The Great Raid (2005)
Director: John Dahl
Cast: Benjamin Bratt as Lt. Colonel Mucci, James Franco as Captain Prince, Robert Mammone as Captain Fisher, Max Martini as 1st Sgt. Sid "Top" Wojo, James Carpinello as Cpl. Aliteri, Mark Consuelos as Cpl. Guttierez, Craig McLachlan as 2nd Lt. Riley, Freddie Joe Farnsworth as 2nd Lt. Foley, Laird Macintosh as 2nd Lt. O'Grady, Jeremy Callaghan as Lt. Able, Scott McLean as Lt. LeClaire, Paolo Montalban as Sgt. Valera, Clayne Crawford as PFC Aldrige, Sam Worthington as PFC Lucas, Royston Innes as Sgt. Adams
The Great Raid ----- August 12, 2005, a review by Teresita "Terry"
Berkeley, CA – In the near-empty Shattuck Cinema, I gave myself the
birthday gift of watching The Great Raid on opening night. This film, a
chronicle of early 1945 events in The Philippines, has been highly
anticipated in the U.S. Filipino Community, mostly by those of us who
are fighting to achieve full equity for our Veteranos.
My mom, aunt and uncle joined me, as the initial documentary footage
validated the historical scenes of war and resistance, as if you were
there over 60 years ago. As expected, my mom made constant commentary
throughout the film, as the scenes brought back, often frightening,
memories. Anxiously, she recounted in soft whispers of her bout with
malaria, which meant sure death, until her father decided she would not
be left behind, as they ran every day to escape the Japanese. Like the
film's prisoner of war, quinine was the saving prescription for my
mom's malaria-stricken body.
The Great Raid is an army flick, similar to the scores I've seen in the
past 50 years. Less melodramatic, though powerful in its interpretation
of the human condition during war, the movie takes you into a POW camp
where 500 detainees eke out survival under the Japanese flag. The
acting was understated and reflected deep agony and despair without the
flair of cinema-edged bravado. No John Waynes or Anthony Quinns in this
version. The casting was done with a sense of nuance for each of the
The subplots were gripping. The valiant efforts of the underground that
smuggled medicine to the ill and dying prisoners; the array of
authority figures in the military who made heart-rending decisions
about strategy and tactics; the rescue mission that galvanized a unit
of 120 special rangers who had yet to see the extreme fires of combat;
the unlikely relationships that bound survivors in their fate.
Some high points of the painful, two and a half- hour mendacity tensed
you to the edge of your seat ----- the brutality of the Japanese, not
withstanding the execution of ten prisoners for one escapee; the
burning funeral of a hundred Filipinos, many of them women and children
villagers, near the Cabanatuan Prison; the spectacular, surprise
invasion of the Japanese camp; the courage of the Filipino Guerrilas
and their exemplary warrior spirits led by Captain Pajota, as their
steeled defense of a bridge held the Japanese and their tanks captive
and effectively severed an avenue of retaliations to the explosions and
attack in their war camp.
The sacrifices of the fighting forces to liberate the Philippines were
stark and many. The younger generations, especially those of Filipino
descent, are urged to see what their homeland heroes were made of. This
long war was waged in face-to-face, hand-to-hand combat with bravery
for duty and beyond.
I went to see this as a way of honoring my dad, a U.S. Army private,
who survived WWII, found his war bride, and fathered his first-born. I
have deep respect and admiration for those like my Pop, who still live
to tell their stories, who today are still struggling for full
recognition of shed blood, sweat, and tears, at a time where their
homeland joined the world's battlefields.
WWII Filipino Veterans soldiers deserve Full Equity Now!