The Great Raid

DVD Reviews | Feb 21st, 2006

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Starring James Franco, Benjamin Bratt, Joseph Fiennes, Connie Nielsen
Written By:
Directed By: John Dahl
Studio: Miramax/Buena Vista
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Based on a true story, The Great Raid is about one of the greatest rescue missions in US history. Against the odds during World War II, 6th Ranger Battalion must break over 500 men out of a P.O.W. Camp and go undetected. It’s an unthinkable mission, with dedicated soldiers willing to do what it takes to free their brothers in arms. Exciting, and adventurous, The Great Raid is a must for War buffs.

Led by Lt. Colonel Mucci (Bratt) and his battalion, the Rangers must head into enemy territory and break free over 500 Prisoners of War. With the mission designed by respected and intelligent, Captain Prince (Franco), everyone involved know it’s a risky task from the start. Japanese troops constantly patrol the area and to get even near the base, troops are at risk of being killed. With the Japanese being defeated throughout most of their country, Japan will not shut down their POW bases and abandon their posts. While the men inside struggle to stay alive after being held captive for more than 3 years, their resolve is waning. Joseph Fiennes plays Major Gibson, a man that holds his men together while at the same time is dying from malaria. Suffering most of the days, Gibson usually plays the spokesperson of the men to the Japanese, and their appeal for such things as food, water, medicine. Connie Nielsen plays Margaret Utinsky, a Manilla nurse who helps obtain drugs and medicine on the black market to smuggle into the camps. Her connection inside is Major Gibson, with whom she had a something or other before Gibson was imprisoned. Both would desire to be together again and work hard at getting that opportunity.

What’s cool to see about the movie is that you see most of the mission’s undertakings from the beginning. From it’s initial planning to the development of the mission to actually carrying out the mission and the end results. Seeing what it takes for all these troops to get the job done is extremely satisfying, especially during a time for our war currently, to see what goes into a soldier’s duty. Not necessarily the same kind of battle, but the same feelings and emotions the troops have to deal with.

The Great Raid: Directors Cut features plenty of extras, including a 60 minute documentary about the whole story, the people involved, and the time period. The Documentary is interesting to watch as well as The Veterans Remember, and History Lessons with Author Hampton Sides. My favorite is Captain Dale Dye’s Boot Camp, and Boot Camp Outtakes. Captain Dale Dye is a great military advisor and actor to almost all of the military movies around, including Saving Private Ryan, Band of Brothers, Rules of Engagement, Born of the Fourth of July, and Platoon to name a few. I always love to watch how these actors get their asses handed to, on behalf of these two week boot camps to show these actors how it’s really done.

Not the best Military movie but entertaining nonetheless. James Franco and Benjamin Bratt are excellent as the two heroes of the film. From the looks of real footage shown at the end of the film, the casting crew did a great job with the likeness and how each actor looks like their real life soldier. Let’s just hope Hollywood continues to make strong War movies, rather than some crap fests like Windtalkers.

-Feature Commentary with director John Dahl, producer Marty Katz, technical advisor Captain Dale Dye, Editor Scott Chestnut and author Hampton Sides
-The Price of Freedom: Making The Great Raid
-Extended Deleted Scenes with Commentary

Disc 2:
-The Ghosts of Bataan – 60 min. Documentary
-The Veterans Remember
-History Lesson with author Hampton Sides
-Captain Dale Dye’s Boot Camp
-Boot Camp Outtakes
-Mixing The Great Raid
-The Mix Board with Special Audio Options
-War In The Pacific Interactive Timeline
-Dedication to the Soldiers of Bataan

ENGLISH: Dolby Digital 5.1

Widescreen 2.40:1 Color (Anamorphic)

English, Spanish

Favorite Scenes: The Great Raid, Manilla Hospital
Rating: NR
Running Time: 131 minutes
Extras Rating:
Overall Rating: