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Hell in the Pacific Reviews

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Michael S

Super Reviewer

February 6, 2008
Great concept, and as usual, John Boorman's execution is just as stellar.
sanjurosamurai
sanjurosamurai

Super Reviewer

January 8, 2008
this is a solid film. with only two actors in the entire film performances needed to be great to carry the movie, i felt that marvins performance lacked a little but mifune more than made up for it. the dynamic of the characters was great and the decision to not use subtitles in order to give the audience the same feel of confision that the characters felt was a great one. really good movie.
Cindy I

Super Reviewer

January 6, 2008
Pretty interesting film, with Lee Marvin and Toshiro Mifune, and THAT'S IT. They both end up on a desert island together during WWII. It's pretty much the war broken down to an atom -- an American and a Japanese guy. It reminded me a lot of Cast Away, in that there was very little dialogue, but it was still interesting to watch. With the exception of the abrupt ending, I enjoyed it.
a b

Super Reviewer

January 7, 2008
Highly disappointing, I'm not buying this as a classic. The only reason I watched this was for Mifune, but you never learn how they arrived or how long they've been on the island--you don't even learn their names. Lee Marvin is a bitch to Toshiro Mifune for some unknown reason, but Toshiro doesn't really have to exert himself this movie. I give it credit for the ending, though; it seems that every 60's adventure/scifi movie ends that way (La Jetee, Beneath the Planet of the Apes, etc). The last 20 minutes were more interesting than the entire first hour and a half, we finally start to humanize the story.
October 6, 2013
Judging from "Hell in the Pacific" and the only other work of his I've seen, the searing masterpiece "Deliverance", John Boorman seems to make movies that play off the traditional ideals of masculinity -- territory, loyalty, etc. -- and see how men act and react to perilous situations that strip them of humanity and down to their most vulnerable. "Pacific" is pretty bare bones when it comes to plot or dialogue (or a satisfying ending) so the lion's share its success is in Boorman's naturalistic direction and the equally strong performances by Lee Marvin and Toshiro Mifune as two marooned officers hailing from either side of the Japanese-American divide. The disclosed setting is one that can and does shift from peaceful to high stakes of life or death. It's no "Deliverance", but "Hell in the Pacific", a movie of imagery and feeling, is also quite often a work of patience and mystical ferocity.
billfenner1967
February 9, 2009
Yet another film proving that Lee Marvin was one of the most fascinating and unique "movie stars" of his time. Just him and Mifune on an island, fighting, attempting to escape, befriending each other, and then ... all without subtitles, each man speaking in his own language. An experimental film starring major stars from America and Japan, directed by a mercurial Englishman. Must-see!
January 17, 2008
A fantastic World War 2 drama about two soldiers fighting on opposite sides of the war, stranded on an island struggling to survive against the elements and each other.

If you see this on DVD, buy it. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
February 11, 2008
Hell in the Pacific may be one of the most ridiculous World War II films ever made but it enthralls you and makes for a great viewing experience if for nothing else because of the intensity between the two leading men.
December 31, 2007
Classic WWII movie. Good twist to the usual shoot-em up war movie. Good storyline. If you see it, watch it.
saltersheppard
September 11, 2007
This movie stuck with me even when I saw it as a youngster. !2 or younger. Marvin and Mifune are perfect in it. A man's movie.
January 18, 2007
Very artistically done. Not a satisfying ending but they made the movie to make a point not make the audience happy.
July 28, 2013
Great just make sure you see the real ending aka the Alternative Ending
February 3, 2013
A engaging survival film set in the Pacific Theater of WW2. A great story and great performances by Lee Marvin and Toshiro Mifune make this a classic!
August 10, 2012
two of the worlds greatest actors directed by boorman. both men had to re-live their war experience making this film. the men speak different languages, so it's interesting to watch how they communicate. even though they are enemies, they must learn to work together in order to survive. but can they let go of the enemy hate? nope. i loved this film but the ending was not so good, otherwise i would give it a full 5 stars. the film is a great study in the psychology of war.
December 19, 2011
Toshiro Mifune was fantastic as was Lee Marvin in this WWII film that was the inspiration for "Enemy Mine".
FilmGrinder S.
July 15, 2010
My favorite Boorman picture, except for ZARDOZ. Also says something about humans, when ideals are raised into question.
September 20, 2011
One of the best films I've ever seen.
Trevor C.
July 6, 2011
A very slow, yet suspenseful and enjoyable film starring Toshiro Mifune and Lee Marvin as soldiers, of their own nations, stranded on an uninhabited Pacific island during WWII.

A Japanese Soldier, presumably having been on the island for days, if not longer, discovers that an American Soldier also crash landed on the same island. They instantly are fearful of each other and are ready to kill the other if necessary. The American Soldier at first only wants water from the Japanese Soldier, but, being enemies, they have constant battles where the Japanese man ends up sending the American hiding in the woods. Soon the American starts destroying the Japanese man's handmade survival tools. So, the Japanese man ends up capturing the American, and then the American escapes and captures the Japanese man- though eventually they have to rely on each other to survive, and they both realize it. They work together to survive and find a way off the island and create a sort of friendship.

Both actors are amazing and the fact that there is very little dialogue, and no subtitles for Mifune's Japanese makes the film seem much more real. It's as if we're just observing this as its happening, and if you don't know English, you don't know what Marvin is saying, and if you don't know Japanese, you don't know what Mifune is saying - though, visually, it is very clear - most of the time - what they mean.

As a visually based film the cinematography is absolutely beautiful, and there's this sort of weird bizarre style that highlights the paranoia these two enemies have with each other. There's a score to accompany their struggles, and in the long run you may end up caring for both soldiers equally. They just want to survive and get back home, and this is a fine observation of that.

One flaw, though its probably just because I know English and not Japanese, is that Marvin came across as mean and he always seemed to have the upper hand. Really Mifune's character could have survived on his own due to his craftsmanship, but one of the themes that the Japanese soldier needed the American soldier's ability to 'take charge' was a bit much. It seemed like the American, at times, was only using Mifune, because really it was the American that needed him more than he needed the American. This flaw is very small and not very noticeable, in my opinion, but it is definitely present. I know its the character, but it's all fiction, so to have them need each other equally with the situation's desperation, they each need to be equal in those sort of skills or at least have Marvin's character have a better quality than just 'taking charge'.

Besides that, this movie is a WWII masterpiece that shouldn't be missed by anyone. It's a very original premise portrayed extremely well.
moviebuff18cab
December 14, 2004
HELL IN THE PACIFIC (1968)
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