Film: The Great Raid

A 2005 Miramax film about the real life rescue of World War II POW's by American Rangers from the notorious Japanese prison camp of Cabanatuan. Despite the inherent drama, the film did not do well at the box office.

Contains examples of:

  • Actor Allusion: Max Martini as an Army Ranger.
  • Based on a True Story:
  • Buzzing The Deck: Used as a way of distracting the guards while Allied forces got into position.
  • Cold-Blooded Torture
  • Determinator: The Japanese commanding officer of the POW camp goes to ridiculous lengths to inflict more casualties after his men are massacred.
  • Elites Are More Glamorous: Army Rangers and Army Alamo Scouts are the main US troops in charge with freeing the POWs.
  • Filipinos with Firearms: Filipino resistance fighters aid the Rangers.
  • Honor Before Reason: Again the Japanese POW camp commanding officer. he completely disregards personal safety after most his troops are killed to try to inflict casualties to the Rangers and prisoners.
  • Kick the Dog: Numerous. The Japanese in WWII weren't exactly known for sticking to the Geneva Convention.
    • Actually, Japan didn't sign the Geneva Convention until 1953. Their treatment of POWs is what led to a rewriting of the Geneva Convention.
  • La Résistance: The Filipino guerillas.
  • Noble Bigot: While he is undoubtedly a hero, Lt. Col. Mucci is still a man of his time and displays a vehement dislike against atheists at the end of his speech informing the men of their mission. Some of his comments toward Capt. Pajota and his Filipino guerrillas were also patronizing.
  • Oh, Crap: When the Kempeitai military secret police move into the camp.
  • POW Camp: Yet another example of a Japanese camp where you don't want to be a camper.
  • Reality Is Unrealistic: The huge disparity in casualties led some critics to lambast the film as unrealistic, even though the very few American and Filipino casualties was exactly what happened in the real raid.
    • Some reviewers also criticized the Japanese atrocities for being too "over-the-top" in brutality, even racist, even though the the atrocities shown were much more toned down than what the Imperial Japanese military did in real life.
  • Terrifying Rescuer: Many prisoners don't realize the rangers are friendly because after being brutalized for so long, they're afraid it's another Japanese trick to get them "disciplined."
    • In Real Life many prisoners didn't recognize their rescuers as U.S. Army soldiers because of their advanced uniforms, weapons and equipment, virtually all of which had been introduced after the start of the war. The prisioners wouldn't have even known what Rangers, were, since the first Ranger battalion hadn't been formed until 1942. The P-61 mentioned below was so advanced some prisoners thought it looked more like a Buck Rogers spaceship than the prewar aircraft they were familiar with.
  • Unspoken Plan Guarantee: Averted. The actual raid goes pretty much as planned.
  • Weapons Understudies: In order to provide cover for the Rangers as they make the final approach to the camp, an airplane is sent to overfly the area to distract the Japanese, allowing them to get into position without being spotted. This occurred during the historical raid, in which a P-61 Black Widow night fighter was sent under orders to alter his power settings to make it sound from the ground as if he were experiencing an engine failure. However there are no remaining airworthy P-61s, so instead the film utilized a Lockheed Ventura light bomber for this scene.
  • We Need a Distraction: An airplane is sent to overfly the camp to distract the guards, see Weapons Understudies.
  • Zerg Rush: After the bridge is partially damaged, the Japanese reinforcement try to rush through it to reach the POW camp and get massacred by the Filipino guerrila fighters.