Hell in the Pacific - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Hell in the Pacific Reviews

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Super Reviewer
½ February 6, 2008
Great concept, and as usual, John Boorman's execution is just as stellar.
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.
Super Reviewer
½ 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.
Super Reviewer
½ 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.
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!
½ 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.
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.
½ August 29, 2015
Hell In The Pacific is a fascinating World War II drama starring two great actors, Lee Marvin (Point Blank) and Toshiro Mifune (Rashomon, Seven Samurai, numerous other great films). I had never even heard of this film until a friend loaned it to me, but I'm glad that I watched it, because what I got was an engaging and gripping drama that deserves far more appreciation than what it has received since its release nearly 50 years ago.

During the late stages of the war, two soldiers find themselves stranded on an island in the Pacific, albeit two soldiers fighting for opposite sides. One is a Japanese solider who has been on the island for quite some time, and the other is an American soldier who finds himself marooned on the island after a plane crash.

At first the two hunt one another, trying to outwit each other to capture the other or steal supplies. After much fighting, squabbling, and whatnot, the two discover that in order to get off the island, they have no choice but to work together to build a raft.

The story is fairly simple to follow, but despite its simplicity, it has a great deal to say about the nature of war, finding common ground even if opposed to one another, and misunderstandings. It's an intriguing mix of themes that becomes especially potent during the last 15 or so minutes of the film during the harrowing finale. But even before that point, it was interesting to see how two enemies are forced to work together and see that perhaps they are not so different, and not such bad people as their sides have made them out to be.

The acting is excellent. Then again, considering the actors that were cast in this film, they'd better damn well do a good job. While my exposure to Lee Marvin has been limited, he was excellent as well in Point Blank, and here, he gives another great performance as the American soldier. Toshiro Mifune, whom I have enjoyed in many great Japanese films doesn't disappoint, either. While it's not his best film or performance, it is no less a fantastic performance. Their performances combined were believable, compelling, and also filled with interesting chemistry, especially as neither actor could speak the other's language, making the film feel more believable in depicting the two enemies not understanding or agreeing with one another at first.

As a war drama, it is quite engaging, especially how it is not one-sided in its depictions of both sides. It's not here to be pro-America, not is it meant to be sympathetic towards the Japanese. Its main purpose is to show the nature of war and the misunderstandings that can come with it, and how something can bring even enemies together to work together for a common goal. There's even an actual bond between the two which was a rather interesting dynamic. However, the film does suffer from some issues, like the "My Log!" scene which ended up being hilarious. Sometimes its tone and messages can become a tad muddled. But, thankfully, this rarely ever happens.

Hell In The Pacific is a fantastic, underrated war drama. On top of this, it remains a very relevant and topical film worthy of discussion. It's an engaging, well-acted, and thought-provoking film from beginning to end. If you ever come across it, it is something to watch.
July 17, 2015
The joy of seeing two magnetic actors at the height of their powers square off for an hour and a half pretty much tells you all you need to know about this one. It's beautifully shot, and the decision not to subtitle Mifune is masterful, but in the end, it's all about these two men. My only complaint is that the ending is a little trite and feels like a let down to me. (I have seen the longer alternate ending.)
½ April 5, 2015
Ponderous and pretentious.
March 25, 2015
I've seen a lot of people complain about the ending, but when you consider the context of what happened just before the ending I think they ended it in a meaningful way. It was very symbolic. I don't want to spoil anything. Just watch it and judge for yourself.
½ December 12, 2014
Lee Marvin and Toshiro Mifune are fantastic in this movie, but even they seem confused by the ending. It's as if no one knew how to end it so they just blew up.
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.
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