Hell In The Pacific

1968, Movie, G, 103 mins

Review

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A brutal and uncompromising film that pits American Marine pilot Marvin against Japanese Navy officer Mifune after both are left alone on an island. They stalk each other in the jungle until finally Mifune captures and hog-ties Marvin. The American manages to escape and then he captures Mifune and ties him up. Marvin later releases his hostage and both men declare a truce, surviving in the jungle without each other's help. Mifune begins to build a raft, and Marvin at first laughs derisively at him but then helps him complete the little craft. Together they sail to another island where they find a deserted camp. They bathe, don fresh uniforms, and then get drunk on sake, ostensibly becoming friends. Mifune finds a Life magazine and goes berserk when he sees a photo story showing photos critical of Japanese troops. He attacks Marvin and they both go at it again, finally going off alone, each of them again bloodied. In another version a mine goes off, and the viewer is led to believe that both men are killed. Neither version is satisfactory in a story that tries too hard to get the simple message across that war is hell and those who fight wars mostly die without reason. The acting is acceptable but is as extravagant as the script, and Boorman's direction is repetitive and ponderous, beating that single antiwar theme to death long before the adversaries do. The violence in the film is broad, explicit, and ugly. Certainly not for young viewers. leave a comment

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