The Great Raid

Release Date: August 12, 2005
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Movie of the Day for Tuesday, May 10, 2005
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Benjamin and his buddies set out to make Julia give him back his Black T-Shirt.

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Position Staff In Brief
128/166 David Mumpower Quite possibly the dullest war film ever.

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You have to be in a particularly misanthropic state of mind to crack wise about a movie involving the Bataan Death March in which tens of thousands of prisoners of war died en route to, or while held in, Japanese prisoner of war camps in the Philippines. Not that I don't have that healthy disdain for my fellow man, but I'm just not sure that I'm feeling the hate today. Though I supposed being forcibly reminded of Joseph Fiennes and his participation in the vomitriously bad Enemy At the Gates is a decent start.

The Great Raid is based on best selling author William B. Breuer's 1994 book, "The Great Raid on Cabanatuan: Rescuing the Doomed Ghosts of Bataan and Corregidor" (can't imagine why they didn't use that title). The book, which is primarily based on interviews with survivors of the event in question, describes the heroic efforts of a small U.S. Ranger batallion who embarked upon a suicidally dangerous mission in the middle of enemy territory to liberate approximately 500 prisoners of war held in the Cabanatuan death camp.

Former Law & Order hearthrob Benjamin Bratt plays Lt. Colonel Henry Mucci, the young officer in charge of the overall rescue plan, while Spiderman sidekick/nemesis James Franco plays the main "man on the ground" who actually leads the rescue. The aforementioned Joseph Fiennes plays a Cabanatuan's senior P.O.W. in the camp (the Captain Hogan, if you will, only with less wacky secret tunnel-based hijinks and a lot more torture and death). Connie Nielson (One Hour Photo, Gladiator) plays a Manila-based woman who organized an underground movement to smuggle rations and medical supplies into the camp. Presumably she's also fulfulling some kind of statutorily required love interest role as well.

The Great Raid is directed by John Dahl, whose previous works include the excellent movies The Last Seduction and Red Rock West, as well as the uneven, but underappreciated poker movie, Rounders. The cast is relatively low wattage for what sounds like a terrifically engaging story. However, I'm going to take that as a positive, since none of those actors have the power to have their parts rewritten to suit their egos. (Nic Cage, Bruce Willis, I'm looking at you.) (Jennifer Turnock/BOP)

Vital statistics for The Great Raid
Main Cast Benjamin Bratt, James Franco
Supporting Cast Joseph Fiennes, Connie Nielsen, Mark Consuelos, Sam Worthington, Craig McLachlan, Robert Mammone, Natalie Mendoza, James Carpinello, Marton Csokas, Clayne Crawford, Kenny Doughty
Director John Dahl
Screenwriter Carlo Bernard, Doug Miro, Hossein Amini
Distributor Miramax
Trailer Click Here for Trailer
Official Site
Rating R
Running Time 133 minutes
Screen Count 819
Talent in red has entry in The Big Picture

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