldiers surrendered on the Bataan peninsula in the Philippines. At the time of their surrender, they had undergone a siege where they were on short rations for some time and had few medical supplies. Therefore, the men were already suffering from malnutrition and disease. After a brutal transport to POW camps where many died along the way, some of the soldiers ended up in a camp at Cabanatuan, where  discipline was brutal and the Japanese executed prisoners for minor offenses.

 In 1945, American forces were advancing and defeating the Japanese in the Philippines. Orders came down from the Japanese High Command that the POWs were to be killed. Hearing of this, the US military decided to carry out a daring raid behind the lines in order to free the Americans at Cabanatuan. To be successful, the men would have to infiltrate on foot for many miles and engage and outfight a superior force of Japanese soldiers. That mission was successful and all of the Americans still alive were rescued and brought back to U.S. held territory. This movie describes that operation and the context within which the action took place.

 The location shots move from the resistance forces in Japanese held territory to the Cabanatuan camp itself to the forces engaged in the planning and moving forward to the attack. The Filipino guerilla forces are given due credit for their role in the operation and there appears to be little in the way of embellishment of what was a daring, dynamic raid that helped even the score of the appearance of U. S. abandonment of Bataan.

 It is a great war movie because the emphasis is on the planning, emotional states of the main players and the importance of the operation. There were no super soldier moments. The surrender of the U. S. forces on Bataan was the numerically largest surrender in the history of the U. S. military. This movie is about the U. S. coming back so that they could prove that the men were not forgotten.

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